Orlando spoils LeBron's return

Posted: Wednesday, February 02, 2005

ORLANDO, Fla. — Steve Francis scored 30 points and tied a season high with 13 assists, and the Orlando Magic beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 105-102 on Tuesday night to spoil LeBron James' return.

Grant Hill scored 21 for the Magic, who have won seven of their last eight home games.

Nets 107, Bulls 97

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Jacque Vaughn moved into the starting lineup and tied his career high with 23 points, and Jason Kidd narrowly missed the 62nd triple-double of his career in New Jersey's victory over Chicago Bulls.

Kidd had 26 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, and Vince Carter had 31 points, six assists and five rebounds for the Nets, who won their season-high fourth in a row.

Pistons 105, Wizards 96

WASHINGTON — Chauncey Billups scored 11 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and Detroit closed with a 20-11 run to win its fourth straight.

Billups helped break open a close game with a pair of three-point efforts: He converted a steal and layup into a three-point play with 5:10 to go, then hit a double-clutch 3-pointer at the shot clock buzzer with 4:29 left to put the Pistons ahead 92-85.

Grizzlies 108, Suns 97

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Jason Williams scored 19 points and had eight assists to lift short-handed Memphis over Phoenix.

Memphis had seven players score in double figures and shot 12-of-23 from 3-point range in ending the Suns' five-game winning streak. Memphis has won three straight and five of six.

Mavericks 109, Heat 104

DALLAS — Dirk Nowitzki and Jerry Stackhouse got rolling in the final five minutes, just about the time the Dallas defense found a way to throttle Shaquille O'Neal and Miami.

The Heat, who had won three straight, led 97-91 and had held the Mavs to just one field goal the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter when everything changed on both ends of the court.

Bucks 91, Timberwolves 86

MILWAUKEE — Michael Redd scored 19 points, Joe Smith added 17, and Milwaukee held off Minnesota.

Toni Kukoc provided a huge lift with nine points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals in his first start in almost three seasons for the Bucks, who had lost 10 straight to the Timberwolves since winning in Minnesota on March 28, 1999.

Bobcats 109, Jazz 105

SALT LAKE CITY — Gerald Wallace scored 28 points and helped rally Charlotte from an 11-point deficit to its second road win in team history.

Brevin Knight added 21 points and eight assists, and Jason Kapono had 12 points for the Bobcats, who trailed 89-78 in the fourth quarter but improved to 2-19 on the road.

Nuggets 96, Knicks 76

DENVER — Kenyon Martin scored a season-high 27 points, Carmelo Anthony added 19 and Denver earned its third consecutive victory under new coach George Karl by beating free-falling New York.

Martin followed a 25-point game against Indiana with an 11-for-17 shooting performance to help Karl win his home debut in Denver. He received a nice ovation when he walked onto the court, then improved to 3-0 since taking over for interim coach Michael Cooper.

SuperSonics 106, Kings 101

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Ronald Murray scored a season-high 23 points in place of ill leading scorer Ray Allen, and Seattle defeated Sacramento.

Rashard Lewis added 24 points, and the Sonics finished with six players in double figures to end a four-game losing streak at Arco Arena. Seattle hadn't won in Sacramento since Feb. 17, 2002.

Lakers 92, Trail Blazers 79

LOS ANGELES — Hours after learning that coach Rudy Tomjanovich was thinking about resigning, the Los Angeles Lakers beat Portland behind Caron Butler's 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Chucky Atkins added 19 points and eight assists, and Lamar Odom scored 18 points for the Lakers, who won their second straight after a season-high, three-game skid.

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