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Updated: April 20, 2004, 9:10 AM ET
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Jason Collins
Collins
New Jersey Nets: Ask the Knicks and Jason Collins is a dirty player after sending Tim Thomas to the bench with a back injury on an attempted block. "It wasn't a dirty play," Collins said in the New York Post. "I know I made a good basketball play. I was going for the blocked shot. I've never gone out there trying to hurt anyone." But ask the Nets and he's their hero. "He does what we don't do," teammate Kerry Kittles said. "He's a very physical player in the paint. He holds, he grabs, he fights, he gets in there and tips the balls loose." Others agreed. "He does a lot of the banging and beating up," Richard Jefferson said. "He's the one that's blocking out so Kenyon can sky for 13, 14 rebounds, so JKidd can come in there and get those and get out on the break."

New York Knicks: Former Net and current Knick Dikembe Mutombo says that if his former team wants to play rough, then his new team can play rough, too. "I think nobody is happy on this team, nobody," Mutombo said in Newsday. "We're kind of disappointed to have something like that happen to our friend. We're in wartime. It's a war. They just shot one of us." And he, for one, thinks Collins is a dirty player. "I know he likes to slap a lot, and he's got a few dirty tricks underneath the basket," Mutombo said. "He'll grab your arms and all that. I don't know if it was intentional, what he did to Tim Thomas. It left a lot of bad taste in my mouth about this series. Tim is one of our prominent scorers in our offense, and we feel very bad for what they did to him."

Michael Redd
Redd
Milwaukee Bucks: The spotlight is getting so bright for Michael Redd that he can hardly see the basket. "They're obviously going to concentrate on me," Redd said in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "They're going to try to take me out of the flow, with double-teams, triple-teams. They really believe that I'm not going to pass it, that I'm going to try to keep it and make something happen. They think if I don't get 20 (points) or whatever a game, it shuts us down. But that's not the case at all. We have guys that can score. I have to sacrifice and make the extra pass, and at the same time, look to get the ball." And that doesn't surprise his coach. "It's all part of growing pains," Terry Porter said. "He's reached the level of being an all-star, and playoff teams try to eliminate the all-star."

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