By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Barkley stared at the man.
"I think he's done a bad job all year," Barkley said.
"I mean, seriously . . ." the surprised writer said.
"I am serious," Barkley said.
"What do you mean?"
Barkley continued, "I think he's a terrible coach. I think his assistants do all the work. He's just riding their coattails."
By now the man from The Sporting News thought he was on to a big story.
Then Barkley grinned.
"No, Paul's a great basketball coach and fun to play for. We're lucky to have him. He lets the players do their thing, and I like any coach that lets me do my thing."
Another writer wanted to know whether Barkley thought Westphal had deliberately grabbed attention by predicting the Suns would win when they were down two games to none.
"What was he supposed to say?" Barkley asked. "If he didn't think we were going to win over in L.A., we would have dropped him off the plane without a parachute."
Oliver Miller's sudden stardom was on everyone's mind. It was well-known that Barkley has served as a mentor for Miller during the period when he was attempting to drop 40 pounds so he could play.
"What about Oliver Miller?" a writer asked.
"I've been on his ass all year," Barkley said. "I kept telling him, 'We can't win it without you.'
"He fought us for a long time. It was difficult for him. When you're in that situation, you always think everybody's against you.
"But I kept telling him there are two reasons why you have to lose the weight. Number one, they pay you a half-million dollars a year, and number two, you ain't doing what you're supposed to do. "Usually, that will get people against you."
There was a brief silence while writers scribbled in their notebooks. Barkley noticed the television news of the mass escape from the Maricopa County Jail.
Barkley became excited. He shouted across the dressing room at Danny Ainge.
"Danny! Danny Ainge! Your brother-in-law just escaped from jail. Damn! There's actually white people in jail. All four of those guys are white. Damn! The only four white people in jail in Arizona just escaped.