Mario Elie and Avery Johnson always get a charge out of beating their former team.
Johnson scored 10 of his 14 points in a crucial third quarter, and Elie burned his former teammates with two crucial three-pointers as the San Antonio Spurs held off the Rockets, 95-85, last night in Houston. "I don't get many shots, but when I get open shots, I've got to knock them down," Elie said.
Elie's three-point basket with 7 minutes 13 seconds to play gave the Spurs an 81-77 lead after the Rockets (0-3) got within one. With 1:42 to go and the Rockets trailing by five, Elie sank another three-pointer.
Terry Porter came off the bench to lead the Spurs (3-0) with 18 points. Elie finished with 15. Tim Duncan had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
"My game is pretty simple," Porter said. "When Avery needs a rest, that's when I'm going to get minutes. Right now, my shot is going real good."
"You have to remain positive and this is a test for us," Houston's Charles Barkley said. "You can die or pass out but you can't quit."
* CELTICS 103, HORNETS 100: Kenny Anderson made four free throws in the final minute, and Adrian Griffin had a steal in the closing seconds as host Boston defeated Charlotte despite blowing a 20-point second-half lead. Anderson had 24 points and Tony Battie scored 18 for Boston, which is 3-0 for the first time since 1990-91.
* RAPTORS 112, NETS 92: Vince Carter scored 26 points and Kevin Willis added 20 as visiting Toronto handed New Jersey its third straight loss. "I've told the players to be disappointed but not to get despondent," Nets Coach Don Casey said. "We still have 79 [games] to go."
* HEAT 105, BULLS 87: Voshon Lenard scored 22 points, Jamal Mashburn added 21, and Alonzo Mourning had 15 points and six blocked shots. "I remember coming here and getting our butts kicked," Mourning said of the days when Michael Jordan ruled United Center. "Times change. Players change. Teams change."
"They are an NBA team," said Miami's Tim Hardaway. "But they really don't know what they are doing yet."
* KINGS 100, TIMBERWOLVES 95: In Tokyo, Nick Anderson hit five of seven three-pointers to lead Sacramento to a season-opening victory. Anderson had 17 points and Chris Webber had 15 points and 15 rebounds. Kevin Garnett led the Timberwolves with 34 points and 17 rebounds. The best seats in the Tokyo Dome went for 40,000 yen, or about $400. The game drew a sellout of 32,623.
* TRAIL BLAZERS 95, NUGGETS 83: Steve Smith scored 22 points and Scottie Pippen had 18 to lead host Portland to its third straight win.
* CAVALIERS 104, MAGIC 99: Brevin Knight and Andre Miller each had 18 points as visiting Cleveland held Orlando scoreless from the field for nearly six minutes down the stretch.
* KNICKS 103, PISTONS 91: Allan Houston scored 29 points as visiting New York remained undefeated. It was the third straight win for the Knicks; the Pistons fell to 0-3.
* CLIPPERS 91, 76ERS 81: Derek Anderson scored 19 points and host Los Angeles set a franchise record with 19 blocked shots.
CAPTION: Rockets' Hakeem Olajuwon (13 points) defends Spurs' Tim Duncan (14 points, 10 rebounds).