Sunday, March 14, 2004

NBA: Rockets halt Memphis

End Grizzlies' win streak at 7

The Associated Press

HOUSTON - Jim Jackson scored 20 points and hit a crucial running jumper with 50 seconds to play as the Houston Rockets won their fifth straight game, 88-80 over Memphis on Saturday night to snap the Grizzlies' seven-game win streak.

The Rockets' streak is the longest current winning streak in the Western Conference, and they worked hard to get it.

Houston built a 78-64 lead early in the fourth quarter, its biggest of the game, but the Grizzlies cut it to six points on two occasions, the last with 2:11 to play on a basket by Pau Gasol.

Jackson's jumper made it 84-76, and he also hit two free throws with 28 seconds to play and two more with 14 seconds to go. Jackson had 10 points in the fourth quarter. Yao Ming had 17 points and 11 rebounds and blocked a shot by Gasol with 44 seconds to go.

A victory would have assured the Grizzlies of their first winning season.

Stromile Swift led Memphis with 19 points, and Bonzi Wells added 16.

The Grizzles cut Houston's 52-41 halftime lead to 63-56 with 4:30 to go in the third quarter, but the Rockets built it back to a 70-58 lead on a quick run of a basket by Maurice Taylor and a driving layup and 3-pointer by Jackson.

The Rockets were trailing 28-25 early in the second quarter when they went on an 18-4 charge. Scott Padgett came off the bench to score eight points in the run.

Cuttino Mobley, who broke out of a shooting slump in the previous game with 31 points, added seven in second quarter to help the Rockets get their 52-41 halftime lead.

Celtics 111, Wizards 102

WASHINGTON - Paul Pierce scored 26 of his 37 points in the second half, and Boston moved back into playoff position with a win.

The victory broke a two-game losing streak and moved the Celtics from ninth to seventh place in the Eastern Conference, percentage points ahead of idle New York and Miami.

Pierce scored 13 of Boston's last 25 points, including a jumper, a steal and layup and a free throw in a solo 5-0 run that tied the score at 102 with 1:48 left.

The Celtics finished the game with a 14-0 run over the last 3:45.

Hornets 102, Warriors 84

NEW ORLEANS - Baron Davis had 24 points and 11 assists as New Orleans extended the Warriors' losing streak to nine games.

Stacey Augmon, making his 12th start of the season, scored a season-high 21 points, while Jamaal Magloire added 18 points and 10 rebounds.

The Warriors were playing the second of back-to-back games after losing 99-74 at San Antonio a night earlier.

SuperSonics 115, Magic 101

ORLANDO, Fla. - Brent Barry went 6-for-6 from 3-point range and scored a season-high 25 points with 10 assists as Seattle snapped a six-game losing streak, overcoming 40 points from Tracy McGrady in his first game since scoring 62.

Barry shot 9-for-10, while Ray Allen scored 26 points.

Lakers 88, Bulls 81

CHICAGO - Kobe Bryant scored 35 points, including 12 in the final five minutes.

Shaquille O'Neal added 16 points and 15 rebounds, passing Hal Greer for 21st place on the career scoring list with 21,591 points.

After Chicago cut its deficit to two in the final period, Bryant went to work with a spurt of 12 straight Lakers points.

Mavericks 113, Suns 90

PHOENIX - Michael Finley matched his season high with 38 points and Dallas handed Phoenix its fourth consecutive loss.

The victory moved the Mavericks a half-game ahead of Memphis in the Western Conference standings.

CAVALIERS: Lee Nailon signed a second 10-day contract Saturday with the Cavaliers, who are 5-0 since the forward joined them.

HAWKS: Center Joel Przybilla will miss four to six weeks after an MRI showed swelling in his left knee.

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