- The Washington Times - Friday, June 12, 2009

ORLANDO, FLA. (AP) - Pau Gasol is from Spain, Mickael Pietrus from France. So when they have a confrontation on the court, what language is it in?

“I said it in English to make sure he understood it,” Gasol said. “If I would have known it in French, I would have said it in French.”

Pietrus was called for a flagrant foul for pushing Gasol in the back as the Lakers forward completed a dunk with 3.4 seconds left in overtime of Los Angeles’ 99-91 victory in Game 4. Gasol started yelling at Pietrus and the players came together, and both were assessed technical fouls.

“I said a couple of things that I can’t repeat on camera,” Gasol said.

Gasol said it felt more like a punch than a push, and was angry because he was already in the air, too late for Pietrus to attempt a play on the ball. But he understood it came out of frustration.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson said it looked like Pietrus had “a serious intention to come at him,” but wouldn’t say if there should be any further punishment for the Magic guard.

The NBA said Friday there would be none.

“I wasn’t trying to be a jerk,” Pietrus said. “I’ve been in the NBA for seven years and have never been considered a dirty player. It was just a hard foul and I love Pau; we’ve played so many times together in Europe. That’s how it is.”


EWING COMING BACK: Magic assistant coach Patrick Ewing has signed a contract extension to remain with the club next season.

A Hall of Fame center with the New York Knicks, Ewing has been instrumental in the development of Orlando’s Dwight Howard in two seasons as an assistant with the Magic. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy has attributed the 23-year-old Howard’s rise during that time in large part to Ewing.

Ewing has aspirations to be a head coach but has struggled to get interviews for open positions. Van Gundy even criticized the Knicks earlier this season for not at least giving Ewing an interview last year before they hired Mike D’Antoni as head coach.

Ewing played 17 years in the NBA, including 15 with the Knicks.


BELIEVE IN MAGIC: Orlando is sticking with its lucky charm.

Even though Thursday night’s Game 4 loss to the Lakers was the first time this season the Magic lost when 7-year-old Gina Marie Incandela sings the national anthem, Orlando is going to let her sing for the final home game Sunday night.

Game 4 was her sixth straight appearance before a home playoff game, and the Magic had been 7-0 on the season, prompting players and fans to anoint her their “lucky charm” and “secret weapon.”

Incandela’s mother, Michelle, said Friday that the Magic want her back again for another riveting performance. And little Gina, who was diagnosed at an earlier age with a form of autism, took news of the loss well.

“She’s doing fine,” her mother said. “She asked, ‘It’s not over, is it?’ I told her ‘No, but it’s going to be a little tougher now.’ She said ,’It’s OK. I still believe in them.’”


FROM CAMP TO CHAMP?: Long before Lamar Odom and Rashard Lewis matched up in the NBA finals, they took part in the same Top 100 camp.

The two forwards were camp attendees in 1997, two of the eight camp alumni who now play for either Orlando or Los Angeles.

The Top 100 camp was created in 1994 by the NBA Players’ Association to aid high school student athletes in the development of their individual and life skills, on and off the court. Funding is provided under a provision of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Odom was a prep star in New York originally ticketed for UNLV before instead playing one year at Rhode Island. Lewis went straight from high school in Houston to the NBA, best remembered for waiting longer in the draft green room than any player before the Seattle SuperSonics drafted him in the second round in 1998.

Dwight Howard and Jordan Farmar (2003) also competed in the same camp, and other alumni are Kobe Bryant (1994), Luke Walton (1998), Josh Powell (1999) and Trevor Ariza (2002).

This year’s Top 100 camp will run from June 17-21 at the University of Virginia and is expected to include 24 of the 25 highest-rated players by Scout.com in the class of 2010.


QUICK HITS: No team has come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the finals in 29 previous attempts. … The Magic have made 193 3-pointers in these playoffs, breaking the record for the most in one postseason, previously held by the 1995 Houston Rockets with 189. The Rockets swept the Magic in the finals that year. … Game 4 delivered a 10.9 overnight rating for ABC, the highest yet for the series. The four games are the most-viewed programs in primetime since the American Idol finale in May, and the series is on pace for more viewers than the 2008 finals between the Lakers and Celtics. … Lakers coach Phil Jackson’s technical for arguing with officials in Game 4 was his first in this playoffs. He had only two in the regular season.


Associated Press Writer Antonio Gonzalez contributed to this story.

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