Tuesday's National Basketball Association Capsules

Jan 9, 2008 - 5:52 AM By PA SportsTicker

CLEVELAND 95, SEATTLE 79 ------------------------

CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- LeBron James scored 22 points and Daniel Gibson added five 3-pointers en route 17 as the Cleveland Cavaliers cruised past the Seattle SuperSonics, 95-79.

Anderson Varejao collected 14 points and nine rebounds for the Cavaliers (18-17), who posted their largest margin of victory this season and moved over .500 for the first time since November 30.

The defending Eastern Conference champions now have won four straight and six of their last seven games.

Seattle rookie Kevin Durant did not score in the first quarter, but still collected 24 points and six rebounds before he left early with a left ankle sprain.

James, who has led Cleveland in scoring in 13 straight games, had his string of nine consecutive contests leading the club in assists ended at nine. He shot 8-of-18 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds.

The superstar forward was coming off one of the franchise's great performance when he scored 24 points in the fourth quarter - a team record - en route to a 93-90 comeback win over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.

It is no coincidence that the Cavaliers now are 9-5 since James returned from a left index finger sprain on December 11. Cleveland had dropped five in a row without the 23-year-old All-Star.

The shorthanded Sonics were without the services of Chris Wilcox (right pinkie finger dislocation) and Luke Ridnour (left quadriceps soreness).

Trailing, 45-33, at the half, the Sonics pulled to within nine at 58-49 when Wally Szczerbiak drilled a 3-pointer from the left corner with 4:31 to play in the third quarter.

But James then scored a fast-break layup at 3:47, and Gibson stole the inbounds pass and stroked a shot from the arc, forcing a timeout by Seattle.

After their lead had been whittled to nine, the Cavaliers outscored the Sonics, 16-7, to take a 74-56 lead after three quarters.

Sasha Pavlovic snapped out of his shooting slump with 13 points, his first double-digit performance since December 12.

Szczerbiak wound up with 15 points for the Sonics, who shot 40.5 percent (32-of-79) from the floor and turned the ball over 23 times.

LA LAKERS 117, MEMPHIS 101 --------------------------

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Derek Fisher the Grizzlies for a season-high 26 points on to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 117-101 victory over the Grizzlies.

Kobe Bryant, who scored 60 in his last visit to Memphis last season, added 25 points for the Lakers, who are winners of six of their last eight road games and 13 of 16 overall.

Playing away from Staples Center for the first time since December 23, Los Angeles benefited from solid defense, holding the Grizzlies to 44 percent (41-of-93) shooting, including just 6-of-19 from 3-point range.

Fisher beat the Grizzlies rookie point guard Mike Conley Jr. repeatedly, finding his way for open jumpers and long range shots all night. The veteran finished 5-of-5 from 3-point range.

He connected on his first five shot attempts, three of which came from the arc, while the Lakers jumped out to a 39-23 advantage after the opening quarter behind a blistering 56 percent from the field.

Fisher and Bryant combined for 25 points during the period, 17 of which came during a 20-6 stretch that closed the quarter. The duo later posted 16 total points in the third to help the Lakers maintain control of a game in which they never trailed.

CHARLOTTE 115, NEW JERSEY 99 ----------------------------

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Jason Richardson scored 25 points to lead the Charlotte Bobcats to a 115-99 victory over the visiting New Jersey Nets.

Charlotte cooled off one of the hottest teams in the East with a hot night of its own from the floor. The Bobcats shot a season-best 59 percent (44-of-75) from the floor en route to a season high for points scored.

The Bobcats put six players in double figures for the first time this season with Gerald Wallace adding 21 points and 11 rebounds. Raymond Felton, Emeka Okafor and Nazr Mohammed each added 17 for the Bobcats.

The sizzling shooting helped derail the Nets, who had their five-game winning streak snapped despite another triple-double from Jason Kidd.

Kidd became the first player in 11 seasons to record three straight triple-doubles. The 34-year-old point guard posted 13 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists for the 97th of his career.

Charlotte led by eight points after the first quarter and blew the game open in the second, leading by fewer than 10 points just once in the second half.

After the Nets cut their deficit to five, Richardson scored Charlotte's first seven points of the second quarter to give the Bobcats a 38-26 advantage and they never looked back.

MINNESOTA 101, MIAMI 91 -----------------------

MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Rashad McCants scored 27 points and Al Jefferson added 18 as the Minnesota Timberwolves snapped an eight-game skid with a 101-91victory over the woeful Heat.

Miami, which was without Shaquille O'Neal (hip bursitis) for a sixth straight game, has dropped eight in a row.

Minnesota, which had all five starters score in double figures, set a season high with 29 assists.

Miami guard Dwyane Wade scored 17 of his 25 points in the first half, despite being physically beat up. He also added seven assists and five rebounds.

Earlier in the day, according to multiple reports, it was revealed that the three-time All-Star's surgically repaired left shoulder is worse than expected and has nerve damage.

But the 2006 Finals MVP's gritty effort could not keep the Heat from trailing most of the game.

MILWAUKEE 87, PHILADELPHIA 83 -----------------------------

PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- Mo Williams and Charlie Bell helped the Milwaukee Bucks continue their recent success on the road with a 87-83 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

Bell and Williams each scored 21 points to give the Bucks their third straight win on the road and just their fourth away from home this season.

Philadelphia, which has lost four straight, pulled within 81-79 with 50 seconds to play on a spinning jumper in the lane by Andre Iguodala. But the Bucks answered with a tip-in by Andrew Bogut and two free throws by Williams after Iguodala came up short on a 3-pointer from the top of the key.

The Bucks got off to a fast start with an early 10-0 run that Williams capped with a basket that gave Milwaukee a 12-2 lead.

Playing on their home court for the first time since December 26, the Sixers came to life with a 14-4 run to tie the game on a basket by Jason Smith. Williams keyed a 10-1 Milwaukee run late in the quarter with a three-point play to give the Bucks a 26-17 lead at the end of the first.

HOUSTON 92, WASHINGTON 84 -------------------------

WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Luther Head scored a season-high 24 points to lead the Houston Rockets to a 92-84 victory over the Washington Wizards.

Making his fifth start in the absence of the injured Tracy McGrady, Head scored in double-figures for the sixth consecutive game. His 3-pointer gave Houston an 86-73 lead with 5:26 left.

Head tallied 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the third quarter - including two 3-pointers - and the Rockets led 74-63 after three.

Houston has won six of its last nine games despite playing without McGrady for the last seven.

Yao Ming had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Rockets, who have won five in a row against the Wizards. Rafer Alston added 15 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists.

The Rockets, who have swept their last two sets of back-to-back games, were playing the first of another such set with a visit to New York on tap for Wednesday night.

UTAH 111, INDIANA 89 --------------------

SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- Carlos Boozer scored 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting to lead the Utah Jazz to an easy 111-89 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

Even without starting forward and defensive stalwart Andrei Kirilenko scratched from the lineup with inflammation in his lower back the Jazz found contributions from practically everyone else on the floor, as eight players scored at least nine points in the rout.

It couldn't have come much easier for Utah in the early-going as they exploded for a 40-point first quarter thanks to a physical attack that the Pacers had no answer for.

The Jazz went to the free-throw line 16 times in the first period alone while forcing an astonishing 10 turnovers by Indiana.

Holding a nine-point lead with four minutes to play in the first, Mehmet Okur who has been struggling all season after an All-Star appearance a year ago kick-started a 16-4 run with a crowd-raising 3-pointer that pushed the lead into double digits for good.

NEW YORK 105, CHICAGO 100 -------------------------

CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Stephon Marbury scored six of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as the struggling New York Knicks ended a six-game losing streak, defeating the Chicago Bulls, 105-100.

Eddy Curry scored a season-high 29 points and Jamal Crawford scored 24 for New York, which also had dropped six in a row on the road.

The Knicks, who avoided their most consecutive losses this season, also snapped a seven-game slide to Chicago here on November 24.

Trailing, 88-77, to begin the final period, the Knicks also were behind 100-95 after Ben Gordon's jumper gave Chicago a lead with 4:16 remaining.

However, New York closed the game on a 10-0 run, taking the lead for good on big-time plays by Marbury.

After Crawford had knotted the contest at 100-100 with 2:29 remaining, Marbury - one of the Knicks' captains - drove the lane from the left side before spinning and feeding David Lee, who dunked on several Bulls' defenders to give the Knicks a two-point lead with 1:59 left.

After both teams went scoreless over the next 1:48, Marbury drilled a 25-foot 3-pointer after a back-tap by Curry as the shot clock expired to give New York a 105-100 lead and drain the life out of the United Center with 11 ticks on the clock.

Jared Jeffries blocked a 3-point attempt by Bulls forward Andres Nocioni with five seconds left to secure the victory.

SACRAMENTO 104, ORLANDO 100 ---------------------------

SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) -- John Salmons led five players in double figures with 21 points as the Sacramento Kings led by as many as 19 in a 104-100 victory over the Orlando Magic at Arco Arena.

Brad Miller scored 20 points and Beno Udrih added 17 for Sacramento, which ended a four-game home losing streak and lowered the Magic's stellar road record to 15-6.

Orlando made it interesting with a 14-3 run midway through the fourth quarter, finished by J.J. Redick's 3-pointer with 3:03 remaining that cut the deficit to 91-83.

Hedo Turkoglu's 3-pointer with 19 seconds left would make it as close as 103-100, but the Kings managed to hang on in the end.






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