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RODMAN PUTS MAVS OFF UNTIL AFTER SUPER BOWL

Welcome to another chapter of As The Worm Turns.

This time, Dennis Rodman, the multi-tattooed and mega-pierced lead character, put off a decision about signing with his hometown team so he could party with friends at the Super Bowl.

The Dallas Mavericks are willing to wait. Billionaire owner Mark Cuban is hoping for an answer by Monday, with visions of Rodman in the starting lineup at home Tuesday against Philadelphia.

"Nothing's been signed on the dotted line yet, but we're confident we can get to the point that we can work something out," Cuban said.

Meanwhile, the mayhem so often associated with Rodman was evident in the Mavs' game Tuesday night against the Golden State Warriors.

Blame it on the Rodman stir swirling around the Mavs, or the bad blood created by Dallas' dominance of Golden State this season.

Whatever the case, the Mavericks and Warriors went after each other like Rodzillaesque wrestlers in a 117-103 victory for Dallas.

There were three ejections, five technicals and two flagrant fouls -- both against the Warriors.

"I'm real happy with the way the team stuck up for one another when we got into a confrontation," Dallas coach Don Nelson said. "That means we're coming around a little bit."

Michael Finley scored 30 points, 22 in the first half, to pace the Mavericks, who completed their first season sweep of the Warriors (4-0) since they went 5-0 against Golden State in 1986-87.

Dallas led 73-56 with 6:52 remaining in the third quarter when Shawn Bradley shoved Mark Davis during a stoppage in play. Davis lifted the 7-foot-6 Bradley into the air and attempted to slam him to the floor.

With 1:18 left in the quarter, Golden State's Vonteego Cummings was ejected, the result of a flagrant foul against Dallas' Steve Nash. Nash was going in for a solo layup when Cummings pushed Nash into the padded basket support. Finley went after Cummings and players began pushing and shoving.

"I was just trying to make an aggressive play and not give up a layup," Cummings said. "I wasn't trying to hurt anyone. I was just trying to play hard."

Celtics trashed by Heat

MIAMI -- Miami wasn't the best place for the Boston Celtics to seek a solution for their road woes.

The Miami Heat, annoyed by the Celtics' tendency in prior Heat-Celtics games to talk trash, raced to a 25-point lead in the first half and won 115-89 Tuesday night.

"When you go on the road, you can't get off to the slow starts like we did tonight," Boston's Antoine Walker said. "That puts too much pressure on you to play perfectly the rest of the game."

The Celtics are 15-6 at home, but their 4-16 road record is the worst in the Atlantic Division. Their only road victory against a team that has a winning record came in the season opener at Toronto.

The Heat's most lopsided win since March 1999 ended Boston's recent run of success against them. The Celtics had won four of the past five games in the series.

"There had been a little trash-talking in the losses we had against them, and guys had that in the back of their minds," Miami's P.J. Brown said. "That was the reason for the intensity. You've got to do more than what they're doing to be trash-talking. They've got a long way to go."

Around the rim

Nick Anderson scored a season-high 29 points as the Kings beat the Hornets, 110-99. . . . Kevin Garnett scored 27 points, including two key baskets late, as the Timberwolves held on to snap the Rockets' six-game winning streak, 92-84. The Rockets will retire Clyde Drexler's No. 22 on Feb. 3. In four seasons with the Rockets, Drexler averaged 19 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.4 assists. . . . Tim Duncan scored 24 points as the Spurs downed the Clippers, 105-82. . . . Reggie Miller led Indiana with 21 points, including four free throws in the final 24 seconds that helped the Pacers hold off the Suns, 93-87. . . . Bob Sura scored a career-high 31 points as the Cavaliers snapped a five-game losing streak, beating the Pistons, 116-107 in overtime. . . . Isaiah Rider scored 28 points and Dikembe Mutombo had 14 points and 23 rebounds to give the Hawks their first two-game winning streak since Dec. 8, beating the Bulls, 96-89.

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