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Penny lifts Magic past reeling Rockets

SHARE Penny lifts Magic past reeling Rockets

Penny Hardaway returned after a long layoff and helped the Orlando Magic end a long losing streak.

Hardaway had 11 points and five assists in his first game since Dec. 6 as the Magic snapped a seven-game slide with a 95-88 victory over the Houston Rockets on Thursday night.Hardaway, sidelined for eight weeks with a knee injury that required surgery, didn't start but played 31 minutes. The all-star guard missed seven of eight shots from the field but was 9-for-10 from the foul line and had two steals and two blocks.

"It's nice being back," Hardaway said. "I was kind of rusty, but I just wanted to give the team a boost and hope to get a victory. The knee felt great. I had no pain."

Darrell Armstrong scored 17 points for the Magic, who had seven players in double figures. Matt Bullard had 20 points for the Rockets, who lost for the seventh time in nine games.

"Right now we're struggling," said Charles Barkley, held to six points on 2-for-10 shooting. "We've just got to stop the bleeding."

Orlando outrebounded Houston 51-33, including 15 by Horace Grant and a career-high nine from Armstrong.

"The key for us was having Penny back. We had the extra confidence when he was on the court," Grant said.

HAWKS 109, 76ERS 99: Steve Smith scored 33 points, including four in the final 31 seconds of regulation and six in overtime, as Atlanta snapped a five-game losing streak.

The Hawks, 5-1 in overtime this season, scored the first nine points of the extra period.

Derrick Coleman had 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Sixers, who have lost four straight overall and five in a row on the road.

BUCKS 115, KNICKS 112: Michael Curry's follow shot with five seconds left in overtime at New York gave the Milwaukee its fourth straight win.

Glenn Robinson scored 39 points and Ray Allen had 26 for the Bucks, including a game-tying 3-pointer with five seconds remaining in regulation. Terrell Brandon added 22 points and 10 assists for the Bucks.

John Starks made a club-record nine 3-pointers and scored 32 points for the Knicks. Allan Houston added a season-high 28 points for New York.

RAPTORS 84, NUGGETS 80: Damon Stoudamire scored 22 points, including the final four of the game, as Toronto extended its winning streak to a franchise-best four games.

The loss extended Denver's home losing streak to a team-record 11 games.

Marcus Camby scored 16 points for the Raptors, who won despite scoring just 10 points in the fourth quarter. LaPhonso Ellis led the Nuggets with 18 points.


Gary Payton scored 30 points and Vin Baker had 19 points and 12 rebounds to lead Seattle to its 12th straight victory over Golden State.

The Sonics improved their NBA-best record to 35-10 by defeating the Warriors for the third time this season.

Donyell Marshall scored 18 points for visiting Golden State. Joe Smith, the Warriors' leading scorer with a 17-point average, was held to nine.

BULLS 100, TRAIL BLAZERS 87: Michael Jordan scored 29 points, including three fadeaway jumpers in the final 31/2 minutes, as Chicago overcame an early 19-point deficit to beat Portland for the sixth consecutive time.

Scottie Pippen scored 18 points and Ron Harper had 17 for the Bulls, who have won six of seven. Dennis Rodman had 20 rebounds as Chicago dominated the boards 47-38.

Isaiah Rider had 29 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for Portland. Rasheed Wallace added 26 points for the Blazers, who lost their second in a row at home.

T'WOLVES 112, GRIZZLIES 106: Stephon Marbury scored 31 points as Minnesota, playing without two regulars, won at Vancouver.

Already minus Tom Gugliotta, who sprained his left knee in Tuesday's victory over Atlanta, the Timberwolves lost guard Chris Carr eight minutes into the game with a sprained left ankle.

Sam Mitchell scored 21 points for Minnesota, while Kevin Garnett had 18 points and 15 rebounds. Shareef Abdur-Rahim led Vancouver with 27 points.