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					    6F        Savannah Morning News • Saturday, February 5.2000 •


   Atlantic Division

   New

    'ii i a nor
                             W       L

                            2.-' 1 •' .-ol4 11/2
                           .25 21 .543 41/2
                            .'!     JO
                                          Pet




                                          447
                                                 G8




                                                   9
                                                                 Midwest Division
                                                                 San Antonio
                                                                 Utah
                                                                 Minnesota
                                                                Denver
                                                                                     W
                                                                                    30
                                                                                    21
                                                                                    26
                                                                                    21
                                                                                         16
                                                                                         17
                                                                                         18
                                                                                         22
                                                                                           U    Pet
                                                                                                .652
                                                                                                .614
                                                                                               .765
                                                                                                       GB



                                                                                               .488 71/2
                                                                                                        2
                                                                                                        3
                                                                                                                                     The NBA                                                                    Thursday's Games
                                                                                                                                                                                                                New York 98. Portland 88
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Houston 109, Philadelphia 106
                                                                                                                                                                                                                $an Antonio 112. Toronto 95
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dallas 106. Charlotte 96
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Saturday's Games
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Charlotte at Washington, 7 p.m.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Atlanta at Cleveland. /:30u.m.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Indiana at Orlando, 7:30 p.rn.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Toronto at Milwaukee, 8:30 o.m.
    Ho^ton                 •.'!     25   45." 61-.'             Houston             19   28     .404111/2                                                                                                       Milwaukee 102. Utah 99                         Minnesota at Denver. 9 p.m.
    New                      1 ;'   29   ..i/Gl.21/2            Dallas              18   27    .400111/2                                                                                                                                                       Dallas at LA. Clipper's. 10:30 p.m
  • Washington               15     32   .319     15            Vancouver           12   32    .273    17                                                                                                       Friday's Games
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Boston 100. New Jersey 95                     Sunday's Games
   Central Division          W L    Pet          GB             Pacific Division*    W L Pet     GB                                                                                                             Miami 99. Washington 92                       Miami at New York, 1 p.m.
   Indiana                 •JO 15 .667                          Portland            35 11 .761                                                                                                                  Portland 97, Atlanta 90                       Golden State at New Jersey. 1 p.m.
                           26' 21- 553            5             LA. Lakers          34 11 .756. 1/2                                                                                                             Indiana 104, Sacramento 94                    Sacramento at Philadelphia, 3:3Op.m.
                           24 2i'> 545 51/2                     Sacramento          28 17 .622 61/2                                                                                                             Detroit 105, Cleveland 96                     San Antonio at Utah, 3:30 p.m.
                           24 2;.' 545 51/2                     Seattle             29 18 .617 61/2                                                                                                             Minnesota 102. Houston 85                     Houston at Detroit. 7 p.m.
   Detroi.t                23 23 . 0 71/2
                                  50                            PhoeViix            26 18 . 9
                                                                                           51     8                                                                                                             Chicago at Vancouver (n)                      Portland at Boston, 7 p.m.
   C'eveiand               19 2f .413111:'2                     Golden State        11 32 .256221/2                                                                                                             Phoenix at Seattle (n)                        Seattle at Phoenix. 8 p.m.
   Atljnta                 17 27 .'386121/2                     L.A. Clippers       11 34 .244231/2                                                                                                             Utah at LA. Lakers (n)                        Dallas at Vancouver, 9 p.m,
   Chicago                   9 34 .209           20                                                                                                                                                             Denver at Golden State (n)                    Chicago at LA. Clippers, 9 p.m.




  Smith                                                                                                                                                   After... poor start.* Francis.1 now a star.
                                                                                                                                                                   ^™ • . • ..  •  .  •    •      .
  victorious                                                                                                                                               By Bart Hubbuch
                                                                                                                                                           The Dallas Morning News   .      .



  in return                                                                                                                                                     DALLAS — Before he even took his
                                                                                                                                                            first step onto an NBA court, Steve
                                                                                                                                                            Francis already was quite an unpopu-
                                                                                                                                                            lar young man.

  to                                                                                                                                                            It wasn't difficult to see why.
                                                                                                                                                                Taken No. .2 overall by Vancouver
                                                                                                                                                            last June, the speedy point guard
                                                                                                                                                            from Maryland seemed to sour just
  The Associated Press                                                                                                                                     about everyone — fans, coaches and
                                                                                                                                                            executives alike — with his draft-
     ATLANTA—Stew Smith, returning                                                                                                                          night pouting, his criticism of the city
   to .the city where he starred for five                                                                                                                   and, ultimately, the ability to engi-.
  years, scored 21 points and the Port-                                                                                                                     neer his way to Houston as part of. a
  land Trail Blazers couldn't miss in the                                                                                                                   three-team, 11-player, trade.
  final five minutes, holding off the                                                                                                                          The general consensus on Francis:
  Atlanta Hawks 97-90 Friday night.                                                                                                                        Wrto does this kid think he is? Even
     After losing in New York the previ-                                                                                                                   the Rockets themselves had to won-
  ous night, Portland jumped to a 14-                                                                                                                      der if they had acquired a locker-
  point lead in the first quarter, then                                                                                                                    room cancer along with all of those
  lookecl sluggish over the next two                                                                                                                       skills.
  periods.                                                                                                                                                     Although it's admittedly early,
     The Hawks fought back to tie the                                                                                                                      there seems little reason to wonder or
 score six times in the final quarter                                                                                                                      worry anymore. Francis is still Public
 before taking their first and only lead,                                                                                                                  Hnemy No. 1 in British Columbia, but
 78-77, on Dikembe Mutombo's hook                                                                                                                          he's quickly emerging as a leader and
 with 3:47 remaining.                                                                                                                                      a sensational player for the resurgent
     But Portland pulled out of its                                                                                                                        Rockets.
 malaise, scoring on 11 of its last 12                                                                                                                         Seemingly left for dead after a 10-
 possessions to bury Atlanta. Smith                                                                                                                       24 start marred by injuries that side-
 got loose afong the baseline and                                                                                                                         lined Charles Barkley and Hakeem
 scored a critical basket with 1:23                                                                                                                       Olajiiwon, Houston has spent the
 remaining, pushing the Blazers to an                                                                                                                     past month climbing back into the
 86,82 lead.                                                                                                                                              race for the eighth and final playoff
                                                                                                                                                          spot in the Western Conference.
 Heat 99, Wizards 92                                                                                                                                         .Francis has been by far the biggest
                                                                                                                     Jc*nBazemore/The Associated-Press    reason, averaging 23.1 points, 7.0
   MIAMI —Alonzo Mourning scored                            Hawks center Dikeinbe Mntombo, left, drives into Trail Blazers center Anydas                 rebounds and 8.8 assists in a recent
 22 points in the second half as the                        Sabonis during the first half Friday in Atlanta,                                              Id-game stretch that included the
 Miami Heat overcame a 17-point                                                                                                                          Rockets' biggest highlight of the sea-,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     David J.Prvillip/T.rie Associated Pr(
 'hird period deficit and beat the                         injured Grant Hill, won for just the                The Pacers won despite losing All-        son — an 89-83, nationally televised
  Vashington Wizards.                                      second time in its last 10 games.                Star forward Dale Davis to a broken          home \1ctory over the Los Angeles                    Rockets guard Steve Francis (3) averaged 23.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 8.8
   Jdouming paced Miami with 32                            CleVeland-played without the injured             nose. He had helped limit Chris Web-         Lakers on Super Bowl Sunday.                         assists in a recent 10-game stretch.
 points, seven rebounds and seven                          Bobby Sura, then saw Brevin Knight               ber to eight points on 4-of-13 shoot-             "Steve is the coach on the floor/" •
 blpcked shots. rjamal Mashburn                            limp off in the second quarter with              ing until he caught an inadvertent           marveled Olajuwon shortly after he                   this season has been more incredible         the crowded West is in.
 scored 22 points, 17 in the first half,                   what appeared to be an ankle injury.             elbow from Nick Anderson with .1:20          returned from missing six weeks                      than the 25-point, 17-rebound,.14-              "Steve's super-talented, but h
.arid Tim Hardaway added 17.                                                                                left in the half.                            because of hernia surgery. "He is in                assist monster that Francis turned in         also very smart," teammate M
   <•
                                                            Celtics 100, Nets 95                                                                         control."         . . . '.                           10 days ago against Golden State.            Bullard sajd.
 TSnb«rwo|ves 102, Rockets 85                                                                               MAVERICKS WAIVE LEON SMITH                       This doesn't appear"to be just a hot            League officials are. still searching to       • "He wants to play the game l
   *                   .                     -
                                          BOSTON—Kenny Anderson made                                                                                     streak for Francis, either. After a pre-            find a rookie who had ever reached            right way, which is rare. Most you
 ; ^INNEAPOLIS - Kevin Garnetfs' a short jumper to give Boston the             DALLAS — Leon Smith, the teen-                                            dictably rough initiation, the 6-3,                 the teens in every category of a triple-     players don't want to run the tea
 23- points and 18 rebounds and the . lead, then added two free throws Fri- ,age.basketball star whose emotional                                         1,93-pound dervish has been spectac-                double befqre Francis,-                      and be the general but there. H
 absence of Houston's sensational day night as the Celtics beat New Jer- and legal troubles have kept him off                                            ular for much of the past two months                    His average .numbers for the sea-        doing a fantastic job."
 rookie guard Steve Francis helped the sey and sent the Nets to their sixth the court, was waived by the Dallas                                          and only appears to be getting better.              son are just as impressive: 19 points,           Few wtfuld have imagined that 1
 Minnesota Timbenvolves rout the consecutive loss, Paul Pierce had 19 Mavericks on Friday.                                                                   Indeed, Los Angeles Clippers for-               five rebounds and s.even assists on 44       recently as last summer, when Frai
 Rockets. Gamett added nine assists, .points and Vltaiy Potapenko had 16       Smith, who signed with the Maver-                                         ward Lamar Odbm had better watch                    percent shooting. No wonder Francis          cis was widely chastised for his'sctf.
 narrowly missing his third career for the Celtics, who improved to 17-7 icks on Nov. 2, was placed on the                                               out, because the NBA might have a                   was named NBA Rookie of the Month            and petty comments on national 1
 triple double. He did, however, tie at home and snapped a two-game team's suspended list Dec. 6. He                                                     new leading candidate for Rookie of                 for December, NBA Player of the              upon hearing he had been bypass
 Christian Laettner's club record with losing streak.                        became a free agent Tuesday Without                                         the Year in Francis.                   .            Week in mid-January and selected to          by Chicago with the No. 1 pick ai
 17 defensive rebounds.                                                                                     playing a single game for the Maver-             Odom and, to a lesser extent,                   the Schick Rookie Game and the               taken by the struggling Grizzlies. ,
                                                           Pacers 104, Kings 94                             icks. He leaves the team with the            Chicago's Elton Brand might have the                NBA.com Slam Dunk competition at                Scouts questioned just how goi
 Pistons 105, Cavaliers 96                                                                                  assurance he'll receive the $1.45 mil-       numbers; but no team with a.rookie                  next weekend's All-Star festivities in       Francis could be, considering i
                                                              INDIANAPOLIS - Mark Jackson                   lion guaranteed to him as a first-           playing the leading role — especially               Oakland, Calif;                              appeared to be a head case and h
   AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Lindsey                           had a triple-double and cold-shoot-              round draft pick. If another team            at point guard, arguably the toughest                   It's also little wonder that the Rock-   played just one season of major c<
 Hj&nter had 26 points and 10 assists                      ing Reggie Miller hit two key jumpers            takes a chance on the 19-year-old for-       position to learn in the league — is                ets' once-sorry fortunes suddenly            lege basketball at Maryland.
 tejjlead the Detroit Pistons to a victo-                  as the Indiana Pacers defeated Sacra-            ward, they must fulfill the three-year       playing better than Houston at the                  don't seem so discouraging. Thanks              Well, .there's no need to questij
 rjpover the Cleveland Cavaliers.                          mento to tie their franchise record of           deal Smith signed. If not, the Maver-        moment.                                             to Francis, talk of rebuilding is out;       that now. Francis has silenced u
 ".^Detroit, still playing without the                     17 straight home wins, .                         icks will pay it out over. 10 years,             Certainly, no triple-double posted              talk of potential playoff matchups in        critics — at least of his game.    >
'•'*•"" '      ' •--' ' ' "         "     "


                                                                                                                                                                       HOCKEY
         BOATER'S PARADISE, INC,
        —- presents —                                      Us, vs. Them game format rekindles interest in the NHLAll-Star Game
        PRE SEASON                                         By Alan Robinson                                 the hometown Toronto Maple Leafs America against the World.                                      fans to a sport with a relatively small        teams doing well. It probably is l
                                                                                                                                                                                                            but enormously loyal fan base. .
  BOAT
                                                           The Associated Press'                            gets free on a breakaway, shifts the       Weary of too many uninteresting,                                                                     players."
                                                                                                            puck from his forehand to his back-     !()-(> shootouts that mocked what is                        But even Scotty Bowman, who will               Like any All-Star game in any spt
                                                             TORONTO — Twenty seconds to                    hand and ... is stopped cold by goal- supposed to be hockey's mtdseason                         set what probably is an unbreakable            it is the players' show, and the playi
                                                           play, the score tied in an up-tempo              tender and Toronto teammate Curtis • showcase, the NHL unveiled Its new                          record by coaching an Ail-Star game           are the big reason why the 18,3
                                                           but defensively deficient NHL All-               Joseph.                                Us vs. Them — actually, U.S. and                         in a fifth decade, admits it will be dif-      tickets were so difficult to obta
                                                           Star game. Suddenly, Mats Sundin of                Teammate against teammate? Canada vs. Them — format in 1998.                                  ferent seeing Steve Yzerman and                 Oven if some big stars are inissi
    Mday, Saturday Sunday                                                                                   Friend against friend? Qjuldn'l hap-       Hie switch was made not only to                      Nickjas Udstrom of. his Detroit Red            because "of injuries —r Domii
        Feb. 4th, 5th, 0 6th                                                                                pen?                                   appeal to the jingoistic tendencies bf                   Wings on opposing sides.                       Hasek, Pierre Tu'rgeon. 1'etcr I'orsbt
             9 am-6pm                                                                                         Yes it can, and yes it has, now that players and fans alike, but to aban-                        Anaheim scoring stars Paul Kariya           — there were plenty more to ta
                                                                                                            the NHL All-Star game, to be played don the Hast vs. West format that had                       and Teemu Selanne also will be split           their place,
         Boater's World                                                                                     Sunday in a long since sold-out Air Increasingly generated games that                           up. But, for a change, brothers Pavel              NHL scoring loader Jaiomir )a
         Marine Supply                                                                                      Canada Centre, matches North more resembled home-rim derbies                                    Bure of Florida and Valeri Bure of Cal-        the first player to receive more thai
          Savannah Crossing                                                                                                                        than actual athletic contests.                           gary will find themselves teammates,           million votes in the fan ballotii
        on Abertorn across from                                                                                                                       Two games and two North Ameri-                        if only for a day.                             almost skipped the1 game to ri
          Armstrong Atlantic
                University.
                                                                  352-1271                                                                         can victories later, the jury remains
                                                                                                                                                   out on whether the same formula
                                                                                                                                                                                                               "It is going to feel kind of strange,
                                                                                                                                                                                                            you've got some of your own players
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           thumb and rib muscle injuries,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But, aware of how many fans wa
                                                           Since I93<^ OEICO has been saving                                                       that generates big ratings for the                       on the other team," Bowman said.               to see hockeyfc greatest one-on-o
        -BUY A BOAT ftGFT                                  sensible cinvers good money on their                                                    Olympics — in essence, America '                         "We'll find out If it's the coaching or        player for even a shift or two, Jt
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