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NBA briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 6, 2001


Mavs win, Wang plays

DALLAS -- Wang Zhizhi, the first China-born player in NBA history, overcame some early communication problems to score six points and grab three rebounds in eight minutes as the Mavericks beat the Atlanta Hawks 108-94 Thursday night.

After getting his first shot blocked, Wang stroked a jumper from the top of the key, made two free throws and hit a short shot that put the Mavericks over 100 points, ensuring fans a free chalupa in a team promotion.

"I was a little nervous," said Wang, whose parents and an estimated 300-million Chinese were watching on television. "I was trying to score as soon as possible, and that's why I got the turnover."

Juwan Howard led Dallas with 20 points and reserve Shawn Bradley had 16 points and 15 rebounds as the Mavericks moved into a tie with Utah for the fourth spot in the Western Conference. Utah visits Dallas on Saturday.

With Dallas having clinched its first playoff berth in 11 years in its previous game, the focus was on Wang, who signed for the rest of this season and next season.

"I felt so happy I could score," Wang said. "It made me feel I can score more in the future."

Several fans waved signs in Chinese and four youngsters painted Wang's name on their chests. Chants of "We want Wang!" began in the second quarter. With 26.8 seconds left in the half, fans got their wish.

SPURS 101, NUGGETS 80: Tim Duncan scored 15 of his 36 points in the third quarter and had 13 rebounds for visiting San Antonio, which is one game ahead of Philadelphia in the push for the NBA's best record.

KNICKS 93, WIZARDS 80: Marcus Camby converted an alley-oop dunk with 3:07 left to complete a late 9-0 run that led host New York. After falling behind 78-74 with 7:48 left, the Knicks scored 19 of the game's final 21 points to win their third straight and move a half-game ahead of fourth-place Miami in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

LAKERS 100, BULLS 88: Shaquille O'Neal powered his way to 39 points and visiting Los Angeles shot 56 percent for its 50th victory. With Kobe Bryant (foot) again sidelined, the Lakers pounded the ball to Shaq and he responded with a 13-for-17 shooting night and also made 13 of 22 free throws to go with 10 rebounds.

ROCKETS 91, SUPERSONICS 88: Kenny Anderson blocked a Ruben Patterson shot with 10 seconds to play, then slammed it into the basket on the other end to seal a win for host Houston.

KINGS 92, JAZZ 86: Chris Webber scored 26 points and Peja Stojakovic 25 for visiting Sacramento.

Magic playoff tickets to go on sale

ORLANDO -- Tickets ranging from $10 to $140 for the club's two guaranteed home playoff games go on sale at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

The playoff schedule will be determined after the end of the regular season.

Tickets can be purchased through TicketMaster at 1-800-4NBA-TIX and online at www.ticketmaster.com or www.orlandomagic.com.

HEAT: Center Alonzo Mourning, 31, probably will be able to play without restrictions when the playoffs begin. Since his return from a kidney problem, the team -- at Dr. Gerald Appel's direction -- has limited Mourning to 20 minutes a game, 15 below his career average.

SONICS: Forward Vin Baker was dismissed from practice by coach Nate McMillan after Baker argued with him over fouls called during a scrimmage. Baker was unhappy that McMillan made calls that went against Baker's team during the Wednesday workout, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported. Baker stormed off the court and yelled profanities at McMillan, who virtually ignored Baker and concentrated on the scrimmage. McMillan spoke peacefully and at length with Baker after practice, and the coach downplayed the situation. Baker would not comment when he boarded the team bus.

KINGS: Guard-forward Nick Anderson (back spasms) was activated from the injured list.

WIZARDS: Center Christian Laettner donated $1-million to Nichols High in Buffalo, N.Y. He attended from 1983-88.

WARRANT FOR ROZIER: An arrest warrant was out for Clifford Rozier, a former NBA first-round draft pick, in the theft of a deputy's car in Bradenton. According to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, the car was the personal vehicle of a deputy who reported it stolen March 28. It was found at a gas station later the same day. According to Rozier's divorce papers, he suffered from an unspecified mental problem and received $1,700 monthly disability payments from the NBA.

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