AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Rasheed Wallace was more than a bit lucky the referees refused to acknowledge his appeal for a non-existent timeout after Tim Duncan’s missed tip at the end of regulation in Game 5.

If only Rashweed can get his annual allotment of law enforcement officials he has brushes with to look the other way.

First Wallace pulls a Paul Silas (’76 Celtics-Suns series), making Chris Webber disjointedly proud. Then he leaves Robert Horry by his lonesome beyond the 3-point line to double Manu Ginobili in the coffin corner.

These two incidents, I suggest, clinch the NBA’s case for random drug testing for veterans . . . while games are in progress.

You would think Larry (Next Town) Brown has taken enough laps around this league to ensure that the above sacrosanct of scenarios is never violated.

Why huddle at all if you’re not going use your times out wisely?

I mean, you can Leave it to Beaver, but you can’t leave Robert Horry . . . no way, no how.

The Bondsman’s pressure performance (21 points in the last 17 minutes and a tick) bailed out the Spurs and put him on the brink of his sixth title in three different districts.

Horry would become the second player, after John Salley, to win rings with three teams.

Horry’s effort was so exotic it removed the harsh incandescence of inspection from Tim Duncan.

Never have 26 points and 19 rebounds looked so lame. Missing seven of 11 free throws, including six in the fourth quadrant, a gimme, game-winning tip at the end of same, and aborting a simple entry pass as well as a heavy-handed driving banker in OT transformed The Big Fundamental into The Big Detrimental.

No one hugged Horry harder when it was all over.

By the way, on his last-second, wide-left miss, Detroit’s Rip Hamilton fouled Tony Parker so hard with his left elbow and forearm (it threw off his shot) the league called in Ron Artest to bolster Palace security.

There’s only one coherent motive for the Knicks and Blazers to be without head coaches after all this time:

Isiah Thomas never would forgive himself (nor would the media and Knicks fans) if he committed Herb Williams and Larry Brown somehow wiggled free in Detroit. He’s waited this long, why not wait another week or two?

It’s not as if the incoming coach is going to have strong feelings about a kid coming out of high school, college or the foreign legion; GMs and their staff generally make these hard calls.

The Blazers, meanwhile, appear to be waiting patiently for Nate McMillan’s Sonics’ contract to expire June 30. As that date draws nearer Seattle’s offer grows proportionately. Already it’s reached $18 million guaranteed over four seasons, excluding the same easily attainable incentives saturating his current deal.

There is nothing McMillan don’t like about the franchise and city he’s been square dancing with for the last 19 seasons. Still, it’s exceedingly tempting to test free agency for real, not theoretically, to see how highly other organizations regard his work.

What does Paul Allen honestly think of his work?

How much is the multibillionaire really willing to pay someone to teach notoriously undisciplined players how to respect the game, reincarnate the Blazers and re-establish the team’s fervent popularity in Portland?

A more intuitive question, I submit, is how deep into his pockets is Pistons’ owner Bill Davidson willing to dig to recruit McMillan when Next Town Brown takes a hike?

Of all the off-season sideline opportunities this is Nate’s ideal spot. Conditions are mature in Auburn Hills to make a coach regularly look like a genius, whereas having LeBron or Garnett or Kobe, as our go-to guy doesn’t always guarantee comfort and commendation.

Then again, the Pistons’ top eight isn’t going anywhere. Consequently, expectations are excessive.

Brown and Rick Carlisle are unbearable acts to follow. Winning big may not be good enough anymore, only winning more than every team in the Eastern Conference.

Those are the mind games McMillan is knotted in these days. And what choice do the Sonics and Blazers have but to play along? It’s not as they’re overflowing with opulent options

Phil Jackson is no longer in circulation. The best Red Auerbach can do nowadays is talk a good game.

Who knows, Chuck Daly may re-think returning to Detroit now that he knows how much the Lakers are overpaying The Zen Hen.

Flip Saunders sets no hearts fluttering. Doug Collins has blown his cover once too often. And Hubie Brown’s medication is working too well to chance again leaving the booth.

So teams must try either to discover fresh talent (as the Cavaliers have done by hiring Mike Brown), give someone a break (career assistant Dwane Casey finally is getting his with the T-Wolves and Marc Iavaroni ay get one as well with the Blazers), or reshuffle the deck of two-time (minimum) losers.

In other words, whatever McMillan wants to do is fine; yes or no, he’s well worth the wait.

The Sonics agreed to terms yesterday with GM Rick Sund for three years at $1.1 million per. It’s debatable who’s the NBA’s bigger bargain at that price, Sund or Horry?

Look for Ray Allen, who turns 30 on July 20, to extend before June 30. Seattle is offering between $70 million $75 million over five seasons.

Last summer Rasheed Wallace and Steve Nash, both 30, signed five-year deals for $60 million guaranteed.

The Cavs, Hawks or Hornets are capable of offering Allen more but none, exempting the Cavs, perhaps, can seriously discuss winning next season; and if Ray goes to Cleveland he’s automatically no longer the man.

It’s moot, anyway, stresses a source. The Cavs plan to romance Joe Johnson (22) and Michael Redd (25).

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