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NBA ROUNDUP

Suns Almost Get Burned Before Stopping the Jazz

April 22, 1999| From Associated Press

Building big leads hasn't been all that difficult for the Phoenix Suns. Holding them has been another matter.

One night after blowing an 18-point lead in a loss to Dallas, the Suns squandered a 21-point lead against the Utah Jazz before staging a late rally to earn a 91-82 victory Wednesday night at Phoenix.

It came at a good time for the Suns as they pulled into a tie for the sixth playoff spot in the Western Conference with Minnesota.

The Jazz led, 65-64, at the end of the third quarter.

"I have not figured this team out yet," Sun Coach Danny Ainge said. "I do not know what is going on."

The one constant for the Suns has been Jason Kidd, who flirted with his sixth triple-double of the season, notching 21 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds.

Karl Malone had 28 points and 13 rebounds for league-leading Utah, which suffered its second straight loss, matching its longest losing streak of the season.

Miami 93, Cleveland 80--Jamal Mashburn scored 19 points and Dan Majerle made four of five three-pointers at Miami to lead the Heat to their second victory in three nights over the Cavaliers while gaining a share of first place in the Atlantic Division and the best overall conference record.

Charlotte 88, Detroit 85--Elden Campbell scored a season-high 32 points at Charlotte, N.C., and the Hornets extended their playoff push with their ninth consecutive victory.

Sacramento 103, Golden State 94--Chris Webber scored 25 points and Vlade Divac had 20 at Sacramento as the Kings stayed tied with Seattle for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.

Seattle 118, Minnesota 105--Gary Payton scored 27 points and Hersey Hawkins added a season-high 24 as the SuperSonics won at Seattle.

Dallas 109, Houston 95--Michael Finley had 27 points and 11 assists as the visiting Mavericks kept the Rockets from clinching a playoff spot while ending an 11-game Mavericks' losing streak to Houston.

Toronto 107, Washington 91--Doug Christie scored a season-high 28 points and Dee Brown made all six of his three-point shots at Washington in the fourth quarter as the Raptors returned to the .500 mark and stayed in the playoff chase.

Indiana 108, Milwaukee 100--Reserve Jalen Rose scored 25 points, including four free throws in the final 20 seconds of overtime, as the Pacers beat the visiting Bucks for the seventh straight time.

New Jersey 99, Chicago 87--Keith Van Horn scored 28 points and the Nets shot 23 for 23 at the foul line to avoid tying the Bulls for the worst record in the Eastern Conference with a victory at East Rutherford, N.J.

Philadelphia 80, Boston 78--Allen Iverson had 25 points and Theo Ratliff scored the winning points on a layup with seven seconds left at Boston as the 76ers earned their fourth victory in five games.

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