by: , WELLS

How could not one of the Trail Blazers' four announcers on TV and radio not mention Zach Randolph's obscene gesture to a heckling fan as he left the floor near the end of last Friday's game at Indiana?

All are intimidated by club President/General Manager Steve Patterson, who has them walking on eggshells, afraid to say anything that might be interpreted as questioning the character of the Blazer players.

But the Blazer voices are doing their viewers/listeners a disservice by ignoring such an obvious act that was captured live by TV cameras and seen by all.

• Latest rumor from back East has New Jersey acquiring Portland's Jamaal Magloire and a first-round draft pick for Jason Collins. Net brass denied its veracity.

• Former Oregon Stater Brent Barry is fifth in the NBA in 3-point shooting (.520) while shooting .538 from the field and .909 from the line and averaging 9.5 points in 21.8 minutes off the bench for San Antonio.

'The more aggressive he is, the better player he is because he creates for everybody,' Spur coach Gregg Popovich tells the media. 'He's a hell of a basketball talent, but the mental side has gotten in his way from time to time because he gets down on himself. That hasn't happened so far this year because he knows there's kind of an ax hanging there: Be aggressive or sit.'

• Dale Davis was acquitted last week of all five misdemeanor charges from an August incident with Miami police in August in which police used a stun gun. Davis, now with Detroit, is contemplating a civil suit against the police and the South Beach hotel where it occurred.

• Rasheed Wallace is in hot pursuit of his sixth NBA technicals title. He leads the league with eight, ahead of runner-up Brevin Knight of Charlotte, who has six. Detroit coach Flip Saunders continues to cover for Wallace: 'I liken it to the end of the month (when) you get those speed traps. This is the same thing. (The referees) have to get those quotas filled. From the league standpoint, they want those T's … '

• Whatever happened to Bonzi Wells? The former Blazer, signed as a free agent by Houston in the offseason, played in one early game and hasn't been seen since.

Word is coach Jeff Van Gundy is not happy with his conditioning and attitude (imagine that), and the fact that he came back late to Houston after the team's Thanksgiving break.

Says an obviously annoyed Van Gundy: 'It's best for everybody to stick to what I'm saying … he has battled a little bit of a hamstring (injury), but other than that, I'm not going to give a daily temperature check.'

• Damon Stoudamire is finally back with Memphis after missing four games with a sore right knee, the same one on which he underwent surgery in January. … Seemingly indestructible Cliff Robinson has missed New Jersey's last 10 games with a sprained knee. … Another ex-Blazer, Derek Anderson, picked up off the scrap heap by Charlotte 10 days ago, came off the bench to score 11 points and help the Bobcats upset Detroit on Dec. 3. Hard to believe the veteran guard, being paid $9.74 million by Portland this season, is only 32.

-Kerry Eggers

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