Boston drops two straight for first time this season; Lakers on top of Pacific Division Print
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Tuesday, 15 January 2008 00:46
NBA Headline News

 The Boston Celtics found themselves in a position they hadn't been in all season, in the midst of a losing streak.
Caron Butler scored 21 points and Washington beat Boston 88-83 on Monday night for the Wizards' second victory over the Celtics in three days.
Butler scored nine points during a 25-6 run over the final 6:24 of the fourth quarter to give the Wizards their fifth win in the last six games overall and against Boston.
``We always seem to come back strong when our backs are against the wall. We did it Saturday night and we did it tonight in a tough road game,'' said Antawn Jamison, who added 20 points and 10 rebounds. ``To beat these guys in back-to-back games considering how they've been playing is something special.''
While Boston dropped its second straight, the Los Angeles Lakers are on their longest winning streak since 2004. The Lakers surged to the top of the Pacific Division with a 123-121 overtime victory over the Seattle Supersonics.
Kobe Bryant scored 48 points and capped his season-best offensive outburst by swishing an 18-footer with 4.3 seconds left in overtime to help the Lakers win their seventh straight game.
The Lakers were playing their first contest without injured center Andrew Bynum, who will miss at least the next eight weeks after suffering a left knee injury in Sunday night's win over Memphis.
``This is a tough one,'' a tired looking Bryant said. ``Tonight was one of those nights where I kind of had to read the mood of the team. Us kind of being a little deflated with (Bynum) going down, being a back-to-back, coming in on the road, it was one of those things where I just kind of wanted to be a lot more assertive.''
In other NBA games Monday night, it was: Sacramento 122, Dallas 120; Portland 99, New Jersey 73; San Antonio 89, Philadelphia 82; Utah 98, Milwaukee 87; and Charlotte 119, Denver 116.
Before the game, Seattle coach P.J. Carlesimo said he wouldn't mind if Bryant went off just as long as he was forced to take a lot of shots. Carlesimo just didn't count on Bryant making nearly half of his attempts, shooting 21-for-44 from the field.
It was Bryant's 87th career 40-point game, one behind Elgin Baylor for third all-time in league history.
And Bryant's efforts nearly went for naught, as Seattle took advantage of Bynum's absence inside and nearly kept the Lakers from moving into a tie with Phoenix atop the Pacific Division. Instead, it was Seattle's seventh straight loss and another snapshot that Bryant can add to his career highlights.
``That's why he's the best player in the world,'' Seattle rookie Kevin Durant said.
Nick Collison led Seattle with 24 points and 18 rebounds, and Durant finished with 19 points, but missed 20 shots.
Kings 122, Mavericks 120
At Sacramento, Calif., Kevin Martin scored 39 points in his second game back from a groin injury and John Salmons hit a game-winning drive with 2.6 seconds remaining to help the Kings snap Dallas' seven-game winning streak.
Salmons' length-of-the-court drive capped a wild fourth quarter and led to a boisterous celebration at midcourt for the Kings when Jason Terry missed a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Terry and Devin Harris scored 25 points apiece to lead the Mavs.
Trail Blazers 99, Nets 73
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 20 points to lead visiting Portland to its 18th win in the last 20 games.
Portland never trailed and got contributions from up and down the lineup. Brandon Roy scored 16 points, Jarrett Jack had 15, Travis Outlaw 13 and James Jones 10.
Reserve Malik Allen led the Nets with 17.
Spurs 89, 76ers 82
Manu Ginobili scored 14 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter to lead host San Antonio.
Tim Duncan added 18 points and 16 rebounds and Michael Finley and Tony Parker scored 14 points apiece to give the Spurs their second straight win.
Willie Green scored 21 points and Andre Iguodala added 19 for the skidding Sixers, who have lost seven straight.
Jazz 98, Bucks 87
Deron Williams scored 24 of his 33 points in the second half and had 10 assists as Utah rallied to beat visiting Milwaukee.
The Jazz held the Bucks without a field goal for the first 7:25 of the fourth quarter while pulling away for their fourth straight win, Utah's longest streak since November.
Carlos Boozer added 21 points and 10 rebounds and Paul Millsap scored 11 for the Jazz.
Former University of Utah All-American Andrew Bogut had 23 points and 10 rebounds in his return to Salt Lake City, but scored just three points in the fourth quarter as the Bucks' offense fizzled.
Bobcats 119, Nuggets 116
Gerald Wallace scored 40 points, Matt Carroll hit two free throws with 4.6 seconds left, and host Charlotte made the big plays down the stretch.
After consecutive heartbreaking losses, in double overtime to Cleveland and in overtime to Detroit, Wallace carried the Bobcats in a fast-paced game with numerous dunks and little defense.
Carmelo Anthony had 35 points for Denver. Allen Iverson added 23 points and Marcus Camby had 20 points and 23 rebounds for the Nuggets, who lost for the second time in six games.
 

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