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National Sports Briefs

Associated Press
CHAPEL HILL ó Tyler Hansbrough emerged from the tunnel to loud cheers from the Smith Center crowd. Yet as his North Carolina teammates warmed up for their exhibition game Saturday, the reigning national player of the year plopped down on the bench to stay.
Nursing an injured right shin that has kept him out of practice for nearly two weeks, Hansbrough missed his first game ó regular season or otherwise ó since arriving in Chapel Hill three years ago. And while the nation’s top-ranked team finished with an easy 102-62 win against North Carolina-Pembroke, the Tar Heels looked very different with their star watching from the bench.
CUBAN
DENVER ó Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban remains as interested as ever in buying the Chicago Cubs, dismissing a report that Major League Baseball might not want him as an owner.
According to a Chicago Sun-Times report that cited a baseball source, there was “zero chance” of Cuban taking over the Cubs.
The Sun-Times source said the Internet billionaire would meet with resistance in trying to get approval from Major League Baseball.
“There’s no reason to comment on anonymous comments from unsolicited sources. I mean it’s ridiculous,” Cuban said.
Cuban is in the running to purchase the team from the Tribune Co. after reportedly bidding more than $1 billion.
GOLF
SHANGHAI, China ó The rain-delayed HSBC Champions tournament will finish Monday, which is just fine with Australian Geoff Ogilvy, who shot a 7-under 65 on Saturday to finish the second round a stroke behind leaders Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson.
NBA
ORLANDO, Fla. ó Dwight Howard had a season-high 31 points and 16 rebounds and also blocked three shots to help the Orlando Magic win their fourth straight game, 106-81 over the winless Washington Wizards.
Hornets 100, Heat 89
NEW ORLEANS ó Chris Paul had 21 points and 13 assists for his sixth straight double-double to help New Orleans snap a two-game losing streak.
Paul set an NBA record for consecutive games at the start of a season with at least 20 points and 10 assists, breaking the mark set by Oscar Robertson in 1968.
Pacers 98, Nets 80
INDIANAPOLIS ó Danny Granger scored 23 points to lead Indiana, making 10 of 12 free throws.
Suns 104, Bucks 96
MILWAUKEE ó If Shaquille O’Neal wants time off, it’s just fine with Phoenix Suns coach Terry Porter.
O’Neal had 29 points and 11 rebounds in his return from a one-game break, leading the Phoenix Suns to a 104-96 victory over Milwaukee.

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