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NBA briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 9, 2001


Another wild Heat-Knicks ending favors Miami

MIAMI -- For those who thought they had seen it all in the Heat-Knicks rivalry, Sunday's 81-76 Miami win delivered another bizarre finish.

Led by Marcus Camby, New York rallied and cut a 17-point third-quarter deficit to two, 76-74, with 25 seconds left in the game. The Knicks' Charlie Ward was then called for a flagrant foul on Bruce Bowen, and when New York coach Jeff Van Gundy argued at length, he received a technical and was ejected by referee Joe Crawford.

The calls helped give the Heat seven free throws in the final 20.4 seconds, and Miami made five to clinch the win.

The technical probably didn't cost New York the game, but Van Gundy said he was wrong to lose his temper.

"It was a mistake on my part," said Van Gundy, who insisted he "didn't say a whole lot" but declined to elaborate.

"He apologized to us," Knicks forward Glen Rice said, "and we apologized to him for the way we played in the first half."

Ward said he didn't mean to foul Bowen so hard.

"I tripped when I got there," said Ward, who took a tumble on the play. "I almost broke my neck. It's a judgment call. They make them, and you have to live with it."

Tim Hardaway scored 25, including 14 consecutive Heat points in the third period to put Miami ahead 60-43. The Heat survived to win its third straight overall and finish the season series 2-3 against the Knicks.

The Heat had lost its previous three games against the Knicks.

With six regular-season games remaining, Miami took a one-game lead over New York in the playoff race for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Alonzo Mourning, facing New York for the first time since his comeback from a kidney ailment, had 11 points and four rebounds in 25 minutes.

Camby had 23 points and 16 rebounds for the Knicks, who were without swingman Latrell Sprewell. He did not dress because of a stomach virus.

The crowd of 20,103 was the largest for a Heat home game.

LAKERS 104, TIMBERWOLVES 99: Shaquille O'Neal had 34 points and 11 rebounds as Los Angeles used a 17-4 fourth-quarter run to complete a 4-0 road trip without guard Kobe Bryant.

Bryant has missed nine of the Lakers' past 10 games, and Los Angeles is 11-3 without him in the starting lineup this season.

"They move the ball better when Kobe's not there," Minnesota's Chauncey Billups said. "You get so zeroed in on what he's doing. But without him, when they start rotating the ball and knocking down shots, it's tough to beat them."

Bryant said he has hurt his right ankle overcompensating for the ailing left one.

"I could go with one bad ankle but not with both of them," he said.

Bryant expects to return Tuesday against Phoenix. He looked sharp in a vigorous pregame shootaround.

PACERS 108, NETS 83: Jalen Rose scored 19 of his 29 points in Indiana's season-high 41-point third quarter and the visiting Pacers improved their playoff chances.

"We had a subpar first half, and we knew it couldn't get any worse than that," said Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal, who had 20 points, 12 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. "We wanted to come out in the second half and run those guys because they have so many guys out (injured) with Stephon (Marbury) and Kenyon (Martin). We knew this game should not have been close."

The Nets led by 12 early in the second quarter and 51-43 after Keith Van Horn converted a three-point play with 2:59 left in the half. After that it was all Pacers, starting with a 17-0 run bridging the end of the first half and the start of the second.

The Pacers won their third straight and increased their lead over the Celtics to 11/2 games in the race for the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

KINGS 98, TRAIL BLAZERS 89: There was no dramatic, defining moment for host Sacramento. Instead, the Kings were proud of the mistakes they didn't make -- and what such a win suggests they might do in the playoffs.

"This wasn't a game where one guy won it for us," said Vlade Divac, who scored eight of his 13 points in the final seven minutes. "If you want to win in the playoffs, you need to win games like these -- games where you don't turn the ball over, you don't take bad shots and you don't forget to play defense."

Sacramento kept the pressure on San Antonio for the Western Conference lead with a balanced team effort and tenacious late-game execution. It had six players score in double figures and made six turnovers, tying the franchise record low.

SPURS 84, WARRIORS 76: Visiting San Antonio, which has the league's best record, won its fourth straight and ninth in past 11. It played without David Robinson, out with tightness in his lower back. He is expected to play Tuesday night against Dallas.

SUPERSONICS 101, BUCKS 88: Host Seattle staved off playoff elimination. It led by 27 late in the third quarter, but Milwaukee rallied with a 17-0 run to cut their deficit to 79-69 2:15 into the final quarter. The Sonics put the game away with an 11-4 run with Gary Payton scoring two baskets. Payton had 26 points and 15 assists.

RAPTORS 100, BULLS 88: Vince Carter scored 20 of his 33 points for host Toronto after Ron Artest was ejected in the third quarter. Artest, responsible for guarding Carter, received two technicals early in the third for arguing with Toronto's Morris Peterson.

"We really needed Ron and his type of defense," Bulls coach Tim Floyd said. "Ron was having an impact. ... It was our undoing."

Carter followed with 13 points in the third as Toronto outscored Chicago 41-28 in the period. The Bulls trailed by two points when Artest was ejected.

"It was me and Mo Pete. He was trash talking, and we just kept talking," Artest said. "I didn't think I would get ejected. It wasn't that serious. I should have just left it alone. I should have backed off."

Chicago is all but assured of finishing with the league's worst record. It needs to win five of its final six games to match the franchise low of 17 set last season.

SHAWN KEMP: NBC broadcaster Peter Vecsey said the Portland forward, who entered a drug rehabilitation center last week, has had a cocaine problem since his time with the Seattle SuperSonics.

"Players have covered for him," Vecsey said. "Management, agents have looked the other way."

Kemp was traded to the Cavaliers in September 1997. He was traded to the Trail Blazers in August. Cavaliers spokesman Ed Markey said general manager Jim Paxson would not comment.

Cleveland coach Randy Wittman said Saturday he did not know if Kemp had a cocaine problem with the Cavaliers.

DRAFT: Arizona forward Richard Jefferson will skip his senior season to enter the draft.

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