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Wednesday, 02 January 2008 19:09
NBA Headline News

 WASHINGTON (AP) -Richard Hamilton had 20 points to become the 10th-leading scorer in Pistons history, and he added nine assists and seven rebounds to help Detroit earn its 10th consecutive victory by beating the Washington Wizards 106-93 Wednesday night.
It's the Pistons' longest winning streak since an 11-gamer in January 2006, and their average margin of victory during the current run is 16.8 points.
How lopsided was this one? Detroit led by double digits throughout the second half.
The Wizards (15-15) were paced by Caron Butler's 22 points and Antawn Jamison's 21, but they again failed to defeat a top team. Washington's last victory over a club with a winning record came Dec. 1 against the Toronto Raptors.
The Pistons, meanwhile, are beating everyone. They improved to 25-7 overall, 17-2 against Eastern Conference opponents. Detroit coach Flip Saunders was honored Wednesday as the East's coach of the month after his club went 15-2 in December.
Celtics 97, Rockets 93
BOSTON (AP) - Kevin Garnett scored 11 of his 26 points in the last seven minutes, adding nine rebounds to help Boston beat Houston for its seventh consecutive victory.
Paul Pierce scored 19 points and assisted on four key baskets down the stretch as the Celtics improved to 27-3 to match the best 30-game start in the shot-clock era. Five other teams have lost just three of their first 30 games, including the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, who finished the season with an NBA-record 72 wins.
Yao Ming had 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Rockets, who were without Tracy McGrady for the fourth consecutive game because of a sore left knee. Both Scot Pollard and Kendrick Perkins fouled out trying to guard Yao before Garnett took on the job himself.
Cavaliers 98, Hawks 94
CLEVELAND (AP) - LeBron James scored 32 of his 36 points in the second half and Larry Hughes, whose shooting woes have been an ongoing problem for Cleveland, made a crucial jumper down the stretch to lead the Cavaliers past Atlanta.
James, who just celebrated birthday No. 23 - to match his uniform number - began the new year with another dominating performance, but one that began very quietly.
He took only five shots in the first half. But after dropping in 13 points in the third quarter, James scored 19 in the fourth, including 19 of Cleveland's 22 over the last 6:51.
James also got the assist on a 17-foot jumper with 2:33 left by Hughes, who came in shooting just 27 percent in his past five games. Hughes' jumper usually draws groans from Cavs fans, who have been tough on him all season. But this one, which put the Cavaliers ahead 85-82, was a welcome sight.
Hughes finished with 14 points and Drew Gooden 13 for Cleveland.
Joe Johnson scored 24 points and Josh Smith 20 for Atlanta.
Trail Blazers 90, Timberwolves 79
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Brandon Roy scored 24 points and Portland beat woeful Minnesota for its 14th victory in 15 games.
The Trail Blazers improved to 4-10 on the road, bouncing back from a loss Monday at Utah that ended their 13-game winning streak - the NBA's longest this season.
Al Jefferson had 29 points and 16 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who are a league-worst 4-27 and off to the poorest start in a franchise history that has known plenty of losing. Minnesota shot a season-low 35 percent from the field.
Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 11 rebounds, coming off a career-high 36-point night. James Jones scored 13 of his 18 points in the second quarter to help the Blazers take control early.
Mavericks 121, Warriors 99
DALLAS (AP) - Dirk Nowitzki scored 29 points and Josh Howard added 19 points and 13 rebounds, leading the Mavericks past their pesky nemesis in Golden State's first trip to Dallas since last season's historic playoff upset.
Dallas is 2-0 against Golden State this season after going 1-6 over the past two seasons. That embarrassment was nothing compared to what happened in the first round of last year's playoffs, when the eighth-seeded Warriors ousted the top-seeded, 67-win Mavericks.
Stephen Jackson and Baron Davis, the stars of Golden State's playoff surge, started a combined 2-for-14. While Jackson finished with 25 points, Davis never recovered, scoring just 10 points on 2-for-14 shooting.
Nets 96, Magic 95
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Jason Kidd made a key defensive stop and nearly had a triple-double, helping New Jersey overcome a 15-point deficit to defeat Orlando.
Vince Carter had 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists, and Kidd had 10 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Kidd also set two career milestones after entering the game one assist shy of 9,000 and three rebounds short of Magic Johnson for fourth place on the career list for guards. Kidd accomplished both feats in the first 3 1/2 minutes.
Hedo Turkoglu had 23 points for Orlando on 7-for-17 shooting, and Carlos Arroyo had 16 points and seven assists. Rashard Lewis scored 14 and Dwight Howard had 13 points and 13 rebounds.
The Nets trailed most of the game, but finally came back in the fourth quarter. Kidd hit a long 3 that drew them close and New Jersey took the lead at 87-86 on Malik Allen's fast-break jumper with 4:32 left.
Turkoglu had two tries to put Orlando back in front with less than 30 seconds to go. He missed an off-balance jumper and then lost the ball while driving the lane with 12.9 seconds left.
Bulls 109, Bobcats 97
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Ben Gordon scored 22 points, Luol Deng added 21 points and 13 rebounds and Chicago continued its strong play under interim coach Jim Boylan with a win over Charlotte.
The Bulls, who improved to 3-1 under Boylan, rallied from a 12-point third-quarter deficit when Boylan tweaked his rotation to take advantage of Charlotte's small lineup.
Rookie Joakim Noah capitalized on Charlotte's soft interior by adding a career-high 17 points and six rebounds while playing the entire fourth quarter to present matchup problems. Joe Smith scored 16 points and keyed the Bulls' third-quarter comeback as Chicago scored 48 points in the paint.
Boylan, the former Bulls assistant who took over from the fired Scott Skiles, has found success with a big lineup and Gordon now coming off the bench.
Jason Richardson scored 28 points and Gerald Wallace added 23 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for the Bobcats.
Grizzlies 90, Pacers 72
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Pau Gasol scored 30 points and Memphis beat Indiana to snap a five-game losing streak.
Gasol also had 12 rebounds and shot 11-for-19 from the field.
Rudy Gay scored 24 points and Mike Miller had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Grizzlies to extend Indiana's losing streak to five. It was Memphis' fourth road win in 15 tries this season and its first win at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Mike Dunleavy scored 16 points, Troy Murphy had 10 points and 15 rebounds and Jeff Foster added 13 points and nine rebounds for the Pacers.
Memphis rookie Mike Conley had seven points, eight assists, six rebounds and three steals in his first career start, and his first regular-season game in his hometown.
The Pacers shot a season-low 31 percent and failed to score at least 90 points for the first time in 25 games. Indiana point guard Jamaal Tinsley missed his third straight game with a sore left hamstring.
Bucks 103, Heat 98
MIAMI (AP) - Mo Williams reminded the Miami Heat why they wanted him during the offseason, scoring 25 points with nine assists for Milwaukee.
Charlie Villanueva scored 15 points, Andrew Bogut finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds and Charlie Bell scored 12 for the Bucks, who snapped a four-game skid and improved to 3-15 on the road.
Dwyane Wade led Miami with 27 points on 10-for-16 shooting, plus eight assists. Ricky Davis scored 23 points and Chris Quinn added 12 for the Heat, who have lost five straight.
Milwaukee scored the last three points of the third quarter to take a 71-67 lead, then put it away by opening the fourth on a 9-0 run capped by Villanueva's 3-pointer with 8:55 left.
Williams and Bell - both coveted by the Heat last summer - combined for 21 points in the final quarter to keep Miami (8-24) at bay. Williams turned down a $31 million Heat offer and re-signed in Milwaukee for $20 million more, and Bell signed a Miami offer sheet but stayed put when the Bucks matched.
Milwaukee lost its previous nine games on the road by an average of 15.4 points, and was coming off a 45-point drubbing in Detroit on New Year's Eve.
The Heat again played without Shaquille O'Neal, who missed his third straight game with left hip soreness.
Kings 107, Knicks 97
NEW YORK (AP) - John Salmons scored a career-high 32 points and Sacramento shook off more bad injury news to beat New York, snapping a four-game losing streak.
Ron Artest had elbow surgery earlier in the day, leaving the Kings without perhaps their three best players. Still, they never trailed and easily handed the Knicks their fifth straight loss.
Brad Miller had 26 points and 16 rebounds while Francisco Garcia added 22 points for the Kings, who led by as many as 24 in a game that was never close in the second half. Salmons added 11 rebounds and six assists.
Eddy Curry scored 24 points for the Knicks, who lost by double digits for an NBA-high 15th time. Starting forward Zach Randolph was ejected with 1:47 left in the third quarter after tossing his headband toward referee Tony Brothers after Brothers had called him for a foul.
Stephon Marbury added 16 points in his first game since Dec. 17. He came off the bench to play 30 minutes after missing 10 of the last 13 games following his father's death.
Artest is expected to miss three to four weeks after five bone chips were removed from his right elbow earlier Wednesday in New York. The Kings are already without leading scorer Kevin Martin because of a strained right groin. Starting point guard Mike Bibby hasn't played this season after surgery on his left thumb. All three are due back sometime this month.
 

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