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Suns' buzzer-beater deflates Spurs

©Associated Press

April 20, 2003

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- The rebound of Tim Duncan's missed free throw was tapped outside to Stephon Marbury, who immediately headed upcourt with the clock ticking.

What happened next can be considered lucky, good or both.

Marbury banked in a running, winning 3-pointer at the end of overtime to lift the Suns to a 96-95 win over the Spurs in Game 1 of their best-of-seven playoff series.

The shot off the glass came after a similar bank shot by Phoenix forward Amare Stoudemire with 8.4 seconds left in regulation forced overtime.

"It was a teardrop from God," Marbury said. "I knew it was good."

The Spurs missed six of eight free throws in overtime and were 26-for-41 (63.4 percent) overall.

Stoudemire's 3-pointer off the glass tied the score at 87.

Duncan then missed a corner jumper before the fourth-quarter buzzer.

* * *

CELTICS 103, PACERS 100: For the first 31/2 quarters, Paul Pierce was off-target and Boston appeared overmatched.

By the end, Pierce had changed everything.

Pierce scored 21 of his 40 in the fourth, leading the visiting Celtics back from a 13-point deficit in the final 71/2 minutes of Game 1.

Pierce's primary defender was Ron Artest before he fouled out with 40 seconds left. That left Indiana scrambling to contain Pierce, whose 3-pointer with 27.5 seconds left put Boston ahead 99-97.

Pierce also went 21-for-21 from the free-throw line, setting a playoff record for free throws made without a miss.

* * *

NETS 109, BUCKS 96: The great point guard matchup between Jason Kidd and Gary Payton was a mismatch in Game1.

Kidd had 14 points, 14 assists and six rebounds for defending Eastern Conference champion New Jersey and held Payton scoreless for more than 31/2 quarters.

Payton didn't score until there was 4:10 to go. He finished with eight points, 10 assists and five turnovers in a game in which the host Nets led by 20 at halftime and 31 early in the fourth.

Kenyon Martin, who took an awkward fall under the basket early in the third, returned quickly and had 21 points and 15 rebounds in leading seven Nets players in double figures.

* * *

MAVS 96, BLAZERS 86: Dirk Nowitzki was unstoppable from the start, and visiting Portland had no chance of containing him after Rasheed Wallace went down with an ankle injury.

Nowitzki scored a career-high 46, including 10 during a 15-1 third-quarter run that began while Wallace was in the locker room, to carry Dallas in Game 1.

Nowitzki, who also had 10 rebounds, upped his career best by four and broke the team playoff scoring record. He came within four of the most points scored by a Mavericks player.

Nowitzki's 3-pointer with 3:01 left in the third as he was falling put Dallas ahead for good. That capped a comeback from 13 down.

Wallace was gone for nearly four minutes in the third after turning his left ankle but still led Portland with 26 points.

* * *

KINGS 96, JAZZ 90: In its playoff opener, host Sacramento showed the discipline it will need to contend for the title.

Chris Webber had 27 points and 11 rebounds, and Peja Stojakovic scored 16 for the Kings.

Slowed by Utah's deliberate style, the high-scoring Kings nursed a small lead through the second half, but never breathed easily. Karl Malone, had 27 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for Utah.

The Jazz pulled to 78-76 on Malone's free throws with 3:13 left, but Mike Bibby drove past John Stockton and dished for consecutive baskets, a jumper by Webber and a 3-pointer by Stojakovic.

Three Bucks charged

The Bucks' Gary Payton, Sam Cassell and Jason Caffey surrendered to Toronto police following an investigation into an assault outside a strip club.

The players and their lawyers flew to Toronto and surrendered at 6:30 p.m., hours after Milwaukee lost its opener at New Jersey.

Police said the assault occurred April 11, while the Bucks were in Toronto to play the Raptors.

Payton, 35, is charged with three counts of assault, Cassell, 33, with two counts and Caffey, 29, with one. The players were released and are to appear in court May 30.

The three are expected to play in Game 2 Tuesday.

LAKERS: Shaquille O'Neal's wife had a boy, eliminating any chance that the center might skip a playoff game to witness the birth. The couple's third child was born at 1:52 a.m. at a Los Angeles-area hospital, team spokesman John Black said.

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