Tuesday, April 1, 2003

Rockets, Yao fall to Nets 110-86

The Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Dikembe Mutombo's elbow crashed into Yao Ming's throat, and Yao went down in a heap. And the rest of the Houston Rockets stumbled badly, too.

Richard Jefferson had 30 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for his first career triple-double as the New Jersey Nets won their fourth game in a row, 110-86 over the Rockets Monday.

Houston dropped a half-game behind Phoenix in the race for the Western Conference's final playoff spot.

Mutombo had four points and eight rebounds in his second game back from the injured list. It was his first career meeting with Yao, and Mutombo nailed him in the throat with an elbow late in the second quarter when Mutombo got into position to box out.

Yao fell to his knees, holding his throat, and Mutombo was called for a foul despite his protests.

"I can't believe my elbow can reach his neck," Mutombo said. "I thought I was going to get it between his chest and stomach and box him out. Next thing I knew he was on the floor."

Yao, who finished with 24 points, said through an interpreter: "I think his face is a little bit cuter than his elbow. ... He was penalized for it and I got my two shots."

Jason Kidd had 30 points and 12 rebounds for New Jersey, which never trailed and led by as many as 30 points.

76ers 118, Magic 113, OT

ORLANDO, Fla. - Allen Iverson scored 14 of his 42 points in the fourth quarter and overtime as the Philadelphia 76ers clinched their fifth straight playoff berth.

Bucks 91, Heat 86

MIAMI - Sam Cassell and Gary Payton each scored 20 points for Milwaukee, which used a 17-6 run in the final 41/2 minutes to take a one-game lead over Washington for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Lakers 110, Grizzlies 94

LOS ANGELES - March has turned into April, and that means the NBA playoffs are less than three weeks away.

Despite all their ups and downs this season, the three-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers believe they'll be ready.

"Hopefully. I'm praying. I think we'll be all right," Robert Horry said with a smile after the Lakers beat the Memphis Grizzlies 110-94 on Monday night.

"It's really been tough to stay focused on each moment, knowing that the goal is close but it's not here yet," Derek Fisher said.

Shaquille O'Neal had 34 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots, and Kobe Bryant added 29 points as the Lakers rebounded from an ugly 119-98 loss at Seattle the night before to win for the eighth time in 11 games.

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It's time for changing of NBA stars
Rockets, Yao fall to Nets 110-86

Bruins clinch playoff berth

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Tuesday's sports on TV, radio