In National Basketball Association action, two costly turnovers by Chinese rookie sensation Yao Ming spoiled his debut at New York's historic Madison Square Garden Wednesday night.
Yao scored 24 points, but had the ball stolen from him twice at the end of the game as the visiting Houston Rockets lost to the New York Knicks 102-95.
Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant's recent streak of scoring more than 40 points came to an end. The superstar shooting guard still managed 32 points to help the Los Angeles Lakers defeat their cross-town rivals, the Clippers, 109-98. Bryant had scored at least 40 points in nine straight games, equaling a feat Michael Jordan managed during the 1986-87 season.
The 40-year-old Jordan scored 25 points Tuesday to lead the visiting Washington Wizards over the slumping Indiana Pacers 83-78.
In San Antonio, Virgin Islands native Tim Duncan had 17 points to lead the hometown Spurs over the Miami Heat 84-69. San Antonio has won 11 times in its last 12 games.
Elsewhere, the host Orlando Magic beat the league-leading Dallas Mavericks 98-93, while the Cleveland Cavaliers snapped a six-game losing streak by defeating the New Jersey Nets 93-90.
The Sacramento Kings beat the Detroit Pistons 81-75, and the Portland Trail Blazers squeaked out a win over the Atlanta Hawks 89-86.