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Orlando falls on road

Heather Owen hit a 15-foot jumper in the final minute to give Washington the lead for good as the Mystics defeated Orlando 72-68 Thursday.

Owen's jumper from the free-throw line, her only points of the game, gave the Mystics a 65-64 lead with 45 seconds left. Andrea Nagy stretched the lead to 69-66 by hitting two free throws with 14.3 seconds left.

Orlando's Shannon Johnson hit a short jumper with 8.2 seconds left to bring the Miracle to 69-68, but the Mystics' Nikki McCray hit 1 of 2 free throws with 7.8 seconds left.

Taj McWilliams had a chance to tie it, but her short bank shot rolled off the rim and out of bounds with two seconds left. Chamique Holdsclaw sealed it with two free throws.

The Mystics blew a 13-point second-half lead, but Holdsclaw and McCray made big plays down the stretch to save Washington. Holdsclaw, who finished with 24 points, scored six straight at one point and had a key rebound in the final minutes.

McCray had 17 of her 24 points in the second half, including 10 in the first seven minutes of the half as the Mystics built their 13-point lead.

McWilliams, however, sparked an Orlando rally that helped the Miracle eventually take the lead, with 21 of her 24 points after halftime.

UTAH 81, L.A. 75: Natalie Williams, returning from a four-game absence due to an injured foot, had 17 points and 11 rebounds in a reserve role for host Utah.

Around the NBA

CELTICS: Free-agent G Calbert Cheaney signed a three-year pact. No terms were disclosed for the former Wizard's deal.

LAKERS: The team agreed in principle to a six-year deal with swingman Rick Fox worth about $25-million, according to Fox's agent, Mark Portnoy.

PACERS: The team signed former high school standout Jonathan Bender, five days after he was acquired in a trade with the Raptors. Bender, 18, will receive a three-year contract worth $6.5-million.

Bender was selected by the Raptors with the fifth overall pick. He was traded to Indiana on Aug. 1 for F Antonio Davis.

RAPTORS: They signed free-agent swingman Dell Curry to a three-year contract, bringing the league's top three-point shooter to Canada. Curry, 35, led the NBA by making 47.6 percent of his three-point tries for the Bucks last season.

SPURS: The team signed free-agent G Terry Porter, adding another veteran to the championship-winning backcourt. San Antonio's Express-News reported the contract to be worth $6.6-million over three years.

Porter, 36, averaged 10.5 points, 2.9 assists and 2.8 rebounds in playing all 50 games with the Heat last season.

TIMBERWOLVES: The team hired Sidney Lowe as an assistant to coach Flip Saunders.

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