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NBA roundup

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 14, 2001


Career in peril for Olajuwon

HOUSTON -- Hakeem Olajuwon, who led the Rockets to two NBA titles in a 17-year career and became the league's all-time shot blocker, has a blood condition that may end his career.

The team announced Tuesday that Olajuwon has a blood problem in a vein in the lower half of his left leg and will require medication that will keep him off the court for three to six months.

The fear is that taking a drug called coumadin, a blood thinner, could result in a more serious internal injury if he had hard contact while on the court.

Olajuwon's contract, which pays him $16.5-million this year, expires at the end of the season, but Rockets general manager Carroll Dawson refused to say Olajuwon had played his last game as a Rocket.

"The first thing is his health," he said. "As you know, we don't ever close the door. If you look at the way he's played, I don't know what this condition is going to bring."

Rockets trainer Keith Jones said physicians could not identify the ailment with a name other than to describe it as a blood condition.

"They're not going to just go out and say it's a clot," he said. "But they're going to treat it that way. The condition he has, if it was a strain or bruise, he would play. But being on coumadin, our doctors feel it's not the best thing for him to be on the floor.

"If he had another traumatic injury, if he fell to the floor or got hit in the head or a good shot to abdomen, it could cause some hemorraging."

Olajuwon, the top pick in the 1984 draft out of Houston, was Most Valuable Player in 1994. That season, he became the first player to win MVP, Defensive Player of the Year and MVP of the NBA Finals in the same season.

He is the Rockets career leader in nearly all categories, including games, points, free throws, rebounds, steals and minutes.

Olajuwon, who was not present at a news conference late Tuesday, had played a key role in the Rockets' recent surge to playoff contention and did not play on Sunday in a last-second loss at Phoenix.

Tuesday's games

BUCKS 101, RAPTORS 97: Ray Allen scored 29 points for visiting Milwaukee.

The Raptors, who trailed by 19 at the start of the fourth quarter, closed within four late in the game, despite four of their starters being benched for the entire period.

Milwaukee reserve Tim Thomas shot 5-for-7 from three-point range and finished with 23, including 16 in the second quarter. Sam Cassell had 21 points and Glenn Robinson added 18 points for the Bucks, who snapped a two-game losing streak.

Vince Carter, the only Toronto starter to play in the fourth, had 24 points and nine rebounds.

KNICKS 98, CAVS 79: Glen Rice scored 17 points in his first start since Dec. 30 and host New York easily overcame the absence of starters Latrell Sprewell and Larry Johnson.

Sprewell sat out with an upper respiratory infection and Johnson missed his fourth game in a row with a sore back, but the Knicks extended their home winning streak to five games.

HAWKS 109, GRIZZLIES 99: Toni Kukoc had his third career triple double to lead three players with 20 or more points for host Atlanta.

With 20 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, Kukoc helped the Hawks win consecutive home games for the first time since Jan. 11-13 against the Warriors and Clippers.

Reserve Alan Henderson led Atlanta with 23 points.

McGrady warned about tampering

ORLANDO -- The league warned Magic forward Tracy McGrady that comments he made regarding Chris Webber could be construed as tampering.

In a story published in the Orlando Sentinel on Tuesday, McGrady said he could entice Webber to sign with the Magic as a free agent after the season.

NBA spokesman Seth Sylvan said Stu Jackson, the league's vice president for basketball operations, talked to McGrady on Tuesday.

"He was contacted and he was explained how the rules of tampering apply, and was asked to please refrain from making additional comments," Sylvan said.

Webber, who can leave Sacramento after the season, recently complained about having to drive 90 minutes to find a decent soul food restaurant in California.

"I've got my own personal chef -- who can make anything Chris wants -- and he can come eat at my house anytime," McGrady told the Sentinel. "You know Chris would fit damn well on our team next season."

KINGS: Jason Williams was fined $15,000 by the league for cursing at fans during Sacramento's win at Golden State on Feb. 28.

LAKERS: Shaquille O'Neal was fined $5,000 for criticizing officials after Los Angeles' overtime loss Sunday to Seattle.

Also, the team activated goard Derek Fisher, who has been sidelined the entire season after surgery for a stress fracture in his right foot.

SIXERS: Allen Iverson, the NBA leader in points, steals and minutes, was listed as doubtful for tonight's game against Chicago.

Iverson left Sunday's game against Boston in the second quarter with a left hip pointer.

SUNS: Guard Jason Kidd will go through domestic violence and anger counseling and pay a fine in a deal with prosecutors.

In return, authorities will not prosecute Kidd on domestic violence assault charges, said Paradise Valley (Ariz.) Town Attorney Andrew Miller.

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