Ginobili returns in style with 22 points while champions Lakers continue disappointing record against Bobcats in a lop-sided 109-89 defeat.
Spurned Ginobili Spurs a big win over Nets on road
The San Antonio Spurs cruised to a 102-85 victory over the New Jersey Nets at Newark to continue their successful trip away from home.
Manu Ginobili returned to the starting line-up with 22 points, one game after coming off the bench for the first time this season, and Tim Duncan added 15 points and 11 rebounds to help the Spurs run their league-best record to 46-9.
San Antonio also improved to 6-2 on their nine-game road trip which concludes in Chicago against the Bulls on Thursday. "On the road you play those teams, you know you're supposed to win," Spurs point guard Tony Parker said after collecting 13 points and seven assists.
"It's very important to jump on them and start aggressive and make sure you get an early lead." Following a disappointing loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday, the Spurs' only defeat in the last seven games, coach Gregg Popovich shook things up by starting George Hill in place of Ginobili.
The move sparked San Antonio to a blowout win over the Washington Wizards a day later. Back in the lineup against New Jersey, Ginobili scored the Spurs' first eight points of the fourth quarter to cap a 16-2 run that gave San Antonio a 20-point lead.
The Nets (17-39) struggled offensively and fell to a seventh loss in their last 10 games. Brook Lopez recorded 11 points and 10 rebounds and Travis Outlaw added 11 points but New Jersey shot just 34 percent from the field. "We can't shoot 34 percent and expect to win a game like this against this team," Nets coach Avery Johnson said.
Bobcats 109, Lakers 89
Gerald Wallace had 20 points and 11 rebounds as the Charlotte Bobcats routed the Los Angeles Lakers 109-89 to extend one of the more bizarre one-sided matchups in the NBA.
Gerald Henderson added 18 points for the Bobcats, who have won eight of the past 10 meetings with the defending NBA champions.
The Lakers have a winning record against every team except the Boston Celtics and the Bobcats. And this time it wasn't even close.
While Kobe Bryant scored 20 points, he missed 11 of his first 16 shots as he played despite an illness that kept him from shootaround.
Angry Lakers coach Phil Jackson used all but one full timeout before the fourth quarter, but couldn't prevent the Lakers from their most lopsided loss of the season.
Hawks 94, Pistons 79
At Auburn Hills, Josh Smith had 27 points and 14 rebounds as the Hawks rallied for a victory over the Pistons.
Atlanta trailed by as many as 15 points in the second quarter but held the Pistons to 28 percent shooting in the second half as they pulled away to win.
Mike Bibby added 17 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the Hawks, while Marvin Williams had 15 points.
Detroit had five players score in double figures, but Tracy McGrady led the Pistons with just 14. Detroit scored only 28 points in the second half as it lost for the fourth time in five games.
The Pistons made their first six 3-point attempts before Charlie Villanueva missed early in the second quarter, and didn't commit their first turnover until moments later.
Trail Blazers 95, Timberwolves 81
At Minneapolis, Wesley Matthews had 23 points while LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 to lead the Trail Blazers to a victory over the Timberwolves.
Dante Cunningham had career highs with 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Blazers, who have now won 16 straight games against the Timberwolves and five in a row overall, their longest winning streak of the season.
Kevin Love finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds, just barely extending his double-double streak to 41 games, the longest since Moses Malone had 44 in a row in the 1982-83 season. He only attempted seven shots and was outworked all night by Cunningham and Aldridge. Martell Webster led the Wolves with 17 points.
Bucks 102, Clippers 78
At Milwaukee, Carlos Delfino scored 21 of his 26 points in the second half and made a career-high seven 3-pointers to lead the Bucks to a victory over the Clippers.
Everyone pitched in for the short-handed Bucks, who came in losers of seven of the last eight.
John Salmons added 16 points and tied a career-high with 12 assists for Milwaukee, Brandon Jennings scored 20 points to match his best performance since returning from surgery and Luc Mbah a Moute finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Mbah a Moute did an admirable job trying to slow Clippers' star Blake Griffin, who still finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.
The Clippers have one win from seven matches to start their 11-game, 21-day road trip.
Rockets 121, Nuggets 102
At Houston, Courtney Lee scored 22 points and Shane Battier added 17 as Houston shot well from 3-point range and controlled Carmelo Anthony in a win over Denver.
Aaron Brooks had 18 points off the bench and Luis Scola added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Rockets, who shook off a bad offensive start to go 14-for-32 from 3-point range (44 percent) and beat the Nuggets for the second time in a week. Houston won 108-103 in Denver last Monday, despite Anthony's 50 points.
Anthony scored 16 points on 4-for-14 shooting and didn't leave the bench in the fourth quarter. He was held under 20 points for the first time in nine games.