Bloodied Okafor helps Bobcats compile first winning streak

Posted: Sunday, December 19, 2004

CHARLOTTE, N.C. —Bloodied in the final seconds of overtime, Emeka Okafor battled for a critical loose ball that helped the expansion Charlotte Bobcats secure their first winning streak with a 101-100 victory over the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.

Okafor also had 23 points and 17 rebounds, his 12th consecutive game in double figures in both categories.

Keith Bogans finished with 19 points, Gerald Wallace had 15, and Jamal Sampson had 11 rebounds for the Bobcats, who won their second straight game and fifth consecutive at the Charlotte Coliseum.

Magic 117, Nuggets 95

ORLANDO, Fla. —Cuttino Mobley scored 19 points to lead a balanced attack, and Orlando snapped a three-game losing streak by beating weary and wounded Denver.

Orlando shot a season-high 58.1 percent, had six players score in double figures, and tied its season best with 30 assists.

Dwight Howard broke out of a slump by scoring 17 points on 5-of-5 shooting, including four dunks. In the previous two games, he shot 3-for-17 from the field.

Howard also had nine rebounds, falling one short of his eighth double-double.

Trail Blazers 75, Pistons 74

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. —Darius Miles made a free throw with 0.5 seconds remaining, lifting Portland over Detroit.

Nick Van Exel led Portland with 14 points, and Miles added 13.

Rasheed Wallace had 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Chauncey Billups finished with 16. Richard Hamilton scored 11, but missed 19 of 22 shots.

Billups tied the game with a 3-pointer with 7.8 seconds left, but Ben Wallace was called for a foul after colliding with Miles, who was driving to the basket.

Celtics 114, Cavaliers 107, OT

CLEVELAND —Paul Pierce scored 34 points and Gary Payton made a crucial 3-pointer and three free throws in the final 1:17 to help Boston snap Cleveland's nine-game, home-winning streak.

Payton's 3-pointer from the left wing came 14 seconds after LeBron James fouled out, leaving the Cavaliers without their leading scorer when they needed him most.

Without James, who scored 31 points, the Cavs stood around and continually misfired in the final minute.

Suns 110, Wizards 96

PHOENIX —Shawn Marion had a season-high 36 points and 14 rebounds, and Quentin Richardson added 19 points for the Suns.

Leading scorer Amare Stoudemire got in foul trouble and had just eight points in 22 minutes for Phoenix, snapping his team-best streak of double-digit games at 53. But Steven Hunter filled in, tying his career high with 17 points, including two putbacks late in the game that locked up the Suns' eighth straight win and franchise-best 17th win in 18 games.

Bulls 85, Pacers 71

CHICAGO —Eddy Curry had season highs with 23 points and 13 rebounds, and Chicago earned its first three-game winning streak in two years.

The Bulls last had a three-game winning streak in December 2002, but haven't won four in a row since 1998 when their last championship team ran off 13 straight victories.

The Pacers, 5-9 since the suspensions of Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O'Neal following a brawl in Detroit, stayed close behind the play of Jamaal Tinsley.

76ers 116, Bucks 97

MILWAUKEE —Allen Iverson scored a season-high 54 points, including his 15,000th career point, and Philadelphia won for the fourth time in five games.

It was the seventh time in Iverson's nine-year career that he scored at least 50 points in a regular-season game, and he has done it three times in the playoffs.

His career-high is 58 points against Houston in an overtime game on Jan. 15, 2002, and the 54 points tied his second-highest scoring total in a regular-season game.

Mavericks 90, Hawks 68

DALLAS —Dirk Nowitzki overcame the loss of his front teeth to produce 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Dallas held Atlanta to just 28 first-half points.

Atlanta opened with seven straight misses and made just one of its first 15 shots. The Hawks didn't get a basket from a starter until there was 1:23 left in the first quarter and finished the period with just 12 points. They had 16 in the second quarter, the last two coming on foul shots with 0.5 seconds left, giving them just 28 at halftime for the fourth time in franchise history.

Spurs 104, Warriors 85

SAN ANTONIO —Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili each scored 21 points, including 15 straight in the second quarter, in leading San Antonio over Golden State.

Tim Duncan added 12 points for the Spurs, who extended their winning streak to four games and beat the Warriors for the 15th straight time at home.

Jason Richardson led the Warriors with 22 points, 16 in the first half.

The Spurs had a 21-13 edge in fastbreak points against the quicker Warriors, but only after overcoming a lethargic start.

Troy Murphy had 17 points, and Speedy Claxton added 16 for the Warriors.

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