Sunday, March 16, 2003

Wizards turn up defensive heat to douse Miami

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Jerry Stackhouse scored 37 points, and the Washington Wizards rediscovered defense in the second half to gain control of a close game and beat the Miami Heat 89-82 Saturday night.

Michael Jordan added 19 points for the Wizards, who need a victory in nearly all of their few precious remaining home games to keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Washington had lost five of seven overall to fall into ninth place, and it plays 11 of its final 16 on the road.

The game was tied 48-48 after a largely uninspiring first half, but the Wizards rattled the Heat with seven steals in the third quarter to build a seven-point lead. Jordan completed the surge early in the fourth with a jumper and three-point play off a driving layup to get the lead to 10.

Stackhouse, who arrived at the arena early for treatment on a turned ankle sustained the night before at Detroit, made 11 of 22 shots and 14 of 15 free throws.

Brian Grant had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Heat, who have lost six of seven. Travis Best also scored 16 points.

Magic 96, Hornets 86

ORLANDO, Fla. - Tracy McGrady had 33 points, nine rebounds and five assists, and the Orlando Magic beat New Orleans, handing the Hornets just their third loss in the last 13 games.

Gordan Giricek had 13 points and seven rebounds, while Drew Gooden added nine points and 11 rebounds.

Orlando (34-33), which had lost three of its last four, avoided a drop below .500 for the first time in two weeks.

The Magic outrebounded New Orleans 48-42, leading to the Magic's 29-10 advantage in second-chance points. It was the first time in 21 games that the Hornets failed to top their opponent on the boards.

David Wesley scored 24 points, nine in the first quarter, to lead the Hornets. P.J. Brown had 18 while Jamaal Magliore added 15 points and nine rebounds.

TIMBERWOLVES: Minnesota Timberwolves center Rasho Nesterovic could be out up to two weeks with a sprained right ankle.

Nesterovic injured his ankle in the third quarter of Friday night's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. He landed awkwardly on Shaquille O'Neal's foot after going for a rebound and eventually limped off the court.

X-rays taken Saturday revealed no bone damage, a team spokesman said. The 7-foot Slovenia native will miss at least 10 days.

In his fifth year in the NBA, Nesterovic is having his best season. He's averaging 11.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Until now, Nesterovic and forward Kevin Garnett were the only regular starters who had been healthy all season.

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