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Allen's last-second steal helps Bucks ice Pistons

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 12, 2003

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Ray Allen had 28 points and a key last-second steal as the Bucks beat the Pistons 89-87 Saturday night.

The Bucks scored the game's first eight and led the rest of the way, but Allen had to intercept a long inbounds pass to keep Detroit from attempting a tying or winning shot.

Tim Thomas added 15 for the Bucks and Jason Caffey had 13.

Chauncey Billups led the Pistons with 26, and Jon Barry had 14 in the fourth quarter, but Detroit's four-game winning streak was snapped.

With less than a minute left, Billups made one of his two free throws to make it 89-87. The Bucks ran down the shot clock, but Allen missed a runner with 1.9 seconds to play, giving the Pistons one last chance.

Allen then stepped in front of a long inbounds pass by Corliss Williamson, clinching the game.

Both teams were missing key players to injury, with the Pistons' Ben Wallace (ankle) and the Bucks' Sam Cassell (back) out.

HAWKS 87, HORNETS 80: Dion Glover hit his only 3-pointer with 41.9 seconds left for host Atlanta. Jason Terry and Shareef Abdur-Rahim each had two free throws in the closing minutes for the Hawks, who won their second straight after a six-game losing streak. Abdur-Rahim led Atlanta with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Forward Glenn Robinson, the Hawks' leading scorer, missed his second game with a sore right elbow. The Hornets, who were without guards Baron Davis (back spasms) and Courtney Alexander (strained left groin), lost their fourth in a row.

PACERS 116, WARRIORS 104: Jermaine O'Neal and Ron Artest scored 23 each, and host Indiana was unable to pull away until the closing minutes. Baskets by Antawn Jamison and Jason Richardson brought the Warriors within 108-104 with about two minutes to go. But O'Neal scored the next two baskets, then Al Harrington and Reggie Miller each had a pair of free throws as the Pacers improved the league's best home record to 16-1.

WIZARDS 89, KNICKS 84: Michael Jordan scored 23 and Charles Oakley and Jerry Stackhouse each hit four free throws in the final 34 seconds for visiting Washington. Stackhouse had 22 points and shut New York down defensively in the final minute. Allan Houston scored 22 but missed a jumper in the final moments, and Oakley's rebound with 4.4 seconds sealed the win.

ROCKETS 87, NUGGETS 85: Host Houston overcame the absence of Yao Ming and Glen Rice, who left with a knee injury and a strained left shoulder, respectively. Without Yao, James Posey had his best game since being acquired from Denver last month. He scored 18 -- 11 more than his previous high with Houston -- and hit two 3-pointers to stave off a late rally. Steve Francis scored 25 for the Rockets, who also were without Maurice Taylor (sore Achilles' tendon).

Shaq apologizes for remarks

Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal apologized for recent attempts at humor that were deemed racially insensitive toward Asians.

"If I hurt anybody's feelings," O'Neal said, "I'm sorry."

By late Friday, O'Neal was researching how to say "I'm sorry" in Chinese.

An article in the Jan.3 edition of AsianWeek by Irwin Tang criticized O'Neal for speaking made-up Chinese gibberish on the June 28 episode of Fox Sports Net's Best Damn Sports Show Period in reference to Yao, who is Chinese.

"There are a lot of difficulties in two different cultures understanding each other," Yao said. "The world is getting smaller, and I think it's important to have a greater understanding of other cultures. I believe Shaquille O'Neal was joking, but I think that a lot of Asian people don't understand that kind of joke."

PACERS: Former player Chuck Person was hired as a scout. Person, the fourth overall pick by Indiana in the 1986 draft, was the rookie of the year and played six seasons with the Pacers before he was traded.

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