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MURPHY'S SEXUAL ASSUALT TRIAL BEGINS

HOUSTON -- The sexual assault case against former NBA star and Niagara University All- American Calvin Murphy was the result of hatred, revenge and a fight over money, his lawyer said Friday in opening statements.

Murphy, accused of abusing five of his 10 daughters, is "unequivocally" innocent of the charges, attorney Andy Drumheller said.

Murphy, 56, was a Houston Rockets guard from 1970-83 and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993. His daughters say the abuse occurred between 1988 and 1991.

Prosecutors say Murphy tried to maintain a public image of having only one family, even though he has 14 children with nine women. He married just one of the women, according to prosecutors, and accepted her children. They said his children with the other women were told not to call him "Dad."

"They were taught to lie out in public about their relationship with Calvin Murphy from the day they were born," Lance Long, Harris County assistant district attorney, told jurors. "Calvin Murphy had three women pregnant at the same time."

Drumheller, meanwhile, said three of the five daughters had been trying to claim $52,408 in death benefits left in a teachers retirement account belonging to their mother, Phyllis Davidson. Murphy had a 20-year relationship and four children with Davidson, who died in a car accident in 1996.

This year, the three daughters continued their grandmother's attempt to stop Murphy from receiving the benefits. He was listed as the account's beneficiary, according to court records.

Around the rim

Loren Woods had 17 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, and Vince Carter scored seven of 12 points in the final three minutes to help the Raptors improve to 2-0 with a 101-89 victory over the Pistons. . . . Amare Stoudemire scored 29 points, Shawn Marion had 24, and Joe Johnson 22 to lead the Suns to a 108-98 win over the 76ers. . . . Ron Artest scored 28 points and Jermaine O'Neal added 19 to lead the Pacers past the Celtics, 100-94. . . . Tracy McGrady scored 30 points and had nine assists, leading the Rockets past the Grizzlies, 89-81. . . . Steve Francis hit his second game-winner, soaring into the lane to put back Pat Garrity's missed three-pointer with 2.7 seconds left to give the Magic a 90-88 victory over the Hornets.

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