In National Basketball Association action, the Dallas Mavericks notched a win Saturday, beating the visiting Charlotte Hornets 104-93 just hours after head coach Don Nelson announced his resignation after eight years with the team.
Dallas star forward Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs with 33 points in their first victory under new head coach Avery Johnson, who was Nelson's assistant. Johnson, who celebrates his 40th birthday Friday, is expected to sign a new contract early this week. Dallas has won just six of its last 11 games, but still owns the fifth best record in the NBA - 43 wins against 22 losses.
The 64-year-old Nelson will remain as the Mavericks' general manager. Although he never won an NBA championship, he has the second-most wins in league history, with 1,090 victories over his 27 year career.
In other games Saturday, Miami stretched its home winning streak to 15 games after a 97-82 thumping of the visiting New York Knicks. Miami's overall winning streak increased to 12 straight. All-Star center Shaquille O'Neal netted 33 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, and guard Dwayne Wade added 30 points to lead the East-leading Heat to their first-ever four-game season sweep of New York. Miami was the first team this season to secure a post-season berth.
NBA leading scorer Allen Iverson of Philadelphia netted 31 points despite a chipped bone in his thumb, but it was not enough to keep his 76ers from falling 94-88 to the Chicago Bulls. Othella Harrington led the Bulls with a season-high 24 points to help Chicago snap a four-game losing streak.
Other NBA winners Saturday were the Wizards, Celtics, Magic and Kings.
The Washington Wizards edged the Utah Jazz 96-95, the Boston Celtics topped the New Orleans Hornets 113-100, and the Orlando Magic snapped a seven game losing streak with a 97-92 triumph over the Portland Trail Blazers. Also, the Sacramento Kings completed a four-game season sweep of the Los Angeles Clippers for the second straight year, taking a 111-107 overtime decision.
Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.