Bryant, Bibby, Gordon Provide Big Boost
Monday, March 26th 2007, 7:23 am
News On 6
With their teams in the playoff race, Kobe Bryant, Ben Gordon and Mike Bibby had no trouble coming up with clutch plays.
Bryant had 43 points to end his streak of 50-point games at four games, but the Lakers extended their winning streak to a season-high five with a 115-113 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.
He became the second player in NBA history with such a streak, joining the late Wilt Chamberlain.
``I've always said Wilt's a human video game,'' Bryant said. ``For me to be in the same breath with him, even if it's a short little breath, is pretty cool.''
Bibby had a career-best nine 3-pointers en route to 37 points as the Kings topped the Suns 107-100. And Ben Gordon had 31 points including a spinning fadeaway from just inside the paint with 2.8 seconds left to send the Chicago Bulls past the Indiana Pacers 92-90.
In other NBA games, it was: Dallas 104, Atlanta 97; Detroit 121, Milwaukee 95; Minnesota 94, Portland 93; New Orleans 106, Houston 94; Denver 105, Cleveland 93; and San Antonio 120, Seattle 79.
``This feels good,'' Bibby said. ``It was a big win, and we needed it. We've got 12 (games) left, so we've got to make sure we get a good amount of those 12 to give ourselves a chance.''
Ron Artest added 24 points and nine rebounds for the struggling Kings, who snapped a three-game losing streak without the help of injured starters Kevin Martin, Brad Miller and Kenny Thomas. Sacramento won for just the second time in nine games, and avoided a four-game season sweep by the Suns, who already have clinched the Pacific Division title.
Gordon helped Chicago win for the ninth time in its past 12 games and guaranteed itself at least a .500 season with its 41st win.
``I just love opportunities like that when I get a chance to help my team win a game,'' he said.
Timberwolves 94, Trail Blazers 93
Kevin Garnett's 15-foot fadeaway jumper at the buzzer lifted host Minnesota.
After LaMarcus Aldridge tipped in a miss by Jarrett Jack to give Portland a 93-92 lead, Garnett took a hurried inbounds pass with 2.2 seconds to go, wheeled and dropped in a jumper over Aldridge at the other end to give the Wolves the win.
Garnett finished with 22 points and nine rebounds, but the 30-year-old veteran was overshadowed for most of the game by three impressive rookies.
Brandon Roy had 22 points and five rebounds and Aldridge added 13 points and six rebounds for the Blazers, who had won three in a row.
Wolves rookie Randy Foye scored 13 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter to rally Minnesota from a five-point deficit.
Pistons 121, Bucks 95
Tayshaun Prince scored 28 points and three reserves made key contributions to carry host Detroit.
Reserve forward Jason Maxiell had 19 points and 15 rebounds _ both career highs _ for the Pistons. Detroit needed to rely heavily on its bench after losing Rasheed Wallace to an NBA suspension and Richard Hamilton to an illness that might have carried over to Chris Webber. Webber apparently became sick during the game and sat out the second quarter.
Mavericks 104, Hawks 97
Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard each had 28 points, and Jason Terry scored 15 of his 27 in the fourth quarter to lead visiting Dallas to its sixth straight win.
Dallas' biggest lead came at the 5:16 mark of the second quarter, when Howard's turnaround jumper made it 51-28. The Mavericks improved to 58-11, tops in the NBA.
But after Terry's 14-footer gave Dallas a 73-63 lead with 2:52 left in the third, the Mavericks scored just one field goal over their next 12 possessions, a stretch that included five turnovers.
Hornets 106, Rockets 94
Chris Paul scored 28 points and David West added 23 to lead New Orleans to the win in Oklahoma City.
Paul and West teamed up to score 18 of the Hornets' final 25 points as the Hornets picked up a crucial win for their playoff hopes.
It was New Orleans' first win against a Western Conference playoff team since Feb. 7 against Denver and moved the Hornets within two games of the idle Los Angeles Clippers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
Tracy McGrady scored 31 points to lead Houston, which had a five-game winning streak snapped. Yao Ming added 16 points.
Nuggets 105, Cavaliers 93
Carmelo Anthony scored 27 points, Allen Iverson had 18 and visiting Denver finished off Cleveland with a late flurry.
Anthony, the league's second-leading scorer, bounced back from a season-low 10-point game in a loss on Friday at Toronto by shooting 12-of-19 from the field. He hit two jumpers and assisted on a basket by Nene as the Nuggets, who shot a season-best 60 percent, outscored Cleveland 8-0 over the final 3:02.
With the win, Anthony improved to 5-2 in career NBA matchups with LeBron James, his close friend and U.S. Olympic teammate.
James and Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 18 points apiece for the Cavs.
Spurs 120, SuperSonics 79
Tony Parker set the tone with 10 of his 18 points in the first quarter, Manu Ginobili hit five 3-pointers and scored 19, and visiting San Antonio rolled.
San Antonio won its third straight and for the 16th time in its past 18. The Spurs beat the Sonics by 20 in November and by 31 last month in San Antonio.
The 41-point margin of defeat was Seattle's biggest home loss since a 44-point setback to Dallas in 1985. Seattle's worst home loss was a 47-point loss to Boston in 1968.