SALT LAKE CITY--Everybody, Kyle Korver says, knows the story of then-Portland Trail Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks helping a nervous young girl get through the pre-game National Anthem.
''That one was on TV, everybody saw that,'' said Korver, who is celebrating today's one-year anniversary of being traded from the 76ers to the Utah Jazz. ''But he has moments like that all the time. He'd go around to people behind the scenes, the security guards; he was nice to everybody. It's just the person he is.
"(The firing is) a sad deal. I played for a lot of coaches in Philly. I had him the longest. I really enjoyed him as a coach and as a person. He's the biggest players' coach I've ever played for. His door is always open; you could always talk to him. During practice, he would ask you what you thought, how you wanted to guard a pick-and-roll, how you wanted to run a play. He's a really good guy, and he's going to bounce back somewhere.''
The Sixers are 3-3 under replacement coach Tony DiLeo, and are holding a three-game losing streak going into tonight's game against the Jazz. Utah dropped a 120-115 double overtime game in Houston Saturday night, playing without the injured Carlos Boozer, Paul Millsap and Mehmet Okur. Okur, who had been struggling with back spasms, said after this morning's shootaround that he expected to play tonight. He was being listed as a game-time decision, as was Jarron Collins, who has had an inflamed right elbow.