Sun, Apr 06, 2003 - Page 23 News List

Yao plays big to dazzle in Rockets win

NBA ACTIONThe Houston center bagged 20 points against the Sixers, while in New Jersey the Nets beat the Heat to open up a gap at the top of the table

AP , PHILADELPHIA

Yao Ming had 20 points and 13 rebounds, and the Houston Rockets capitalized on an injury to Keith Van Horn and a poor game by Allen Iverson as the Rockets muscled out the 76ers by 88 to 79 in Philidelphia.

Iverson missed 19 of his 23 shots, including his final 16, and finished with just eight points -- all in the first quarter. He wasn't fouled and missed his only free throw.

The Sixers lost Van Horn to a sprained left foot in the second quarter. X-rays were negative, but Van Horn was to have an MRI and didn't return.

James Posey added 19 points and 12 rebounds as the Rockets moved within one game of Phoenix for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Heat 83, Nets 99

In New Jersey, Jason Kidd scored 13 of his 30 points in the third quarter to hold off a Miami rally and lead the New Jersey Nets to victory over the Heat.

Coupled with Philadelphia's loss to Houston, the first-place Nets opened a one game lead over the 76ers in the Atlantic Division on Friday night.

Richard Jefferson added 18 points and Rodney Rogers came off the bench for 12 as the Nets swept the four-game season series from Miami for the first time.

Brian Grant had 23 points and eight rebounds and Caron Butler had 15 points for Miami, which lost its fourth straight overall and seventh straight on the road.

Spurs 124, Raptors 98

In Toronto, Lenny Wilkens set the NBA record for most career coaching losses, dropping his 1,107th game as Malik Rose scored 23 points to lead the San Antonio Spurs to their eighth straight victory.

Wilkens, already the winningest coach in league history with 1,292 victories, surpassed Bill Fitch's record with one of the Raptors' most lopsided losses of the season.

Stephen Jackson added 22 points for the Spurs, who shot 77.1 percent in the first half. San Antonio has won 16 of 17 on the road. Tim Duncan had 13 points and eight rebounds before leaving the game late in the first half with a mildly sprained right ankle.

The Spurs, a half-game behind Dallas for the best record in the NBA, made 15 straight shots in the second quarter and finished the period 16-of-18.

Pacers 98, Pistons 92

In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Jer-maine O'Neal had 29 points and 13 rebounds and Ron Artest scored 20 to lead a second-half comeback.

Indiana has won four of its last five games after losing 15 of 19 to pull within two games of Detroit in the Central Division. The Eastern Conference-leading Pistons have just a half-game lead over New Jersey after losing three of five.

After trailing for much of the game, Indiana took control with a 13-2 run over the final minute of the third quarter and the first few minutes of the fourth to go ahead 88-80. The Pistons didn't get closer than six after that.

Kings 93, Celtics 92

In Boston, Chris Webber hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 4.6 seconds left, atoning for a pair of missed free throws seconds earlier.

Webber had 27 points with 11 rebounds, scoring 11 in the fourth quarter.

The Kings led by 19 in the third quarter, but Boston mounted a 15-2 run and took the lead in the final minute thanks to 18 fourth-quarter points from Paul Pierce. He scored 40 in all, but missed a well-defended pull-up jumper at the buzzer that would have won it.

Lakers 102, Grizzlies 101

In Memphis, Tennessee, Kobe Bryant hit a 21-footer as time expired, completing the Lakers' comeback from a 23-point fourth-quarter deficit.

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