Suns' Road Streak Against the East Ends

Thursday, March 1st 2007, 6:20 am
By: News On 6

Phoenix's undefeated run through the East ended one game short of perfection. Don't make the mistake of believing Shaquille O'Neal's days of dominance are over, too.

``A lot of people don't think he can play anymore,'' Miami coach Pat Riley said. ``That's why they guard him one-on-one. They're making a big mistake if he keeps getting his rhythm down.''

The Washington Wizards learned that lesson Wednesday night, when O'Neal scored all 12 of his team's points over a 13-minute span late in the third quarter and most of the fourth. He finished with a season-high 23 points to lead the Heat to a 92-83 victory.

``I don't have the same 1,000 percent explosiveness,'' said O'Neal, who missed 39 games this season with a knee injury. ``But it's coming back.''

O'Neal helped Miami improve to 2-2 without Dwyane Wade, who was scheduled to get a second opinion on his left shoulder Thursday.

Phoenix couldn't overcome its injury woes, never leading in a 99-94 loss at Philadelphia while playing without Shawn Marion and Boris Diaw.

The Suns won their first 14 on the road against the Eastern Conference, and needed a victory over the lowly 76ers to become the first team to sweep its road games against the opposite conference.

``It's a record we're proud of, but we just ran out of luck tonight,'' Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said.

In other games, it was: Boston 102, New York 94; Utah 104, Memphis 88; New Orleans 107, Atlanta 100; Toronto 106, Houston 90; Chicago 113, Golden State 83; Denver 111, Orlando 101; Sacramento 135, Charlotte 120; and the Los Angeles Clippers 96, Seattle 91.

Andre Iguodala scored 24 points and Willie Green had 20 for the 76ers, who made sure they still own part of the record they set. Philadelphia lost only once on the road out of conference in its 1982-83 championship season.

``Eastern Conference pride, you know?'' Kyle Korver said, jokingly. ``Whatever's left of it.''

O'Neal still has plenty. With his 35th birthday approaching and Wade having replaced him as Miami's top offensive threat, it's easy to give the veteran center less respect than he has always commanded.

The Wizards chose to play him with one man, and O'Neal used a variety of moves to overwhelm Brendan Haywood.

``I think when guys guard him one-on-one, he likes it, but he's kind of insulted,'' Miami forward Udonis Haslem said. ``Because he thinks that people feel like he's lost it a little bit. He don't appreciate that.''

Celtics 102, Knicks 94

At Boston, Gerald Green scored 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, including seven straight after the Celtics had finished blowing a 23-point lead.

Al Jefferson had 26 points and nine rebounds and Paul Pierce added 24 points for the Celtics, who have won two in a row. In their first game in Boston since former point guard Dennis Johnson died last week at the age of 52, the Celtics observed a moment of silence in his memory, and even former nemesis Isiah Thomas paid tribute.

Quentin Richardson scored 24 and Stephon Marbury had 23 for the Knicks in their first game without injured guard Jamal Crawford.

Raptors 106, Rockets 90

Andrea Bargnani scored 20 points and visiting Toronto shot 69 percent (29-of-42) in the first half, making 16 of 20 shots (80 percent) in the second quarter alone.

T.J. Ford and Kris Humphries added 16 points apiece for the Raptors, who have won 10 of 13. Tracy McGrady scored 22 points for Houston, which has lost four of six.

Jazz 104, Grizzlies 88

At Memphis, Tenn., Carlos Boozer had 24 points and 16 rebounds, and reserve Matt Harpring added 25 points to help Utah shoot 54 percent.

Pau Gasol led Memphis with 28 points and 13 rebounds. But he had only six points after halftime, missing six of his seven shots.

Hornets 107, Hawks 100

Chris Paul had 24 points, 13 in the fourth quarter, Tyson Chandler added 18 points and 13 rebounds, and New Orleans won for the 12th time in its past 13 home games.

Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 27 points. Josh Smith had 17 points and nine rebounds.Bulls 113, Warriors 83

At Chicago, Ben Gordon scored 16 of his 22 points in the first quarter and rookie Tyrus Thomas tied a career high with 14 points.

Reserve Adrian Griffin added a season-high 17 points and rookie Thabo Sefolosha scored a career-high 19 points for the Bulls, who bounced back after dropping consecutive games.

Kelenna Azubuike scored 23 points for the Warriors, who have lost four straight and 12 of their last 14 on the road.

Nuggets 111, Magic 101

At Denver, Allen Iverson scored 34 points, Carmelo Anthony added 23 and the Nuggets held off Orlando.

Dwight Howard led the Magic with 23 points and 12 boards, his seventh straight double-double and 42nd this season. Jameer Nelson had 16 points and Keyon Dooling added 14 for the Magic, who have lost five of six.

Kings 135, Bobcats 120

Kevin Martin scored 36 points and Mike Bibby scored 26 of his 30 in the second half, when he hit a Sacramento record-tying six of his seven 3-pointers to lead the host Kings to their third win in nine games.

Former King Gerald Wallace scored 31 points to lead the Bobcats, who have lost three straight after a season-high four-game winning streak.

Clippers 96, SuperSonics 91

At Los Angeles, Corey Maggette scored 18 points, including a pair of tiebreaking free throws with 27 seconds left.

The Clippers played their first game since point guard Shaun Livingston tore three ligaments in his left knee and dislocated his kneecap. Sam Cassell played 34 minutes against the Sonics and had 16 points along with five assists.

Rashard Lewis scored 21 points for the Sonics, who got 19 each from Ray Allen and reserve guard Earl Watson.