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McGrady out; Magic loses

By Associated Press
Published March 27, 2004

ORLANDO - Ron Artest scored a career-high 35, leading the Pacers to a 107-92 victory Friday night over the Magic as All-Stars Jermaine O'Neal and Tracy McGrady sat out.

O'Neal, Indiana's leading scorer and rebounder, has a bruised right knee. Al Harrington had 19 points in his place. Jeff Foster added 16 points and 11 rebounds in the Pacers' third straight victory.

"Jermaine's out, so everybody had to step up their games - and everybody did," said Artest, whose scoring best was 32, set last year.

Reggie Miller was scoreless, taking only two shots.

Orlando, loser of seven straight, played without the league's leading scorer, McGrady, who has tendinitis in his left knee. His condition is day to day.

With more shots available, Tyronn Lue set a career high with 32 points and Juwan Howard added 24. Lue's 13 field goals and 19 attempts also were career bests.

Artest was 12-for-22 from the field, 3-of-4 on 3-pointers, and made 8 of 14 free throws. He had quarters of seven, nine, 10 and nine points. He also had seven rebounds, five assists and three steals. But his performance should come with an asterisk, as the All-Star forward was guarded most of the night by reserve power forward Drew Gooden.

"To Drew's credit, he gave it what he had at that position," Orlando coach Johnny Davis said. "It was different for him in terms of backcourt coverage."

HEAT 119, MAVS 118 (OT): Rafer Alston's 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds left in overtime extended Miami's winning streak to seven.

Marquis Daniels scored a career-high 31 for the Mavericks, who lost their third in a row. Dirk Nowitzki added 25 before fouling out with 1:53 left in the fourth.

Dwyane Wade had 24 points for Miami, which also extended its home winning streak to eight. Lamar Odom added 26 points and 18 rebounds, and Eddie Jones and Alston each scored 20.

In the fourth, Daniels hit a jumper to give Dallas a 106-101 lead with 1:39 left. Alston answered with a 3-pointer, and Jones' two free throws with 54.4 seconds remaining tied it.

76ERS 86, CAVALIERS 71: John Salmons had a career-high 22 points to keep host Philadelphia's once-fading playoff hopes alive.

Kenny Thomas had 19 points and Eric Snow added 13 assists for the Sixers, who won their third straight - all without injured All-Star Allen Iverson.

Cleveland lost its fourth in a row, while Philadelphia pulled within one of the Cavaliers, who fell a half-game behind Boston for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.

LeBron James had 16 points on 5-for-13 shooting to lead Cleveland, which had won seven straight before its slide.

"We're just not playing the way we were three weeks ago," James said.

KNICKS 108, RAPTORS 101: With three key players out with injuries, Stephon Marbury had 38 points and nine assists to lead host New York.

Tim Thomas and Penny Hardaway did not play because of groin injuries, and Allan Houston (bruised quadriceps) played just eight minutes. Reserves DerMarr Johnson and Michael Sweetney made big contributions, with Johnson producing 15 points and seven rebounds.

Sweetney, a rookie forward, hit a pair of free throws, stole a loose ball from Vince Carter and dunked to put New York up 80-79 in the fourth, and the Knicks never trailed again. Sweetney finished with eight points. The win clinched the season series for the Knicks 3-1. New York is in seventh in the East playoff race.

Carter scored 40 for Toronto.

CELTICS 102, NETS 93: Paul Pierce scored 34 to help host Boston take over eighth in the East.

New Jersey fell to 1-3 without Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin and missed a chance to clinch a playoff berth. The Celtics trailed only twice, 15-14 and 17-16, and led 53-46 at halftime.

Ex-USF standout Chucky Atkins had 17 points for the Celtics, who are 9-5 since obtaining him from Detroit.

BUCKS 115, BULLS 105: Milwaukee remained in fifth in the East and overcame an injury to Keith Van Horn behind 23 points from Joe Smith and 22 from Desmond Mason. The Bucks snapped a five-game losing streak to the Bulls in Chicago.

Van Horn did not return after spraining his left ankle in the first quarter. He had six points.

In his third appearance with Chicago, Jannero Pargo tied a franchise record for 3-pointers in a game with seven. Michael Jordan and Jalen Rose share the record. Pargo scored a career-high 34, shooting 13-for-22 from the floor.

SUNS 99, HORNETS 94: Amare Stoudemire scored 25 and Shawn Marion had 21 and 10 rebounds for visiting Phoenix.

Jamaal Magloire's jump hook had the Hornets as close as 95-94 with 35 seconds left, but Joe Johnson ended his 17-point performance with a jumper over David Wesley with 13 seconds left.

The Hornets likely will play the upcoming five-game West Coast trip without top scorers Baron Davis (sprained left ankle) and Jamal Mashburn (swelled right knee), coach Tim Floyd said.

GRIZZLIES 109, ROCKETS 86: Stromile Swift had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and host Memphis rode a big early lead to the win.

Jason Williams added 18 points as Memphis won its fourth straight and 12th in its past 14.

Five Grizzlies finished in double figures in a game so lopsided that most of the starters from both teams were on the bench for the final 10 minutes. Memphis led by 20 after the first quarter.

BLAZERS: They signed free-agent forward Desmond Ferguson to a 10-day contract. Ferguson replaces guard Omar Cook, who was placed on the injured list with left quadriceps tendinitis.

[Last modified March 27, 2004, 02:10:29]

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