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Malone Gets Win In Cavaliers' Debut

Associated Press
Wednesday, March 23, 2005; Page D08

Interim coach Brendan Malone refused to take credit for this one.

A day after Paul Silas was fired, Malone led a Cleveland Cavaliers team in turmoil to a much-needed 91-76 win over the visiting Detroit Pistons last night, ending a three-game losing streak.


The Nets' Vince Carter looks for room to score against the Pacers' James Jones. Carter scored 33 points, surpassing 30 for the 4th time in 5 games. (Bill Kostroun -- AP)

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"The players did it," Malone said. "It wasn't me."

LeBron James scored 29 points and finally got some help from the Cavaliers' reserves.

Malone gave more playing time to Anderson Varejao and other reserves and it paid off. Varejao scored 11 points and played tough defense with two blocks.

The Cavaliers scored 21 points off 15 turnovers and limited Detroit to just 29 points in the second half.

"We played great tonight," Malone said. "Our defensive intensity was great against one of the best teams in the NBA."

Malone had his tie loosened from the opening tip and was often on his feet, fervently encouraging his players.

"I'm happy for Coach," James said. "The key was playing with a lot of energy and defensive focus. A lot has happened in the past couple days, but we've got to put it all behind us."

ROCKETS 84, HEAT 82: Tracy McGrady scored 26 points and host Houston snapped Miami's 12-game winning streak.

David Wesley scored 14 points, Yao Ming and seldom-used forward Clarence Weatherspoon added 12 and aging center Dikembe Mutombo gave the Rockets a lift off the bench to keep the NBA's top-scoring twosome of Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade in check.

McGrady, who scored a total of 37 points and shot just 27 percent in the previous two games, struggled again to find his shot, going 8 of 27, but made all the clutch plays down the stretch.

SUNS 105, HAWKS 94: Amare Stoudemire had 40 points and 13 rebounds to help visiting Phoenix become the ninth NBA team to win 50 games following a 50-loss season.

With Stoudemire controlling the lane and Steve Nash handing out 11 assists, the Suns improved the league's best road record to 27-7 with an eighth straight victory outside Phoenix. They have won three of four overall.


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