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Jordan Shoots an Air Ball, and Nets Win

From Associated Press

Michael Jordan shot an air ball late in the fourth quarter when the Chicago Bulls had a chance to tie, and Xavier McDaniel made four free throws in the final 16 seconds as the New Jersey Nets won, 99-98, Friday night at East Rutherford, N.J.

“The last shot wasn’t my favorite,” Jordan said. “I thought I could create a foul, but at the last moment I took the fadeaway. It was a dumb shot.”

The air ball was an exception for Jordan, who was 16 of 34 from the field and scored 36 points.

“He’s human, you know,” McDaniel said of Jordan’s missed fadeaway jumper from 15 feet that would have tied the score, 97-97, with six seconds left.

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The victory was the Nets’ first over a Jordan-led Bulls’ team since 1991, a string of 16 games. New Jersey beat Chicago in 1994 when Jordan was playing minor league baseball.

The Bulls tied the score, 95-95, by scoring seven straight points, the final two on free throws by Scottie Pippen with 1:20 left.

Steve Kerr missed a three-point shot with 19 seconds left and McDaniel got the rebound. He held the ball over his head and Pippen fouled him trying to make a steal with 16 seconds left. McDaniel made both shots.

Miami 88, Vancouver 82--The Heat was held scoreless for nearly six minutes down the stretch, but Keith Askins made a 20-foot jump shot with 29 seconds left at Miami to clinch the victory and move the Heat into a first-place tie with New York in the Atlantic Division.

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Orlando 86, Charlotte 81--The Magic overcame poor shooting late in the game at Orlando to end the Hornets’ six-game winning streak.

The Magic missed 15 of 19 shots in the fourth quarter, but were able to protect what was once a 10-point lead by holding Charlotte to two points in the final three minutes.

Glen Rice led Charlotte with 39 points, but he didn’t get much help from his teammates as they contributed only 10 of the Hornet’s 33 second-half points.

Seattle 97, Atlanta 91--Steve Smith scored 25 points in the final 6 1/2 minutes, but it was not enough to prevent the SuperSonics from winning at Atlanta.

Shawn Kemp, who led the SuperSonics with 26 points, broke an 89-89 tie with a jump shot with 1:17 to play. He then made a dunk that made the score 93-89 with 31 seconds left. Hersey Hawkins and Sam Perkins each made two free throws in the final 10 seconds.

Smith, who made nine three-point shots, finished with 36 points. He tied an NBA record with seven three-point shots in a quarter. John Roche of Denver is the only other NBA player with seven in a quarter. He did it against Seattle on Jan. 9, 1982.

Washington 105, Milwaukee 96--Rod Strickland, who arrived after halftime because of a flight delay, scored six points down the stretch at Milwaukee.

The Bullets, who have won five of their last seven games, held the Bucks to one point in the final 4:29.

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Utah 105, Indiana 96--Karl Malone scored 19 of his 38 points in the third quarter as the Jazz overcame a 10-point deficit to win at Indiana.

Reggie Miller scored 23 points for the Pacers but failed to make a basket in the second half as a tight defense limited him to only four shots in the final two quarters.

San Antonio 103, Boston 92--The Spurs nearly blew a 21-point lead before holding on for the victory over the Celtics at San Antonio.

Boston rallied to close the deficit to 73-70 by the end of the third quarter. A basket by Steve Hamer 18 seconds into the fourth quarter closed the deficit to one, but the Spurs scored the next eight points and were never threatened again.

Philadelphia 109, Minnesota 95--The 76ers, the second-worst shooting team in the league, made 51% of its attempts at Philadelphia.

The teams played three nights earlier in Minneapolis, and the 76ers opened a big lead in the first half, leading by as many as 19 points. But they lost, 104-100. This time, Philadelphia did not relinquish its lead.

Portland 96, Cleveland 73--The Trail Blazers extended the league’s longest current winning streak to eight games by beating the Cavaliers at Portland.

It’s the longest winning streak in six seasons for the Trail Blazers, who last won eight in a row at the opening of the 1992-93 season. They have outscored their opponents by an average of 13 points during the streak.

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