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April-08-2003,
NBA NOTEBOOK...By "Easy" Al Monte

LOOKING AHEAD-

TUESDAY

Dallas at L.A. Lakers (10:30 p.m. ET). The league-leading Mavericks face the three-time defending NBA champions. The Mavericks have beaten the Los Angeles Lakers just five times in the last 12 years. Dallas has dropped 24 in a row on the road in this series, dating to Dec. 12, 1990. Also since that victory, the Mavs have gone just 5-43 overall against the Lakers.

LOOKING BACK-

FRIDAY

Toronto coach Lenny Wilkens set the NBA record for most career losses when the Raptors lost to the Spurs 124-98. Wilkens dropped his 1,107th game, surpassing Bill Fitch`s record. Wilkens, in his 30th year as an NBA coach, was already the winningest coach in league history with 1,292 victories.

SATURDAY

Cleveland, with the NBA`s worst record, beat New Orleans 79-76 to prevent the Cavaliers from finishing with the worst record in franchise history. It was the 15th win of the season for Cleveland, which has six games remaining. The Cavaliers went 15-67 in their inaugural season of 1970-71 and in 1981-82. Dallas retained its lead in the Western Conference with a 108-90 victory over Orlando. The Mavericks (57-19) hold a one-game advantage over San Antonio in the race for the top record in the conference and the Midwest Division.

Memphis lost 97-91 in Atlanta to extend its losing streak to seven games. The Grizzlies, who also lost seven straight from Jan. 23-Feb. 5, had a season-worst 13-game skid to start the season.

SUNDAY

New Jersey has won six of seven following a 96-87 victory over Toronto. Combined with Philadelphia`s 97-81 loss to Sacramento, the Nets took a 2 1/2-game lead in the Atlantic Division.

San Antonio extended the league`s longest current winning streak to nine, beating Detroit 89-83, the Pistons` season-worst third straight home loss.

Sacramento is 71-51 on the road the last three seasons after beating Philadelphia 97-81, one of only four teams to have a winning record away from home over that span. The Kings have won four straight and 10 of 11, and have beaten Philadelphia five straight times.

MONDAY

Detroit forward Ben Wallace, the NBA leader in rebounding and blocked shots, will miss two weeks after spraining the medial collateral ligament in his knee. He will miss the rest of the regular season and is questionable for the start of the playoffs for the Pistons.

DID YOU KNOW? San Antonio`s 38-7 record in 2003 is the best in the league and the Spurs have won 17 of 18 road games.

Seattle has won five of six and nine of 12 to reach .500 for the first time since Jan. 3.

Golden State (37-40) has won 16 more games than last season and will finish with its highest victory total since winning 50 in 1993-94.

The Los Angeles Lakers, who started 11-19, have gone 35-12 since.

The Los Angeles Clippers are 5-13 since coach Dennis Johnson took over the team following the firing of Alvin Gentry.

The Miami Heat have lost eight of nine and are 6-23 since the All-Star break. They are averaging the second-fewest points in the NBA with 85.3 per game, and have scored 100 points or more in just nine of their 78 contests.

At 27-50, Chicago will finish with a losing record for the fifth straight season and miss the playoffs again. The Bulls have won three road games all season.

The Portland Blazers are 6-7 since Scottie Pippen went on the disabled list with a knee injury.



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