Keon Clark stuck it to his former coach.
Clark had 15 points and five blocks and Vince Carter scored 31 points as the Toronto Raptors beat the Denver Nuggets, 99-92, Thursday night.
"I told Dan Issel, "Thanks for trading me,' when I ran by the bench a couple of times," Clark said. "I never did anything like this in Denver because I was looking over my shoulder at the coach, and I don't have that problem here. I don't have to worry about anybody saying something negative to me on the floor, and that's a beautiful thing."
Clark, acquired from Denver on Jan. 12 along with Tracy Murray for Kevin Willis and others, shot 7 for 9 from the field and finished with seven rebounds.
"At one point in time, Dan told me I would be one of the better players in the league, but he never gave me an opportunity to do it," said Clark, who is averaging more than nine points and six rebounds with Toronto.
Clark had 10 points and four blocked shots in the second quarter. After blocking one shot and running the floor for a dunk, Clark smiled at Issel.
"I gave him a wink every now and again so he knows what he missed out on," Clark said. "It just makes me smile because I know I showed him, and my actions spoke louder than his words."
Asked if Issel said anything to him, Clark said: "He can say a lot with his eyebrows and when those eyes go red. The more he got fevered, the better I felt."
Issel said he wished Clark had the same type of game every night he was with Denver.
"Keon played terrific - that's the kind of ability he has," Issel said. "If he sets his mind to it, he could do it every night."
Antonio Davis, who had 21 points and 12 rebounds, said Clark has been looking forward to playing Denver.
"It started in practice, he was there early, working on his shots and making a couple comments here and there," said Davis, who will replace injured Philadelphia center Theo Ratliff (fractured right wrist) on the East All-Star team. "But he didn't need to say anything. He went on the floor today and he showed how much he appreciated he was traded here."
NETS SNAP SPUR' WIN STREAK
EAST RUTHERFORD N. J. - Stephon Marbury scored 38 points and Johnny Newman added a season-high 25 points as the New Jersey Nets defeated San Antonio, 99-97, snapping the Spurs' eight-game winning streak. The Nets will head into the All-Star break with a season-high three-game winning streak, but the Spurs made them work for it by rallying from an 18-point first-half deficit. San Antonio had three shots at a tie in the final 12 seconds. David Robinson missed a drive across the lane with about two seconds to go and Tim Duncan, who missed four crucial free throws in the fnal 5:05, had the tip fall off the rim just before the buzzer. Duncan finished with 35 points and 21 rebounds, while Robinson added 22 points and nine rebounds. Marbury, Duncan and Robinson will all be heading to Washington for the All-Star Game on Sunday. The three were the stars of the game for most of the opening three quarters, but it was the 37-year-old Newman who stole the show in the fourth quarter, scoring 17 of the Nets' 25 points. I wish the All-Star game was canceled, " rookie coach Byron Scott said. "I wish we could keep playing." The Nets are finally playing well: Keith Van Horn and Jaime Feick are back in the lineup, and the winning streak-which tied the Nets' longest of the season- moved New Jersey within six games of the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference with 31 games left. "I'd trade the All-Star Game in a heart beat if we could keep going like this and put together a run that would take us to the playoffs," said Marbury, who will be making his first All-Star appearance.
AROUND THE RIM
Cuttino Mobley scored 18 of his 29 points in the first quarter as the Rockets beat the Pistons, 103-90. Jerry Stackhouse beat the Pistons, 103-90. Jerry Stackhouse had 26 points and seven rebounds for Detroit....David Wesley scored 27 points as the Hornets snapped their four-game losing streak with a 101-84 victory over the Hawks. Atlanta also lost center Dikembe Mutombo with a sprained ankle and forward Hanno Mottola with a sprained left elbow.....Kings guard Jon Barry was scheduled to undergo surgery on his broken left hand today. He is expected to be sidelined for 4-to-6 weeks.