Jazz Fight Back; Heat Limp Toward Loss

Thursday, November 23rd 2006, 6:40 am

By: News On 6

Staring at a big deficit on the road, the Utah Jazz decided to fight back. Facing the same circumstances, the only fight coming from the Miami Heat was with the referees. The struggling Heat lost their poise on the way to losing another game, falling 106-86 to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.

Miami trailed by one after one quarter, but the deficit was 19 at the half. Dwyane Wade and Gary Payton were hit with technical fouls during the second period, and the Heat never really made it a game in the second half.

``In the second quarter we just stopped playing, we got frustrated. We went from competing in the first quarter to stop communicating with each other and then we started to complain,'' coach Pat Riley said. ``And then we got disgusted of ourselves and then we went from disgusting to discouraging to despicable.''

The Jazz were in worse shape, trailing the Sacramento Kings by 21 points in the third quarter. But they stormed back to win 110-101, extending their NBA-best start to 11-1 with their seventh straight victory.

``We have some real fighters on this team. We keep getting down early but we come back in the second half,'' Utah's Matt Harpring said. ``It was another great win, but we don't want to rely on winning this way.''

In other games, it was: Orlando 96, Indiana 91; Toronto 95, Cleveland 87; Charlotte 92, Boston 83; Detroit 103, Atlanta 98; Milwaukee 98, Philadelphia 94; Minnesota 107, New York 89; Houston 86, Washington 82; Phoenix 92, New Orleans 83; Portland 100, New Jersey 97; Denver 115, Golden State 112; and Seattle 95, the Los Angeles Clippers 85.

At Sacramento, Carlos Boozer had 32 points and 13 rebounds for the Jazz. Mehmet Okur hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:45 to play, helping Utah outscore Sacramento 39-17 in the fourth quarter.

``That was a big-time shot,'' Boozer said. ``That was a heck of a game, coming back from 21 to win on the road.''

While the Jazz are rolling, the Heat are struggling as they continue to play without Shaquille O'Neal, who is out four to six weeks following knee surgery. They seem to be missing something else _ the fighting spirit that helped them battle back when they were minutes away from a 3-0 deficit in the NBA finals.

``We just don't have any respect for winning,'' Heat forward Udonis Haslem said.

Tim Duncan scored 19 points, and Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili each added 17 for the Spurs.

``Obviously, Miami is under some tough circumstances right now,'' San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. ``The main thing we were able to take away was that we were able to keep our focus.''

Suns 92, Hornets 83

At Phoenix, Steve Nash scored 24 points, and Boris Diaw and Raja Bell each added 18.

Peja Stojakovic scored 14 of his 21 points in the first quarter and Desmond Mason also scored 21 for the Hornets, who had their four-game winning streak snapped.

Rockets 86, Wizards 82

At Houston, Yao Ming had 25 points and 14 rebounds, Tracy McGrady added 13 points and 12 boards, and the Rockets survived another fourth-quarter meltdown.

Gilbert Arenas scored 26 and Caron Butler added 14 for the Wizards, who shot 28-for-84 (33 percent) from the field.

Nuggets 115, Warriors 112

At Oakland, Calif., Carmelo Anthony had 33 points and nine rebounds, and Denver won its third straight.

Marcus Camby had 14 points and 16 rebounds and Andre Miller added 17 points and 10 assists for the Nuggets.

SuperSonics 95, Clippers 85

At Los Angeles, Rashard Lewis had 35 points and 13 rebounds, Ray Allen scored 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, and Seattle dealt the Clippers their first home loss of the season.

Reserve forward Tim Thomas scored 15 points for the Clippers, who won a franchise-best six in a row at Staples Center to start the season.

Pistons 103, Hawks 98

At Auburn Hills, Mich., Chauncey Billups had 24 points and 10 assists and was one of three players with a double-double for Detroit, which won its fourth straight.

Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 25 points and rookie Shelden Williams added a career-best 20.

Bucks 98, 76ers 94

At Milwaukee, Michael Redd scored 11 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter, and the Bucks overcame Andre Iguodala's triple-double.

Iguodala had 18 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists for the 76ers, who again played without Allen Iverson.

Timberwolves 107, Knicks 89

At Minneapolis, Ricky Davis scored 21 points, Kevin Garnett had 19, and Minnesota shot a season-best 52.8 percent from the field.

Steve Francis, replaced in the starting lineup by Jamal Crawford, came on to score 19 points for the Knicks.

Magic 96, Pacers 91

At Orlando, Fla., Jameer Nelson scored 22 points and Dwight Howard had 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Jermaine O'Neal led Indiana with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Stephen Jackson added 19 points _ his third straight double-digit game off the bench.

Raptors 95, Cavaliers 87

At Toronto, Chris Bosh had 25 points and 14 rebounds, and the Raptors snapped a six-game losing streak.

LeBron James had 30 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Cavaliers, who are 0-3 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.

Bobcats 92, Celtics 83

At Charlotte, N.C., Adam Morrison scored 26 points after he had shot only 8-of-29 in the previous two games.

Paul Pierce had 28 points and 12 rebounds but got little help for the Celtics, who shot 40 percent and committed 19 turnovers.

Trail Blazers 100, Nets 97

At Portland, Ore., Zach Randolph scored 25 points as the Trail Blazers rallied from a 14-point deficit.

Vince Carter had 35 points in New Jersey's third straight loss.

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