Shaquille O’Neal and all the other big names stayed put on trade deadline day, with owners perhaps scared of making moves that added salary in an uncertain economy.
The Cleveland Cavaliers were among the suitors that reportedly reached out to Phoenix to inquire about O’Neal, but they couldn’t close a deal for him or any other big man they sought to battle defending NBA champion Boston.
Amare Stoudemire and Vince Carter headlined the stars who had space on the rumor mill in recent weeks but went nowhere, with teams having to balance a player’s impact on the court with his effect on the wallet.
The only top contender to make an upgrade was Orlando, which landed Rafer Alston from Houston in a three-team deal that also included Memphis.
•Ankle stops Ginobili: Manu Ginobili started the season dealing with an injury to his left ankle. Now the San Antonio Spurs super-sub is sidelined because of the other one.
Coach Gregg Popovich said Ginobili is expected to be sidelined for 2-3 weeks.
•Pacers’ Granger sidelined: Indiana Pacers All-Star Danny Granger will miss up to three weeks with a partial tendon tear in the sole of his right foot, the team said.
•Magic’s Nelson out for season: The Orlando Magic say All-Star point guard Jameer Nelson will miss the rest of the season after having shoulder surgery.
•Spurs beat Pistons: Tim Duncan had 18 points and 18 rebounds and Tony Parker added 19 points and 11 assists and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Detroit Pistons 83-79 at Auburn Hills, Mich.
•Jazz rally to beat Celtics: Deron Williams had 18 points and 10 assists and the Utah Jazz rallied to beat the Boston Celtics 90-85 at Salt Lake City.
The Celtics were playing for the first time in a week and lost All-Star forward Kevin Garnett late in the second quarter with a strained right knee. Boston led by 11 in the third quarter but couldn’t hold off the Jazz at the end.
Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 20 points.
Charlotte stuns Xavier
Ian Andersen scored 16 points, Lamont Mack scored all 12 of his points in the final 8 minutes and Charlotte stunned No. 16 Xavier 65-60 at Charlotte, N.C.
An’Juan Wilderness iced it by going 3 for 4 from the foul line in the final 11 seconds before the Charlotte students stormed the floor in the 49ers’ biggest win in a down season.
•Duke returns to form: Gerald Henderson scored 19 points and Duke’s starters scored all but four of its point as the ninth-ranked Blue Devils snapped a two-game losing streak with a 76-69 victory over St. John’s at New York.
•Kentucky upsets Lady Vols: Eleia Roddy and Amani Franklin scored 18 points each as Kentucky beat No. 13 Tennessee 66-56 at Lexington, Ky., handing the struggling defending champion Lady Vols their first defeat at Memorial Coliseum in 23 years.
•Vandy holds off Auburn: Merideth Marsh hit two free throws with 11 seconds left, and No. 18 Vanderbilt held off third-ranked Auburn 73-70 at Nashville, Tenn., and tied the Tigers atop the Southeastern Conference with two games left in the regular season.
Mickelson comes to life
Phil Mickelson took a step toward shaking off his West Coast doldrums with his best round at Riviera in Los Angeles:an 8-under-par 63 and a one-shot lead at the Northern Trust Open, a round Mickelson desperately needed after one of the worst starts to his career.
Cavendish wins stage
Mark Cavendish won a stage for the second straight day and two-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer kept his race lead for the fourth straight day after the fifth stage of the Tour of California.
Cavendish completed the 134.3-mile road race – the longest stage in the event – from Visalia to Paso Robles in 5 hours, 7 minutes and 28 seconds. He beat Tom Boonen for the second straight day.
Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, who began the day in fourth place, finished 19th in the main field. Armstrong remained 30 seconds behind Leipheimer.
NHL will return to Europe
The Detroit Red Wings will open the 2009-10 regular season against the St. Louis Blues with a two-game series in Stockholm, Sweden, while the Chicago Blackhawks play two games against the Florida Panthers in Helsinki, Finland.
The games are scheduled for Oct. 2-3, organizers said.
•Hitchcock gets 500th win: Rick Nash capped a big night with the shootout winner to give Columbus a 4-3 win over the Maple Leafs at Toronto, Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock’s 500th career victory.
•Bylsma gets first win: Sergei Gonchar’s first goal gave Dan Bylsma his first win as an NHL coach as the Penguins beat slumping Montreal 5-4 at Pittsburgh.
Glavine stays with Braves
Tom Glavine has returned to the Atlanta Braves for one more season, reaching a preliminary agreement on a $1 million, one-year contract.
The deal is likely to be announced today, a person familiar with the negotiations said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the Braves had not yet confirmed it. It will contain $3.5 million in bonuses based on roster time.
•Rockies’ lefty shelved: Colorado Rockies left-hander Jeff Francis will have exploratory surgery on his pitching shoulder next week and expects to miss the 2009 season. Francis played a role in the Rockies’ run to the World Series in 2007.
Israeli will play in Dubai
Israeli Andy Ram will be allowed to compete in a Dubai tennis tournament next week after the Arab country said it would permit the seventh-ranked doubles player to enter the country.
The United Arab Emirates came under sharp criticism after it banned Israeli women’s tennis player Shahar Peer earlier this week from entering the country to participate in the lucrative Dubai Tennis Championships.
•Pit crewman suspended: Paul Chodora, a crew member for Jeremy Mayfield’s team, has been suspended indefinitely for violating NASCAR’s new substance abuse policy.
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