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NBA briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 29, 2001


Magic edges Sixers

PHILADELPHIA -- The best game of Tracy McGrady's career had the best possible finish. McGrady matched his career high with 44 points and made a driving bank shot with 2.7 seconds left to give the Orlando Magic a 96-95 victory over the slumping 76ers on Wednesday.

An All-Star for the first time this season, McGrady outdueled Philadelphia guard Allen Iverson. He made 18 of 35 shots and rescued the Magic, who blew an 11-point lead with less than four minutes to play.

Iverson, who scored 37 points despite battling bronchitis, committed 10 turnovers. He made a 15-footer and was fouled with 7.6 seconds to go. His free throw capped a 16-4 run and gave Philadelphia a 95-94 lead.

The Magic inbounded at mid-court to McGrady, who went hard to the basket on Jumaine Jones. With 7-2 Dikembe Mutombo ranging over, the 6-9 McGrady flipped in a shot high off the backboard.

Iverson, who never has made a winning shot in his five-year career, slipped as he took the inbounds pass and rushed a 35-foot shot that had no chance. He finished 13-of-31 from the field.

McGrady added team highs of nine rebounds and six assists. He nearly cost Orlando the game with an offensive foul that set up Iverson's go-ahead points, but quickly atoned for it.

In the third quarter, Philadelphia was outscored 30-12 and fell behind by 13. The fourth-quarter rally was led by Eric Snow, who had 14 points and 10 assists.

Darrell Armstrong had 14 points and Mike Miller added 13 for the Magic, which forced 27 turnovers and won its second straight.

Philadelphia's Aaron McKie left in the third quarter after twisting his right knee and did not return.

MAVS 94, BLAZERS 84: Juwan Howard scored 24 points and Michael Finley added 23 as Dallas set a franchise record with its 21st road victory.

Dirk Nowitzki added 19 points and 14 rebounds, and hit consecutive three-pointers during a 10-0 run early in the fourth quarter that put the game away.

The only low moment for the Mavs came when Howard landed awkwardly on his left hand while going for a loose ball with 52.7 seconds left, apparently dislocating his left ring finger.

Dallas, guaranteed a winning road record for the first time in its 21-year history, had won 20 road games three times, most recently in 1987-88.

The Mavs, who have won three straight and nine of 11, also broke a 10-game losing streak in Portland. They are 2-0 on a road trip that began in Utah and still includes the Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento and Houston.

NETS 99, NUGGETS 96: Host New Jersey won hours after learning All-Star guard Stephon Marbury will miss the remainder of the season with a ruptured tendon in his left pinkie. "Everything happens for a reason," said Marbury, scheduled to have surgery today. Asked what the reason was, he said: "I don't know." Denver's Raef LaFrentz missed two free throws with 8.3 seconds left and the Nuggets trailing 97-96.

SONICS 94, TIMBERWOLVES 93: Ruben Patterson sank two free throws and soared from the side to block Kevin Garnett's shot in the last 32 seconds for host Seattle. Patrick Ewing scored a season-high 19 and held Garnett to four points in the fourth quarter.

SUNS 103, CAVS 94: Jason Kidd scored 29 points as host Phoenix won its fifth straight. Kidd is averaging 24 points during the streak. Kidd had five assists during an early 19-0 run.

KARL GETS RECORD DEAL: George Karl is celebrating his new standing as the highest-paid pro coach without executive duties by spreading the wealth.

Karl signed a two-year contract extension with the Milwaukee Bucks worth a reported $14-million plus a small slice of the franchise.

Agent Bret Adams said the deal's final hangup was determining how Karl could distribute bonuses out of his paycheck to more than 60 members of the staff.

"I represent a lot of guys in this business and I've not seen a situation where a guy will take a portion of his contract and provide bonuses to everyone in the organization," Adams said.

It's believed Karl will hand out bonuses totaling well over $100,000 in the next two weeks to everyone from assistant coaches to salespeople in the front office.

Terms weren't revealed, but the Associated Press reported the two-year extension is worth $7-million per year and also includes 1 to 2 percent of the franchise that is valued at $125-million.

"I hope I'm serving the coaching profession well," Karl said. "The things that I try to get for the coaches is ownership to elevate salaries because I think our job is a very difficult job. I don't know we're worth what we get paid, but if we're going to get paid this crazy money here, I think coaches should be given more respect. I hope I'm serving as an ambassador to coaches."

Glenn Robinson, a frequent target of Karl's tirades, said the extension was great news.

"Since he's been here, we've been in the playoffs. So, that says it all right there," said Robinson, who was benched in the fourth quarter of a loss to Philadelphia on Monday night. "I hadn't been to the playoffs until Coach Karl came, and we've only gotten better."

LAKERS: Kobe Bryant sat out Wednesday night's game against Sacramento, the fourth straight game he has missed because of a sprained left ankle. The team said Bryant was doubtful for Friday's game against Dallas.

WNBA: Michael Peck, an assistant on Penn State's women's basketball team, resigned to work for his sister Carolyn Peck, coach of the Orlando Miracle.

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