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Catchings, Indiana get first titles

Indiana’s Erlana Larkins backs Minnesota’s Taj McWilliams-Franklin into the lane.

Associated Press

Indiana’s Erlana Larkins backs Minnesota’s Taj McWilliams-Franklin into the lane.

INDIANAPOLIS — Tamika Catchings finally has the only title that was missing from her impressive basketball resume: a WNBA championship.

She scored 25 to help the Indiana Fever win its first title with an 87-78 victory over the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday night.

Catchings, the Finals MVP, averaged 24.8 points in the best-of-five series, which the Fever won 3-1 over the defending champions.

"When you come into this league, your goal and dream is to win a WNBA championship," said Catchings, in her 11th season. "It's so sweet right now."

Catchings had won three Olympic gold medals and an NCAA championship at Tennessee in 1998 but never a WNBA title. She had been in a position to win one at home before. The Fever led Phoenix 2-1 in the 2009 Finals, but the Mercury won Game 4, took the series back to Phoenix and won the title at home in Game 5.

This time, Catchings won it with college coach Pat Summitt in the crowd.

The Fever won even though No. 2 scorer Katie Douglas missed most of the series with a severely sprained left knee. Douglas checked in with 3.2 seconds left to a loud ovation.

Howard debuts

LOS ANGELES — Former Magic star Dwight Howard made his Lakers debut in a 99-92 preseason loss to the Kings.

Howard played 33 minutes and had 19 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks. The six-time All-Star center hit the Staples Center court just more than six months after he had surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back.

Howard sat out five preseason games for the Lakers, who acquired him from Orlando in August in a four-team trade that sent All-Star center Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia. Howard was in full practice for almost every training camp session.

STOUDEMIRE OUT: Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire is expected to miss two to three weeks with a ruptured cyst in his troublesome left knee. Stoudemire felt discomfort Saturday at Boston, then flew home for an MRI exam that revealed the issue. Stoudemire had microfracture surgery on the knee when he was with Phoenix, and a bone bruise in the knee kept him out of the first two preseason games.

MAGIC WINS: Rookie Andrew Nicholson scored 18 and Glen Davis 17 to help host Orlando beat the Spurs 104-100, the Magic's second straight win.

HEAT: Center Mickell Gladness and forward Robert Dozier were waived to bring the roster to 18.

HORNETS: Shooting guard Eric Gordon could miss the preseason because of a sore right knee that has bothered him for a year, coach Monty Williams said.

PISTONS: Forward Corey Maggette is scheduled to have a precautionary MRI exam on his strained left calf this week.

Catchings, Indiana get first titles 10/22/12 [Last modified: Monday, October 22, 2012 1:19am]

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