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Suns slip, slide past Mavericks

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The Phoenix Suns didn't let a victory slip away. Then again, they never do against the Dallas Mavericks.

Handling a 70-minute delay because of a slippery substance on the floor at Dallas, the Suns got their eighth consecutive victory over the Mavericks and 25th in the last 27 games, 103-91 Tuesday night."The floor was real bad when we first went out there, but they did a good job of getting it in decent shape," said Danny Manning, one of six Suns in double figures.

Dallas officials were baffled how the substance got on the floor, but thought it happened while it was stored during a hockey game.

Referee Bennett Salvatore, the crew chief, said "the game was in danger of not being played. But the maintenance crew did a good job of getting the substance up."

LAKERS 103, CLIPPERS 99: The Clippers lost again, 103-99 to the Lakers. Shaquille O'Neal had 31 points and 12 rebounds, and Dennis Rodman had a season-high 20 rebounds as the Lakers extended the Clippers' losing to 16 games -- one shy of the league record for losses at the start of a season.

The Clippers, who also lost 16 games at the beginning of the 1994-95 season, can tie the record set by Miami in 1988-89, in another game against the Lakers tonight at the Forum. The Lakers are 7-0 with Kurt Rambis as head coach and Rodman as one of his players.

HORNETS 105, CELTICS 87: J.R. Reid led seven Charlotte players in double figures with 26 points, and the Hornets made a winner of new coach Paul Silas.

Silas, appointed the team's interim head coach one day earlier following the resignation of Dave Cowens, was making his first appearance as an NBA head coach in nearly 16 years. By chance, his Charlotte debut came against the team with which he spent much of his 16-year playing career, helping the Celtics to NBA titles in 1974 and 1976.

TRAIL BLAZERS 103, KINGS 98: Isaiah Rider scored 21 points and Brian Grant had 19 points and 11 rebounds as Portland beat Sacramento for its eighth straight victory and improved the league's best record to 15-3.

Arvydas Sabonis added 19 points for the Blazers, who won for the 13th time in 14 games and improved to 9-0 at home.

BUCKS 87, KNICKS 86: Dell Curry hit a 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds left for Milwaukee. Latrell Sprewell, who left Curry wide open for the game-winner, missed an open jumper at the buzzer that would have won it for New York.

Patrick Ewing lasted only 29 seconds before leaving with an Achilles' tendon injury (his status is listed as day-to-day) as the Knicks had their eight-game home winning streak snapped.

TIMBERWOLVES 85, SUPERSONICS 84: Kevin Garnett won it with a one-handed putback dunk with 18.3 seconds left as Minnesota handed Seattle its fourth straight loss.

Garnett had 22 points and 16 rebounds, including a season-high eight on the offensive end.

BULLS 103, NETS 87: In a matchup of tailenders, Toni Kukoc scored 28 points and Ron Harper missed just one shot in the first half on his way to a season-high 25 points. All five Chicago (5-13) starters finished in double figures in the Bulls' first 100-point game of the season.

ROCKETS 84, NUGGETS 74: At Houston, the Rockets beat Denver for the eighth straight time. Hakeem Olajuwon had 20 points, and Scottie Pippen scored 10 of his 17 in the fourth quarter.

Antonio McDyess led Denver with 23 points, and Danny Fortson had 15 points and 21 rebounds. The Nuggets took their fifth straight loss.

WARRIORS 92, GRIZZLIES 82: Donyell Marshall scored 20 points and Erick Dampier and Bimbo Coles had 17 apiece as Golden State won its sixth straight home game. Dampier matched a career-high with 18 rebounds, and Tony Delk had a season-high 11 assists for the Warriors.

Shareef Abdur-Rahim scored 35 points, but it wasn't enough for the Grizzlies to avoid their ninth straight loss.