Sun, Mar 07, 2004 - Page 24 News List

Yao outlasts a wolf pack

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION Minnesota had a chance to tie the game with 3.4 seconds left, but Troy Hudson's 3-pointer attempt hit the front of the rim


Yao Ming, center, of the Rockets, looks to take a shot against the Timberwolves at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Friday.


Yao Ming scored 27 points Friday as the Houston Rockets withstood two last-second shot attempts by Minnesota to outlast the Timber-wolves 112-109.

"From the beginning of the game we played great offense, but coach was continually getting on us about our defense," Yao said through an interpreter.

Steve Francis added 25 for the Rockets.

Minnesota had a chance to tie the game with 3.4 seconds left, but Troy Hudson's 3-pointer hit the front of the rim. The Timberwolves got a second chance with 3.1 seconds left after Adrian Griffin missed two free throws, but Garnett's straightaway 3-point attempt was way off.

"We got what we wanted, we just missed the shots," said Sam Cassell, who had 25 points and 13 rebounds for Minnesota. "That's how the game goes."

Neither Hudson nor Garnett got clean looks at the basket as Rockets' defenders played them tight down the stretch.

Cuttino Mobley had 18 points and Maurice Taylor added 16 off the bench for Houston, which had lost two straight overall and four in a row on the road.

Garnett had 32 points and 18 rebounds and Michael Olowokandi had 12 points and seven rebounds for Minnesota. The Timberwolves lost for just the third time in 12 games.

Celtics 94, Wizards 90

Paul Pierce scored 24 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and had eight assists to lead the Boston Celtics to their fourth straight win, 94-90 over the Washington Wizards on Friday night.

Ricky Davis scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half and Mark Blount added 17 points for the Celtics, whose winning streak is their longest under interim coach John Carroll. They won five straight in December under Jim O'Brien.

"I think the chemistry is starting to come together," Pierce said. "This was a big win for us. This was a team that we are battling with for the eighth spot for the playoffs."

Gilbert Arenas had his fourth consecutive strong game, leading Washington with 26 points. It was the Wizards' second loss in their last six games and dropped them to 6-23 on the road.

"You have to give [Boston] credit," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "They picked it up, they denied us."

Magic 101, Hawks 96

In Orlando, Florida, Tracy McGrady had 28 points and Tyronn Lue scored eight consecutive points in the final 1:42 for Orlando's third victory over the Atlanta this season.

The Magic, who shot 51.9 percent, got 16 points from Juwan Howard and 14 from reserve Drew Gooden. Lue had his fifth consecutive game in double figures, shooting 8-of-11 and scoring 20.

Knicks 109, Raptors 103

In Toronto, Stephon Marbury had 35 points, and Nazr Mohammed had a season-high 20 points and 18 rebounds to make New York coach Lenny Wilkens a winner in his return to Toronto.

Wilkens returned to Toronto for the first time since being fired after last season. Fans booed his introduction.

New York moved 1 1/2 games ahead of Toronto for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

Vince Carter had 32 points and nine assists for the Raptors, who have lost 11 of 12. Rod Strickland, signed by the Raptors earlier in the day, shot just 2-for-10. New York outrebounded Toronto 49-37, including 19-8 on the offensive glass.

Spurs 113, Mavericks 100

In San Antonio, Tony Parker scored 25 points, Hedo Turkoglu added 21 and San Antonio put together two big first-half runs and then held off a fourth-quarter comeback from Dallas.

Dirk Nowitzki, held to four points in the first three periods, went 7-for-9 in the fourth for 17 points as the Mavericks slashed a 26-point deficit to 95-90 with nearly three minutes remaining.

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