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The NBA back to business after the All-Star break and Philadelphia back to their winning ways. Allen Iverson scored 49 points as the Sixers beat the Milwaukee Bucks but his personal tally was not the highest of the night. And that’s because Stephen Marbury scored 50 as the New Jersey Nets took on Shaq O’Neal and the Lakers.
After missing a handful of matters, the Lakers in last weekend’s All-Star game were the fit-in group. Shaquille O’Neal marked his return to action in trademark style at the New Jersey Nets. Stephen Marbury did make the All-Star game. He hit the winning shot for the East and his hot hand continued here as he proceeded to pour in points. The feud between O’Neal and teammate Kobe Bryant may mean the pair won’t exchange Valentine’s Day cards but at least Bryant’s passing the ball now. If they can put their differences aside they’re a formidable duo. In this match they put on a combined 70 points but Marbury is fantastic and he ended the night with a career high 50 but not before Shaq had thoroughly tested the strength of the baskets in New Jersey with an array of massive dunks. When Kobe Bryant hit this nice reverse lay up with a minute to go, it looked like curtains for the Nets but Marbury tied it all up at 104 a piece with a three that sparked wild celebrations. He sent the match into overtime, the Nets first OT game of the season. And with four seconds on the clock in the extra period, Bryant’s determined drive paid off. The shot fell and he was rewarded with an extra foul shot, which he duly converted. Marbury’s luck would run out when his last ditch effort bounced off the rim. So despite his superb performance, the Nets lost 130 to 110 the final score.
Phil Sheehan, BBC News