Playing in an NBA game for the first time since a kidney transplant was like riding a bike for Alonzo Mourning. Once he was on the court, the veteran center looked like he had never left.
In a remarkable 19-minute performance, Mourning had 12 points and five rebounds in leading the host New Jersey Nets in a 96-94 preseason victory over the Philadelphia 76ers last night.
"I have been playing this game for over 20 years," a matter-of-fact Mourning said at his locker after the game. "It's just like riding a bike, you never forget." . . .
Houston Rockets center Yao Ming was held out of the team's final preseason game with visiting Denver due to a hyperextended left elbow. Yao injured the elbow early against San Antonio on Wednesday and an MRI exam revealed a "partial tear" of the ligament, according to team officials.
* CYCLING: The 2005 Tour de France may give other riders their best chance to test Lance Armstrong, if he goes for a seventh straight title. The mountaintop finishes are less intense and the time trials shorter, possibly cutting into Armstrong's strengths.
Organizers unveiled the 2005 Tour route, which runs from July 2-24, passes through Germany and features 21 stages over 2,222 miles.
Replacing the customary opening day prologue is an 11.8-mile time trial from Fromentiere to Noirmoutier-en-L'Ile. Armstrong usually dominates clock races, and the short distance of the opening stage seems designed to minimize the gaps the Texan can open.
* NASCAR: The four Hendrick family members killed in a plane crash were remembered in Charlotte as kind, generous people who were as passionate about giving as they were about racing.
Rick Hendrick, founder of the prestigious Hendrick Motorsports company that fields five NASCAR teams, lost his brother, son, and two nieces when a company plane crashed Sunday en route to a race in Martinsville, Va., killing all 10 people on board.
The 2,000 seats in the sanctuary at Central Church of God were filled an hour before the ceremony began, sending another 2,000 mourners into three overflow rooms to watch the service on closed circuit television.
Spread out among the four rooms were Gov. Mike Easley, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, NASCAR chairman Brian France and scores of drivers, crew chiefs, Hendrick employees and other members of the racing community.
* COURTS: The former Baylor basketball player charged in Waco, Tex., with murdering a teammate was ruled incompetent to stand trial. Carlton Dotson, 22, was sent by District Judge George Allen to a state mental hospital for up to four months, after which his competence will be evaluated again. . . .
Texas Rangers reliever Frank Francisco will face a misdemeanor assault charge rather than a felony for breaking a woman's nose when he threw a chair into the stands during a game.
"He has no record. He threw a plastic chair. It's not a gun. It's not a knife," Alameda County Senior Deputy District Attorney Norbert Chu said in explaining his decision.
* TENNIS: Andre Agassi had little trouble reaching the Stockholm Open quarterfinals, beating Jonas Bjorkman, 6-3, 6-4. Agassi's next opponent is eighth-seeded Fernando Verdasco, a 6-4, 6-2 winner over Raemon Sluiter. . .
Top-seeded Amelie Mauresmo reached the quarterfinals of the Generali Ladies Open in Linz, Austria, by beating Polish teenager Marta Domachovska, 6-4, 6-0. . . .
Magnus Norman retired because of hip and knee injuries after a career in which he reached No. 2 in the rankings and was the 2000 French Open runner-up.
-- From News Services