Thursday, February 12, 2004

Nets lift interim coach to 9-0

The Associated Press

CLEVELAND - Lawrence Frank improved to 9-0 since taking over as New Jersey's interim coach and the Nets won their 10th straight game Wednesday, 105-85 over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Frank, 33, tied the league mark for the best start as a coach shared by Kurt Rambis (Los Angeles Lakers, 1998-99) and Buddy Jeannette (Baltimore Bullets, 1947-48).

Kerry Kittles scored all 27 of his points in the second half for the Nets. New Jersey (31-20) became just the second team in league history to win 10 straight games by more than 10 points, tying a mark set by the Red Auerbach-coached 1946-47 Washington Capitals.

New Jersey tied a team mark with its fifth straight road win.

Rockets 102, Lakers 87

HOUSTON - Yao Ming had 29 points and 11 rebounds for Houston, outplaying Shaquille O'Neal. Yao scored 11 of Houston's last 15 points in the final 6:12 on five free throws and three field goals, including a hook over O'Neal.

O'Neal, who finished with 24 points and nine rebounds, fouled out with 3:20 to play. Kobe Bryant came off the injured list and scored 14 points for the Lakers.

Timberwolves 77, Jazz 66

SALT LAKE CITY - Minnesota's Kevin Garnett had 17 points and 12 rebounds for his 14th straight double-double. He has an NBA-best 46 double-doubles this season.

76ers 113, Wizards 88

PHILADELPHIA - Allen Iverson scored 25 points and Philadelphia gave interim coach Chris Ford a successful debut. Ford, who took over for fired coach Randy Ayers, was promoted from assistant for the rest of the season.

Juan Dixon scored 21 points for Washington, which played without scoring leader Larry Hughes, who broke his left wrist Saturday and will miss four to six weeks.

Heat 111, Magic 98

ORLANDO, Fla. - Dwyane Wade scored 27 points, Rafer Alston added a season-high 23 and Miami snapped a five-game losing streak. Brian Grant added 16 points, and Rasual Butler tied his season high with 12.

Kings 96, Pistons 94

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Peja Stojakovic's jumper with 0.4 seconds won the game for Sacramento. Mike Bibby scored 26 points and Stojakovic had 25 for the Western Conference-leading Kings, who have won five straight road games.

Hornets 106, Knicks 98

NEW ORLEANS - Baron Davis had 29 points and a career-high six steals for New Orleans, which lost five of its previous six games.

Stephon Marbury led New York with 29 points and 10 assists.

Grizzlies 110, Clippers 102

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Pau Gasol had 22 points and eight rebounds for Memphis (30-22), which increased its franchise record for victories in a season.

CELTICS: Vin Baker is expected to miss his 10th consecutive game tonight, a mark that could allow Boston to terminate a contract that was to pay him $35 million more over the next 2 1/2 years.

Baker missed two months and the playoffs last season while being treated for alcoholism. He agreed to follow an aftercare program this season and submit to testing.

But Baker failed to comply with the terms of the agreement at least three times, and was suspended indefinitely on Jan. 23. The team has not disclosed the nature of the violations, which could include a positive test or refusal to take a test.

Only the doctor overseeing Baker's care can determine if he's ready to return. But the agreement said that if Baker wasn't back within 10 games, the Celtics had the right to terminate his contract.

HEAT: Forward Caron Butler remained hospitalized with back spasms and a bruised buttocks after falling to the court against the Lakers Tuesday.

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