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NBA briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 8, 2001


Armstrong leads Magic to 6th straight win

ORLANDO -- The All-Star break couldn't come at a better time for Darrell Armstrong, if not the rest of the Magic.

Orlando won its sixth straight game Wednesday night, beating the Washington Wizards 107-98.

"Sometimes you hate to see a break like this when you're on a roll," said Armstrong, who had 32 points, seven rebounds and five assists despite playing with a sore groin muscle. "But it gives guys like myself who are banged up a chance to rest."

The Magic, two games over .500 for the first time this season, trailed 55-51 at the half before leading for most of the third and fourth quarters. Armstrong made two three-pointers during an 11-0 burst that turned a four-point deficit into a 64-57 lead. Orlando led 79-78 going into the fourth quarter and pulled away during a stretch in which Armstrong delivered three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to put the Magic up 96-88.

ROCKETS 112, 76ERS 87: Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley each scored 23 and Hakeem Olajuwon added 18 points and 14 rebounds for visiting Houston.

CELTICS 94, BUCKS 91: Antoine Walker scored 36, Paul Pierce added 27 and host Boston stifled Milwaukee's strong offense in the fourth quarter. Milwaukee had a chance, trailing 94-91 with 2.1 seconds left. But Tim Thomas inbounded the ball directly to Boston's Eric Williams.

SPURS 107, CAVALIERS 89: Tim Duncan scored 23 and Danny Ferry hit two big three-pointers in the second half in his return to Cleveland. It was San Antonio's eighth straight win.

WOLVES 117, KINGS 88: Kevin Garnett matched his career best with 40 points for host Minnesota, extending the Wolves' winning streak to a league season-best 11.

KNICKS 96, MAVS 93 (2OT): Allan Houston fouled Michael Finley with 0.8 seconds left in the second overtime, preventing the visiting Mavericks from attempting a game-tying three-pointer. Finley tied the score with an off-balance 15-footer at the buzzer in regulation and Howard Eisley made a three-pointer with one second left to send it to double overtime.

Around the league

ALL-STAR GAME: Vlade Divac of the Kings will replace the injured Shaquille O'Neal on the West team. Vince Carter will play despite an ailing left knee.

CAVALIERS: Center Zydrunas Ilgauskas had three new screws inserted during a "complicated" surgery on his broken left foot and will be sidelined at least 6-8 months.

HEAT: Faith, Alonzo Mourning said, has him convinced he will make it back after a serious kidney illness: "I'm actually feeling great, to tell you the truth. Actually, my doctors are surprised I'm progressing so rapidly."

KINGS: Guard Jon Barry was placed on the injured list with a fractured left hand.

LAKERS: O'Neal's injured right foot is healing well, and it appears he'll return next week. O'Neal was examined by Dr. Phillip Kwong, a foot specialist. He sat out his sixth straight game Wednesday night.

MAVERICKS: Owner Mark Cuban's latest eyebrow-raising comments are not about referees. These remarks are, well, more personal in nature. They are in the March issue of Penthouse. Roughly 80 percent of Cuban's Q&A with the magazine could be considered innocuous. The rest could be classified as sexually explicit or risque.

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