Sports

Mason plays hero as San Antonio tops Phoenix

Roger Mason didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter until there were 4.3 seconds left. Then he came in and made the biggest shot of the game.

Mason’s 3-pointer from the corner at the buzzer Thursday gave the San Antonio Spurs a 91-90 victory over the Phoenix Suns.

“As a shooter, you’re always prepared,” Mason said. “Coach put me in in that situation, and I knew if I had it, I was going to shoot it.”

The Suns had taken the lead on Grant Hill’s layup on an out-of-bounds play with 4.3 seconds to go.

After a timeout, Tony Parker drove toward the basket for San Antonio and threw to Mason, who was wide open because defender Jason Richardson had sagged toward the basket to help defend Parker.

“As I beat Grant Hill, Jason Richardson came in,” Parker said. “Roger was wide open, and that’s his shot. He’s been knocking them down all season, so I trusted him.”

Parker scored 27 and Tim Duncan had 25 points and 17 rebounds as the Spurs won their fourth straight.

Shaquille O’Neal was 9 of 16 at the foul line. He became the only player other than Wilt Chamberlain to miss 5,000 career free throws.

Steve Nash had 13 points. His eight assists made him the 13th NBA player to reach 7,000 for his career.

•Magic steal show over Hornets: Hedo Turkoglu scored 20 points to lead the Orlando Magic to an 88-68 win over the visiting New Orleans Hornets in a matchup of division leaders.

David West had 13 points for New Orleans. Chris Paul and Devin Brown each added 12.

Paul, the NBA steals leader (3.7 average), snapped his league-record string of 108 games with at least one.

Dwight Howard had 12 points and 15 rebounds in Southeast-leading Orlando’s sixth-straight win. Rashard Lewis added 18 points and Jameer Nelson 14.

The Magic led by as many as 31 points early in the third quarter. The Hornets did not get closer than 19 points the rest of the game.

•Cavaliers storm back over Wizards: Being home for the holidays was almost a downer for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Down by eight to woeful Washington, the Cavaliers scored 11 straight points in the final 1:33 to preserve their perfect record at home with a 93-89 victory.

Mo Williams scored 24 points, and LeBron James and Delonte West had 18 apiece for the Cavs, who at 15-0 are the NBA’s lone unbeaten team at home.

Cleveland trailed 89-82 before storming back with three free throws by James, a 3-pointer by Williams and five more foul shots in the last 26 seconds.

Antawn Jamison scored 28 points, and Mike James had 26 for the Wizards, who dropped their eighth straight.

Blazers’ Christmas streak ends: Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 of his 30 points in the first half, and Jason Terry had 19 to help the surging Dallas Mavericks beat the Portland Trail Blazers 102-94 at Portland. Nowitzki was 12 of 18 from the field and scored on power moves and jumpers despite playing the second half in foul trouble. Josh Howard added 15 points for Dallas, 15-4 in its last 19 games after opening 2-7. Portland’s Brandon Roy scored 22 points, but went scoreless in the fourth quarter. The Trail Blazers had won 13 straight Christmas games.

Football

Favre’s future pending

Playing as large a role as anything in whether Brett Favre returns to the Jets next season will be the 39-year-old’s physical condition. He strongly hinted Wednesday that it’s not the best right now.

During a news conference dominated by questions about his intentions for next season, Favre was noncommittal about 2009 but did disclose that his right shoulder might be less than healthy. That has been speculated for much of the season, in which Favre has struggled at times throwing the deep ball.

“During the course of the year, there were numerous times where I had been asked about my shoulder,” Favre said. “It had been hit a couple times. I don’t know … I mean, just knowing my body, there may be something.”

Each player undergoes an end-of-season physical.

“I think (the examination) will reveal one way or another if there is something wrong,” Favre said. “I don’t want to make a big deal of it. I don’t want to make excuses because I feel like I can make every throw.”

Coach Eric Mangini responded with an unambiguous “yeah” when asked Wednesday about whether he wants Favre to return. Favre said he isn’t planning to reproduce the theater of last offseason, a drama that didn’t end until his trade from the Packers to the Jets Aug. 6.

“I don’t want to go through what happened last year, for me and for everyone else,” Favre said. “And physically, that has something to do with it as well. I’ve played every game since 1992 … That’s not to say that some things don’t bother me, but that will play a part in this decision as well.”



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