The Detroit Pistons ended the Orlando Magic's seven-game winning run and won their fourth successive game with an 88-82 victory on Monday.
Orlando finally come un-Stuck
The Detroit Pistons ended the Orlando Magic's seven-game winning run and won their fourth successive game with an 88-82 victory on Monday. Rodney Stuckey led the Pistons with 19 points as Detroit used their smothering defence and balanced scoring to cool off the Magic (24-7), who have the third-best record in the Eastern Conference.
Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince added 16 points each for the Pistons while Allen Iverson chipped in with 15. Iverson, who joined the Pistons earlier in the season after a trade from the Denver Nuggets, said he thought he was finally adapting to the way Detroit (18-11) win games, which is by playing tight defence and sharing the ball. "This is a different feeling, but I like it a lot," Iverson said. "I've won four scoring titles and I've scored 23,000 points, so I've done a lot of big things when it comes to scoring the basketball, but now I've got different goals.
"I have a different job here, not just scoring points. "This team are all about winning and doing what it takes and that's what I want to do now." The Pistons held Orlando to just 16 points in the final quarter, snuffing out any thoughts of a Magic fight back. "We didn't compete on the defensive end in the first half, and we didn't finish the game," the Orlando coach Stan van Gundy said. "That's not the kind of effort you need to beat a quality team like that."
Rashard Lewis led the Magic with 23 points while Dwight Howard had 18 points and 18 rebounds. "We were able to fight back into the game, but we then turned the ball over and made a lot of mistakes," Lewis said. "We were still fighting, but we couldn't make that one play." Joe Johnson poured in 25 points and Mike Bibby added 20 and nine assists to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 109-91 victory over the Denver Nuggets.
Al Horford recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds and the reserve Ronald Murray added 13 points for Atlanta. Kenyon Martin added 19 points and Chauncey Billups and JR Smith recorded 11 each for Denver. The Washington Wizards staged a 9-0 run late in the fourth quarter then overcame a near-disastrous turnover on their final possession to win 89-87 at the Houston Rockets. Yao Ming misfired from nine feet out as the Wizards won two-in-a-row for the first time this season.
The All-Star forward Antawn Jamison carried the load, collecting 30 points and 12 boards for his 17th double-double of the season. Ron Artest led the Rockets with 20 points, while Tracy McGrady netted 15 on just 6-of-17 shooting. The Utah Jazz welcomed back Mehmet Okur but it was the return of the vintage Deron Williams that carried the team to an easy victory. The star point guard - struggling for the whole season with a sprained left ankle - posted 27 points and six assists, carrying an explosive Jazz attack as they routed the Philadelphia 76ers, 112-95.
Okur - who had missed the last three games due to recurring back spasms - recorded 19 points and 10 boards. The two-time league MVP Steve Nash left late in the first quarter with back spasms but the Phoenix Suns got enough from the rest of their line-up to outlast the Oklahoma City Thunder 110-102. Shaquille O'Neal stepped up with 28 points and 12 boards to lead six players in double figures for Phoenix.
The Chicago Bulls - one of the worst road teams in the NBA - marched into the IZOD Center and added to the New York Nets' misery on their home court with a late fourth-quarter rally in a 100-87 victory. Derrick Rose and Ben Gordon combined for 45 points and 15 assists on 17-of-29 shooting, while the Nets guards Devin Harris and Vince Carter teamed up to score 56. Stephen Jackson scored 30 points and Marco Belinelli added 23 and six assists as the Golden State Warriors held on for a 117-111 victory over the Toronto Raptors.
Kelenna Azubuike scored 18 points off the bench for Golden State, who shot 50 per cent (38-of-76) from the floor. Al Jefferson scored a season-best 38 points, including nine in overtime, as the Minnesota Timberwolves ended their nine-game home losing run with a 108-98 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. * Reuters