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Nets gain win, All-Star

SHARE Nets gain win, All-Star

Byron Scott got some good news before he expected it. A loose paper at his feet told the second-year coach of the New Jersey Nets that he was an All-Star.

The Nets needed either a win by his team at Houston on Thursday night or a loss by Milwaukee to secure the Eastern Conference coaching position for Scott at the All-Star game.

They got both.

Shortly after the Bucks lost to Seattle 99-88, New Jersey defeated the Rockets 103-98 for its first win at Houston since Dec. 8, 1989.

Scott didn't have to wait for the Nets' game to end to find out he already had the All-Star berth locked up, based on New Jersey's top record in the conference. The Nets have a 2 1/2-game lead over the Bucks.

A release handed out along press row found its way to the New Jersey sideline.

"I kicked a piece of paper and I saw my name on it," Scott said. "I started laughing and just went back to thinking about the game.

"We've got a great group of guys, and they've worked their rears off. I just get some of the dividends on what they've done. I'm still in awe that I get a chance to coach guys like Michael Jordan."

Kenyon Martin scored 28 points and Kerry Kittles had 20, four in the final minute, as the Nets ended a 10-game road losing streak to the Rockets.

The surprising Nets lead the Eastern Conference with a 29-13 record.

"We're happy for him," Martin said of Scott. "We knew we had to win this one for him and for the team, too."

Cuttino Mobley tied a career high with 41 points and Steve Francis had his fifth career triple-double with 23 points, 12 rebounds and a season-high 11 assists as the Rockets came from as many as 19 points down to make it close.

Kelvin Cato added 17 points and 10 rebounds for Houston, which has lost four straight and six of seven.

"I believe that we're close," coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "That's all we can do. Usually in games like these, it's a blowout in the fourth quarter. But this team doesn't have any quit in it and I've got to think this will help us get better in the future."

WIZARDS 94, CAVALIERS 85: Jordan scored 24 of his 40 points in the first half as Washington handed Cleveland its 11th straight loss.

Jordan went 18-for-29 and had eight rebounds in 40 minutes, with no turnovers.

The host Wizards had lost six of seven.

Wesley Person scored 19 points — 16 in the first quarter — to lead the Cavaliers, on their longest losing streak since the 1990-91 season.

KNICKS 96, SUNS 91: Allan Houston scored 29 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, and Kurt Thomas had a season-high 27 as New York rallied from a 19-point deficit in the second half.

The Knicks, who lost by 43 points Monday against Charlotte, won their second straight game for the first time since the first week of December.

Penny Hardaway scored 28 points, and Stephon Marbury added 21 for the visiting Suns.

SUPERSONICS 99, BUCKS 88: Brent Barry scored 29 points and made six 3-pointers as Seattle won at Milwaukee.

Seattle's Vin Baker, who was hurt early in the first quarter, returned to help an 18-0 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters.

Sam Cassell scored 29 points for the Bucks, who fell to 1-8 against the Pacific Division.

MAGIC 92, HEAT 87: Darrell Armstrong scored 18 points, and Tracy McGrady had 17 points and 11 rebounds as Orlando snapped Miami's six-game winning streak.

The Magic defeated the Heat at home for only the third time in the last 10 meetings. Orlando has won four of five overall.

Eddie Jones led Miami with 28 points.

MAVERICKS 104, NUGGETS 97: Dirk Nowitzki scored 26 points, including two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, and Dallas posted its sixth straight victory.

Nowitzki also had 10 rebounds, and Juwan Howard had 19 points and 13 rebounds.

Raef LaFrentz led the host Nuggets with 24 points, 18 in the first quarter.

Mavericks coach Don Nelson returned after missing the last two games to be with his wife, Joy, who underwent breast cancer surgery.

TRAIL BLAZERS 120, GRIZZLIES 82: Rasheed Wallace scored 20 points, and Derek Anderson added 19 as Portland held Memphis to 27 first-half points.

Shawn Kemp and Damon Stoudamire had 16 points and Zach Randolph had a career-high 14 as all 12 Blazers scored.

Brevin Knight had 22 points to lead Memphis, which lost its sixth straight.

The Trail Blazers' 120 points and 38-point victory margin were season bests.