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Miracle outlasts Charlotte

Published Jul. 10, 1999
Updated Sep. 29, 2005

The expansion Orlando Miracle took over sole possession of second place in the WNBA's Eastern Conference as Shannon Johnson scored 10 of her 15 points in the second half of a 66-61 win over Charlotte on Friday.

Orlando, which came into the game tied with Charlotte at 5-5, also got 16 points from Nykesha Sales to win its third consecutive road game.

Charlotte Smith scored 12 points to lead the Sting, which was seeking its first three-game winning streak of the season. Six days earlier, the Sting posted a 17-point win in Orlando.

Charlotte lost Tracy Reid, the 1998 WNBA Rookie of the Year, to a twisted right ankle with 7:42 remaining. Reid had to be helped to the locker room following the injury, which occurred less than a week after she came off the injured list because of a sore right knee. X-rays on her ankle were negative, but she was unable to return.

Orlando took a five-point halftime lead after Charlotte closed the half by missing 13 of 18 field-goal attempts, but the Sting rallied by opening the second half with an 11-0 run.

The Miracle went ahead to stay on a three-pointer by Johnson for a 56-54 lead with 7:23 remaining.

The Sting had a chance to tie it trailing 64-62, but Smith's three-pointer bounced high off the rim and went over the top of the backboard. Johnson sealed the win with a pair of free throws one second later.

MAVERICKS: If Dallas gets its wish, Croatian center Bruno Sundov will be reinstated by the NBA before the Aug. 2 close of their summer-league schedule.

In a worst-case scenario, the Mavericks acknowledged, Sundov might have to return to his Split club team next season after a recent ruling by a Croatian court.

"But if that's the case, we would retain his rights," Mavericks assistant coach Donnie Nelson said.

The Mavericks were ordered late Thursday by the league office to pull the 19-year-old out of all summer-league activity. NBA spokesman Seth Sylvan said Friday that the league's legal experts have launched an investigation in response to an overseas court injunction asserting that Sundov "has a pre-existing contract obligation" to Split.

Commissioner David Stern has been adamant about preventing NBA teams from signing players with contracts sanctioned by FIBA, the sport's international governing body. In the spring, however, the league raised no objection to the two-year, $603,750 contract Sundov received from the Mavericks.

The Mavericks drafted Sundov with the 35th pick in 1998, figuring that he wouldn't be in the United States for at least a few years. Plans changed last fall, when Sundov left Split under contentious circumstances and enrolled in a Massachusetts prep school.

Sundov said he never signed a professional contract with Split.

BULLS: Assistant coach Frank Hamblen quit to join Phil Jackson with the Lakers. Another Bulls assistant, Tex Winter, also may leave.

LAKERS: Los Angeles named former Chicago Bulls assistant coach Frank Hamblen the second of Phil Jackson's new assistants Friday, with one spot reserved for Tex Winter if he wants it.