Trail Blazers Keep Going Forward
The absence of two forwards wasn’t enough to slow the Portland Trail Blazers.
Damon Stoudamire had 24 points, 11 assists and six rebounds, and Rasheed Wallace scored 23 points to lead Portland over the Denver Nuggets, 101-90, Saturday night at Portland, Ore.
The Trail Blazers won their fifth in a row and sixth of seven since the All-Star break. It was Portland’s first game without forward Shawn Kemp, suspended Friday for violating terms of the league’s anti-drug agreement. Forward Scottie Pippen sat out his second consecutive game with a viral infection.
“This is why we have a deep team,” said guard Bonzi Wells, who scored 18 points. “When a player or two is down, guys have to step up and take their game to another level.”
George McCloud had 20 points in a reserve role to lead Denver, which lost its fourth in a row. Juwan Howard had 16 points and six rebounds in his first game with the Nuggets. Howard, Tim Hardaway and Donnell Harvey played their first game for Denver since being acquired in a trade with Dallas.
Hardaway had 11 points and five assists. Harvey had three points.
Portland took control in the third period, outscoring the Nuggets, 33-17, to take an 80-63 lead.
“The first half was a little slow,” Portland Coach Maurice Cheeks said. “Our defense wasn’t very good to start off, but then we began to run our offense better and I think that was the difference. We ran our offense much better in the third quarter and pulled away.”
Houston 99, Boston 89--Cuttino Mobley scored 40 points and the Rockets rallied from a 20-point deficit at Houston.
The rally, Houston’s largest this season, was the fifth-best comeback in club history.
Kelvin Cato had 14 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks for the Rockets, who got their fifth consecutive home victory against the Celtics dating to Jan. 18, 1996.
“Our defense was outstanding against a very good team,” Houston Coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. “Cato was tremendous. He’s been playing very consistently for us and when he plays like that, it increases our chances of winning a lot.”
Paul Pierce had 30 points for Boston and Antoine Walker had 25.
Miami 97, Washington 95--Brian Grant made a 16-foot baseline jump shot with 1.4 seconds remaining to lift the Heat at Washington.
Jim Jackson preserved the victory by blocking Richard Hamilton’s layup at the buzzer. Jackson was beaten on an inbounds pass but recovered just in time.
“He got by me,” Jackson said. “All I could hear was Pat Riley’s voice in my head yelling at me.”
Eddie Jones scored 25 points for the Heat. Rod Strickland, booed every time he touched the ball in his return to Washington, had 18 points and 14 assists.
Michael Jordan had 37 points and seven assists, but also four of the Wizards’ 11 turnovers. Hamilton had 19 points for the Wizards, who have lost four in a row and are 1-6 since the All-Star break.
Minnesota 112, San Antonio 88--The Timberwolves used 30 points and 11 rebounds from Kevin Garnett, and a 30-8 run in the final 8:40, for the rout at San Antonio.
Minnesota avenged its worst loss this season, a 103-83 setback to the Spurs at San Antonio on Feb. 4.
“We came in here and got kicked hands down last time,” Garnett said. “So that was more than enough motivation.”
Garnett helped put the game out of reach with a steal and a dunk that gave the Timberwolves a 105-86 lead with 3:00 to play.
Minnesota, which trailed, 56-47, at halftime, opened the third quarter with a 22-4 run.
Orlando 105, Philadelphia 87--Tracy McGrady had 22 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds for his first career triple-double, and the Magic extended its home winning streak to four games.
Mike Miller had 25 points and 11 rebounds for the Magic (29-25), which moved to a season-best four games over .500.
Allen Iverson had 32 points on 11-for-30 shooting to lead short-handed Philadelphia. The 76ers were without starting forward Derrick Coleman and guard Aaron McKie.
Coleman, expected to return following a two-game suspension after he choked Indiana’s Reggie Miller on Feb. 17, was sidelined with flu. McKie missed his third consecutive game with a left ankle strain.
Chicago 105, Golden State 91--Reserve Marcus Fizer scored a career-high 30 points at Chicago and the Bulls have a three-game winning streak for the first time since January 2000.
Reserve Travis Best had 16 points and nine assists for Chicago, and Jalen Rose had 15 points and six assists.
“Jalen has been giving me the ball in great situations, and so has Travis,” Fizer said. “They make it a whole lot easier. We don’t have to work nearly as hard to score.”
The Bulls are 3-0 since making a deal with Indiana on Tuesday for Rose and Best.