Spurs edge slumping Lakers
By RAUL DOMINGUEZ
SAN ANTONIO — Tony Parker scored 24 points and the San Antonio Spurs handed the slumping Los Angeles Lakers their fifth straight loss with a 108-105 victory Wednesday night.
Manu Ginobili added 19 points and Tiago Splitter and Stephen Jackson had 14 each for San Antonio, which has won 11 straight at home.
Kobe Bryant had 27 points, Metta World Peace added 23 and Earl Clark 22 for Los Angeles. Bryant was 10 for 24 from the field, missing a 3-pointer on his final attempt that would have tied the game. Clark missed a follow-up 3 off a long rebound.
Coming off a 125-112 loss at Houston on Tuesday, the Lakers fought until the final buzzer.
Bryant’s 3-pointer pulled Los Angeles to 105-99 with 3:32 remaining. The 3 led to spirited dueling cries of support between a large contingent of Lakers fans seated near the Los Angeles bench and Spurs fans.
Antawn Jamison’s layup pulled the Lakers within 105-102 following a timeout, but Artest missed a layup and 3-pointer on consecutive possessions.
Ginobili hit a 3-pointer that gave the Spurs a six-point lead, but Clark responded with his own 3 to close to 108-105, setting up Bryant’s final attempt.
Parker’s 17-foot jumper gave the Spurs their largest lead at 83-66, but the Lakers quickly pared the 17-point deficit. Artest hit a 3, Bryant made a pair of jumpers and Clark had a 21-foot jumper to pull the Lakers to 83-75 with 49.3 seconds left in the third.
With Lakers big men Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill all missing the game with injuries, San Antonio only managed a 48-40 rebounding advantage.
OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant scored 26 points, Russell Westbrook added 23 and the Oklahoma City Thunder overpowered the outmanned Minnesota Timberwolves 106-84 on Wednesday night.
After losing its last game on a buzzer-beater against a last-place Washington team saddled by injuries to its three top players, Oklahoma City left nothing to chance with the Timberwolves missing All-Star forward Kevin Love and four others.
The Thunder took control with 7-0 run early in the second half and stretched their lead to 24 before pulling Durant, Westbrook and the other starters with 5:44 remaining.
Alexey Shved scored 18 points for Minnesota, which announced earlier in the day that Love would miss eight to 10 weeks after breaking his right hand for the second time.
Nikola Pekovic added 17 points and 10 rebounds in the opener of a four-game road trip for the Timberwolves.
Kevin Martin chipped in 19 points off the bench for Oklahoma City, which had a 12-game winning streak in the series snapped last month in Minnesota.
CELTICS 87, SUNS 79
BOSTON — Jeff Green scored 14 points, rookie Jared Sullinger added 12 points and 16 rebounds, and Boston recovered from a dreadful third quarter, rallying in the fourth to beat Phoenix.
The Celtics survived a scoring drought that spanned almost half of the third quarter, scoring just 14 in the period before regaining the lead and taking command against the road-weary Suns, who fell to 2-16 away from home with their 11th straight road loss.
Jason Terry added 13 points as Boston’s reserves outscored Phoenix’s 47-16. Kevin Garnett was the only Boston starter to score in double figures, finishing with 10 points and five rebounds.
Jared Dudley scored 14 points and Marcin Gortat had 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Suns.
BUCKS 104, BULLS 96
CHICAGO — Brandon Jennings scored 20 of his 35 points in the third quarter and Milwaukee beat Chicago for its second consecutive victory under interim coach Jim Boylan.
Mike Dunleavy had 16 points and Monta Ellis finished with 14 for Milwaukee, which made 10 of 22 3-point attempts. Larry Sanders grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked seven shots.
Carlos Boozer had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulls, who have dropped their last two games against Milwaukee at the United Center. The Bulls blew a 27-point lead in the third quarter as Milwaukee snapped a nine-game losing streak against Chicago with a 93-92 victory on Nov. 26.
Boozer has recorded a double-double in six consecutive games.
NEW ORLEANS — Roger Mason scored 15 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter to rally New Orleans to a victory over Houston.
Greivis Vasquez and Jason Smith each scored 17 points for the Hornets, who have won three in a row for the first time this season. Robin Lopez added 14 points for New Orleans.
James Harden scored 25 points for the Rockets, who had won 10 of 12. Harden, who was held to three points in the final quarter when the Rockets were outscored 28-10, was the only Houston player in double figures.
Eric Gordon struggled with five points on 2-of-12 shooting for the Hornets.
JAZZ 112, BOBCATS 102
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Al Jefferson had 26 points and eight rebounds to lead Utah to its fourth win in five games with a victory over Charlotte.
The Bobcats had no answer for the 6-foot-10 Jefferson, who went 11 of 15 from the field.
Paul Millsap chipped in with 19 points and Gordon Hayward was 4 of 5 from 3-point range for 14 points as the Jazz made light work of the Bobcats’ zone defense, shooting 54 percent from the field.
Ben Gordon led six Bobcats in double figures, scoring 20 points. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 15 points and eight rebounds, while Gerald Henderson, Ramon Sessions and Kemba Walker each had 14 points for Charlotte.
RAPTORS 90, 76ERS 72
TORONTO — Amir Johnson had 19 points and 12 rebounds, Jose Calderon added 14 points and 11 assists, and Toronto beat Philadelphia, sending the slumping 76ers to their fifth straight loss.
Landry Fields set season highs with 10 points and 11 rebounds. DeMar DeRozan scored 19 and Ed Davis had 17 for the Raptors, who had lost six of their previous seven meetings with Philadelphia, including three straight.
Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young each scored 16 points, and Evan Turner had 10 as the Sixers lost for the 13th time in their last 16 games. Philadelphia has played 12 of its past 16 on the road, winning just twice.
CAVS 99, HAWKS 83
CLEVELAND — Kyrie Irving scored 18 of his 33 points in the third quarter to lead injury-riddled Cleveland over Atlanta.
Irving’s big night came at a perfect time for Cleveland, which had lost five of six overall and six straight at home. The margin of victory was Cleveland’s biggest of the season.
Josh Smith scored 17 points to lead Atlanta, which has lost a season-worst four straight.
Alonzo Gee scored 15 points for Cleveland, while Tristan Thompson added 11 points and 14 rebounds. Rookie Tyler Zeller scored 11 points and had a career-high 12 rebounds.
Jeff Teague added 15 points and Al Horford scored 14 for Atlanta.
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