R. Allen helps Celts top Rockets

The Baltimore Sun

The Boston Celtics' Big 3 outplayed the Houston Rockets' trio of stars last night.

Ray Allen scored 29 points, Kevin Garnett added 14 points and 11 rebounds, and the Celtics shut down Ron Artest and Yao Ming in a 103-99 victory over the host Rockets.

Tracy McGrady scored 26 points for Houston.

Mavericks 98, Spurs 81: : Dirk Nowitzki scored 30 points, Jason Terry added 29 in his first start of the season and Dallas' victory gave host San Antonio its first 0-3 record in 35 years. The Mavericks also received 14 points from Josh Howard. Dallas shot 53 percent from the field compared with 42 percent for San Antonio. The Spurs are off to their worst start since opening the 1973-74 American Basketball Association season 0-4.

Suns 114, Nets 86: : Raja Bell hit all six of his three-point attempts and scored 22 points, and visiting Phoenix shot 63 percent from the field in beating New Jersey. Steve Nash added 12 points and 11 assists, Shaquille O'Neal had 18 points and six rebounds, and Amare Stoudemire scored 14 points as the Suns won for the third time in four games. Vince Carter had 19 points for the Nets, who lost their second straight game.

Off the court

Rockets: : Guard Steve Francis (Maryland) made a political fashion statement before the team's loss to the Celtics. Francis, who has been out since last season with a knee injury, arrived at the arena wearing a red velvet sports jacket with "Barack Obama" spelled on the back in sequins. "Today is a transitional day in my career and everybody else's career," he said before the game. Francis said he had the jacket made by a tailor in New York. He would not divulge how much it cost but said he got it last week and was wearing it for the first time.

Nuggets-Pistons: : Chauncey Billups, acquired by Denver in the deal that sent Allen Iverson to Detroit, will likely play in his first game for the Nuggets on Friday night when they host Dallas. The Nuggets said Billups didn't have enough time to get to the Bay Area to play against Golden State tonight. If Billups completes a physical and paperwork in time, Iverson will play tonight in Toronto.

Et cetera:: Suns swingman Alando Tucker had arthroscopic knee surgery and is expected to be sidelined about four weeks. Tucker, in his second season, has not been part of new coach Terry Porter's regular rotation. ... Spurs forward Fabricio Oberto played for the first time this season, facing the Mavericks after missing the first two games with an irregular heartbeat. ... The Thunder signed 7-foot center Steven Hill to fill out the roster. Hill played in three preseason games for Portland and was among the Trail Blazers' final cuts.

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