BREAK UP THE NETS:
A three-game winning streak isn't a resurgence for most NBA teams -- except for the New Jersey Nets.
The NBA's worst team a year ago matched its longest winning streak in two seasons with Tuesday's 98-92 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
It marked the first time New Jersey had won three straight since last January. The Nets' NBA-record 34-game road losing streak ended last week.
"It's too early to get excited," Nets center Sam Bowie said. "I feel we're beginning to come together as a unit. We're beginning to feel that when we lace up our sneakers we have a chance to go out and win no matter who we play."
Maybe. But last night the Nets returned to their former ways, losing to the Heat, 97-79, in Miami.
STARS, ITALIAN STYLE:
Michael Cooper, Darryl Dawkins and Darren Daye are among 20 former NBA players selected for Saturday's Italian League all-star game in Rome.
A sellout crowd of 15,000 is expected at Palaeur Arena. Five years ago, the game drew 3,500.
Cooper, who joined Il Messaggero Roma this season after 11 years with the Lakers, was the leading vote-getter for the south squad in balloting by fans. He is averaging 17 points and seven rebounds per game for Il Messaggero.
The status of two of the league's most popular players, Micheal Ray Richardson and Vinny Del Negro, is uncertain.
Del Negro, who led all vote-getters, has an ankle injury but hopes to play. He is averaging 30 points per game for Benetto Treviso.
Richardson received a five-game suspension Tuesday for starting a brawl last Sunday and, although the ban does not include the all-star game, league officials said it might be proper to keep him out of the contest.
The Kings put G Steve Colter on the injured list and signed G Leon Wood. Both are former Bullets.