Success stories: Rockets without Yao, Lakers with Kobe Print
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Monday, 03 March 2008 01:16
NBA Headline News

 Without their biggest star, the Rockets keep on winning. The Lakers are doing it too, thanks to their own superstar.
Houston stretched its winning streak to 15 games, the last three without injured center Yao Ming, in a 103-89 victory over Denver on Sunday. Tracy McGrady scored 22 points and Shane Battier added 20 as the Rockets tied a franchise record for consecutive wins.
``We know how good we are and we're showing it,'' McGrady said. ``We're a focused group, a group that understands how to win ballgames.''
As do the Lakers - give the ball to Kobe Bryant.
Kobe Bryant scored 30 of his 52 points in the fourth quarter and overtime to lead Los Angeles to a 108-104 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Bryant hit the 50-point mark for the 22nd time in his career and first time this season. He went 15-of-27 from the floor and, constantly driving and drawing fouls, was 20-of-27 from the line.
``We gave him a single look, then we double-teamed him, then we gave him a triple-team and he split the triple-team and scored,'' Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. ``We tried to zone him, we tried to funnel him in the trap for a zone and he went the other way. He didn't cooperate on any of our defenses.
``Obviously he milked the free throw line on us and he just had it all going. He's a great player. He has these (games). Lots of these.''
Elsewhere Sunday, it was Cleveland 95, Chicago 86; Boston 98, Atlanta 88; Washington 101, New Orleans 84; San Antonio 93, New Jersey 83; Golden State 110, Portland 104; Charlotte 110, Toronto 98; Indiana 128, Milwaukee 106; Seattle 111, Minnesota 108 in OT; and Sacramento 120, Miami 109.
Rockets 103, Nuggets 89
The winning streak is the longest in the NBA this season and matches the longest in Rockets franchise history, reached twice, the last time in their championship season of 1993-94. Houston is 3-0 since losing All-Star center Yao for the season with a stress fracture in his foot. The Rockets have won their last six games by 10 points or more, extending a franchise record.
``It's been fun ... but it's a run that we're not satisfied by,'' Battier said. ``We feel like we still have a lot of improvement and that's the exciting part. I don't think we're playing our best.''
Denver's Allen Iverson had a tough night, going 7-for-22 and finishing with a 17 points after scoring 38 on Friday.
Lakers 108, Mavericks 104, OT
Bryant also had 11 rebounds and four assists. Pau Gasol added 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Lakers, who are 12-2 since he played his first game for them on Feb. 5.
Bryant credited the defense as much as anything for the big win.
``All in all, we didn't give them any good looks, and I think eventually that wears a team down,'' Bryant said. ``We really got it done on the defensive end.
``It was a physical game. It was back and forth. We didn't play extremely well, but it felt good to get this one done.''
Dirk Nowitzki had 30 points for Dallas, including a 3-pointer with 2 seconds remaining in regulation to tie it at 93. He had nine points in the extra period, but missed a 3-point try that would have tied it again with 7 seconds remaining.
Cavaliers 95, Bulls 86
At Cleveland, LeBron James scored 37 points and took over down the stretch as the Cavaliers ended the game on a 12-3 run.
Cleveland, Chicago and Seattle were involved in an 11-player deal on Feb. 21. Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Cedric Simmons and Shannon Brown were sent to the from the Cavaliers to the Bulls, who dealt center Ben Wallace and forward Joe Smith to Cleveland.
Hughes led the Bulls with 23 points, shooting 8-of-20 shots from the field. Gooden scored 11 points with 10 rebounds.
Celtics 98, Hawks 88
At Boston, Paul Pierce scored 30 points, 17 in the pivotal third quarter, and Kevin Garnett had 20 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Celtics to their fifth consecutive win.
Ray Allen scored 17, and Kendrick Perkins had 11 points and a season-high 12 rebounds to go with a career-high six assists.
Josh Smith scored 20 points and added nine rebounds, and Al Horford had 14 and 11 for the Hawks, who missed a chance to move into a tie for the eighth playoff spot in the East.
Wizards 101, Hornets 84
At Washington, Antawn Jamison had 28 points and nine rebounds, and Washington beat New Orleans for its fourth win in five games and second over the Hornets in a week.
Leading 80-79, the Wizards blew the game apart with a 19-0 run. Jamison started it with two free throws and a 3-pointer, then his block of Peja Stojakovic's layup led to a 3-pointer by DeShawn Stevenson. The Hornets didn't score again until a 3-pointer by Rasual Butler in the final minute.
Stojakovic scored 17 points and Chris Paul had 16 to lead the Hornets.
Spurs 93, Nets 83
Tony Parker had 25 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and San Antonio won a season-high ninth straight.
Tim Duncan added 13 points and 14 rebounds, and Manu Ginobili had 17 points as the visiting Spurs beat the Nets for the 10th straight time. New Jersey has not beaten San Antonio since November 2002.
Devin Harris and Vince Carter scored 21 points apiece for the Nets.
Warriors 110, Trail Blazers 104
Stephen Jackson hit six 3-pointers while scoring 29 points, Monta Ellis added 22 points and Golden State beat Portland for its seventh win in nine games.
Baron Davis had 18 points for the Warriors, who beat Portland for the first time in three tries this season.
Brandon Roy scored 26 points and Travis Outlaw added 17 for the Blazers, who have lost nine of 12.
Bobcats 110, Raptors 98
At Charlotte, Jason Richardson scored 30 points and the Bobcats took advantage of Chris Bosh's absence.
Richardson, taking over the brunt of the scoring with Gerald Wallace out indefinitely following a severe concussion, hit 10 of 24 shots and all seven free throws. Rookie Jared Dudley added a career-high 17 points and 10 rebounds for Charlotte, which snapped a five-game losing streak in its second win in 14 games.
Anthony Parker scored 24 points for the Raptors.
Pacers 128, Bucks 106
At Indianapolis, Mike Dunleavy tied his career high of 36 points for the second straight game. Danny Granger had 27 points and nine rebounds as he returned to the starting lineup after being suspended a game for striking Chicago's Andres Nocioni in the face on Wednesday.
Michael Redd led Milwaukee with 28 points. Milwaukee forward Yi Jianlian left with a sprained left ankle with 10:44 to play and did not return.
SuperSonics 111, Timberwolves 108, OT
At Minneapolis, Kevin Durant scored 25 points, Chris Wilcox added 18 points and 15 rebounds, and Seattle snapped its four-game losing streak.
Earl Watson had 15 points and Nick Collison 14 for Seattle.
Al Jefferson led Minnesota with 30 points and 12 rebounds, while Rashad McCants had 18 points.
Kings 120, Heat 109
Ron Artest scored 32 points, Kevin Martin added 29 and host Sacramento overcame a 21-point deficit in the second half.
The victory was sweet revenge for Sacramento, which lost by 21 points last week in Miami when the Heat snapped an 11-game losing streak with their most lopsided victory of the season. Sunday's victory also broke an eight-game win streak in the series by the Heat, who hadn't lost to the Kings since Jan. 13, 2004.
Dwyane Wade had 26 points and seven assists for Miami.
 

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