Originally created 04/09/00

Blazers defeat Grizzlies; Mavericks beat Clippers



PORTLAND, Ore. -- Steve Smith scored 27 points and the Portland Trail Blazers held the Vancouver Grizzlies to just one field goal in the third quarter to rally for a 98-85 victory Saturday.

Rasheed Wallace added 21 points and Brian Grant had 20 for Portland, which recovered from an 89-87 loss in Vancouver on Thursday night.

Michael Dickerson scored 20 and Shareef Abdur-Rahim added 17 for Vancouver, which was 9-of-29 from the field in the second half after shooting 61 percent in the first to take a 54-47 lead.

The Grizzlies scored just nine points in the third quarter. Their only basket came on a Dickerson's layup with 7:26 left. They also missed five free throws.

MAVERICKS 98, CLIPPERS 96:

In Dallas, Michael Finley scored 19 points, including five free throws in the final minute, as the Mavericks held off a late charge to beat the Clippers.

Erick Strickland also had 19 points for Dallas, which won its fourth in a row and sixth of its last seven. Dirk Nowitzki added 18 points, Greg Buckner had 15 and Steve Nash 13 for Dallas.

Tyrone Nesby's season-high 29 points and Maurice Taylor's 24 points and 15 rebounds paced the Clippers, who lost their 12th straight.

LAKERS:

Shaquille O'Neal, a virtual lock for his first Most Valuable Player award, sat out Saturday night's nationally televised game against the San Antonio Spurs because of a sprained left ankle.

O'Neal, who leads the NBA in scoring (29.5) and field goal percentage (.574) and is second in rebounding (13.6), sprained his ankle in the first half of Wednesday's 111-104 victory at Golden State.

O'Neal continued to play despite the injury, and had 49 points and 13 rebounds as the Lakers recorded their 11th straight win.

The Lakers have already clinched the NBA's best record and homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs, so the game meant little to them.

In addition to their 11-game winning streak, the Lakers entered the game having won 14 straight home games and 30 of 31 overall since a 105-81 loss at San Antonio on Dec. 1.

KNICKS:

New York signed swingman Brandon Williams to a 10-day contract, filling out their roster two days after John Wallace was placed on the injured list.

Williams, a 6-foot-6 guard-forward, played with LaCrosse of the CBA this season and averaged 19.8 points. He had brief stints in the NBA with Golden State in 1998 and San Antonio in 1999.

Wallace, who has a sprained ankle, will be eligible to come off the injured list in time for Friday's game at Toronto.

The Knicks, trailing the Heat by two games in the Atlantic Division, play at Miami today.

BULLS:

Chicago activated B.J. Armstrong and placed Randy Brown on the injured list because of back spasms.

Armstrong had missed six games with tendinitis in his left knee. He's missed 54 games this season with various injuries, averaging 7.9 points in 20 games.

Brown has started 55 games and averaged 6.5 points.

HEAT:

Anthony Carter of the Miami Heat was fined $10,000 by the NBA for a flagrant foul against Elliot Perry of the New Jersey Nets. Carter committed the foul with 2:22 left in the fourth quarter of the Heat's 103-85 victory Friday night which eliminated the Nets from playoff contention.