NBA ROUNDUP : Time Off Is Answer as Orlando Sinks Suns

From Associated Press

The Orlando Magic found the remedy for a three-game losing streak in a couple of days off and a 126-102 rout of the Phoenix Suns in Tuesday night’s showdown between the league’s two best teams.

Shaquille O’Neal and Anfernee Hardaway each scored 26 points as the Magic gained a split of the two-game season series at Orlando, Fla.

The victory stopped Orlando’s longest losing streak of the season and improved the Magic’s Eastern Conference-leading record to 49-17, one-half game better than the Suns’ 48-18, best in the Western Conference.


“I don’t think we’re dead and buried yet,” said Orlando Coach Brian Hill, who gave his team the weekend off after Friday night’s loss at Indiana.

“I think the days off helped. It seems as if some people want to write us off after we lose a couple of games. I still think we have some good basketball in us. If we continue to get contributions from everybody like we did tonight, then I think we can finish up very strong.”

Dennis Scott came off the bench to make five of Orlando’s 11 three-point shots and finished with 23 points. Horace Grant had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Magic, which built a 15-point lead in the second quarter and never allowed the Suns to get back into the game.

Charles Barkley, who sat out the fourth quarter with his team facing a 20-point deficit, led Phoenix with 23 points and 11 rebounds.

“They played terrific,” Barkley said, adding that he was disappointed the Suns didn’t respond better to the challenge of a big game.

“I don’t think (the Magic) sent us a message,” Barkley added. “I think we’ve got to step up better, especially on the road. We can’t get blown out like that.”


Charlotte 78, New York 69--The Hornets overcame a 35-point effort by Patrick Ewing to hold the Knicks to a season-low scoring total and end their three-game winning streak with a victory at New York.

Larry Johnson led Charlotte with 21 points and Alonzo Mourning had 18 points and 15 rebounds, despite five-for-18 shooting, as the Hornets beat the Knicks for the third time this season.

Charlotte shot only 40% but the Knicks were even worse at 36%, including a six-minute scoreless stretch in the first quarter. Ewing got little help as the other four Knick starters scored only 12 points between them.

“We started to play much better and much harder defensively in the second half, and just couldn’t get enough offense generated,” said Knick Coach Pat Riley. “We just had a horrendous start from an offensive standpoint.”

Said Ewing, “It was a tough game. We fought to cut it to two, but it seemed like none of the shots we took from that point on could drop.”

To make matters worse, the Madison Square Garden crowd began chanting, “Mason! Mason!,” midway through the third quarter--calling for Anthony Mason, the forward suspended last week for five games for “conduct detrimental to the team.”


Seattle 104, Houston 102--Sarunas Marciulionis scored 20 points off the bench and Gary Payton made two free throws with 16.5 seconds left, helping the SuperSonics hold off the Rockets at Houston.

The Sonics snapped Houston’s five-game winning streak and won for the sixth time in seven games.

“Sarunas came in and got us some offense,” said Sonic Coach George Karl. “Nate McMillan made two or three steals. He was all over the place.”

Clyde Drexler led Houston with 22 points.

Portland 111, Washington 106--Rod Strickland made 16 of 17 foul shots and scored 26 points as the Trail Blazers beat the Bullets at Portland, Ore.

Calbert Cheaney led the Bullets with 27 points. Washington’s Juwan Howard did not play after spraining his right ankle Sunday.

Miami 97, Indiana 95--Glen Rice made a layup with 1.8 seconds to play to give the Heat a victory at Miami.


Rice led Miami with 28 points, including seven in the final 2:14.

Rik Smits had 30 points for Indiana. Reggie Miller missed the game because of a bruised right thigh, suffered when he collided with Michael Jordan on Sunday.

Milwaukee 115, Golden State 109--Todd Day scored 33 points and the Bucks spoiled the return of Warrior interim Coach Bob Lanier to Milwaukee.

Lanier is a former Milwaukee star. Tim Legler led the Warriors with 19 points.

Detroit 102, New Jersey 95--Allan Houston scored 28 points and Grant Hill 25 as the Pistons ended their six-game losing streak with a victory at Auburn Hills, Mich.

The Pistons played the second half without Joe Dumars, who sustained a groin injury early in the game. New Jersey lost for the fourth time in five games.

Kenny Anderson paced New Jersey with 26 points.

NBA Notes

Citing job pressures, Tim Leiweke resigned as head of the Denver Nuggets’ business operations and president of the group that will build a new sports arena. Leiweke launched the drive to build the $132-million Pepsi Center for the Nuggets and set in motion efforts to secure an NHL franchise.