Ray Allen re-discovered his long-range shooting to help the Boston Celtics beat the Charlotte Bobcats 108-90 on Tuesday for their fifth consecutive victory. The All-Star guard had been shooting just 30 per cent from beyond the three-point line, but made five of six shots from that distance to end the game with 27 points.
"Ray made shots early. When your shooter makes shots, the floor opens a little bit more for you," said the Celtics' coach, Doc Rivers. "It's really all a body thing, just getting your legs in the air and being consistent," said Allen of his improved shooting. Kendrick Perkins added 21 points and 12 rebounds for Boston while Nazr Mohammed had 16 points for the Bobcats, whose four-game winning streak was ended in convincing fashion.
The Los Angeles Lakers breezed to a 110-99 victory over the New Orleans Hornets as the defending champions eased to their seventh straight win. Andrew Bynum had 21 points and nine rebounds and Kobe Bryant added 18 before sitting out the fourth quarter as the Lakers improved to a league-best 14-3. "We made it look kind of easy out there tonight," Bynum said. "It's because we played great defence in the second quarter and that's what separated us. We've been getting to the weak side and really closing the gap."
The Lakers have held opponents under 100 points in each of the seven wins. "I thought we played three quarters of pretty good basketball," said the Lakers' coach, Phil Jackson. A 34-25 fourth quarter enabled the Washington Wizards to come from behind and defeat the Toronto Raptors 106-102. Antawn Jamison had 30 points and 12 rebounds, while Gilbert Arenas had 22 points and nine assists for Washington.
"We've got confidence in him," Jamison said of Arenas, who has been limited to just 15 games the past two years because of knee problems. "We know he's going to find a way to get out of it and make us a better team and start being his old self again, too." Chris Bosh also had 22, while Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon managed 20 apiece for the Raptors, who have lost their last four games. Danilo Gallinari had 27 points and 10 rebounds as the New York Knicks beat the Phoenix Suns 126-99.
The result stopped a five-game losing streak and came against a team who had won four matches in a row. "It means a lot when you play against a team who play your game andare at the top of the list, because they have the best record," said Gallinari. * With agencies