Blake's big game keys Blazer win
PORTLAND, Ore. — An injury-ravaged opponent and a team eager to run proved to be a record-setting combination for Portland's Steve Blake.
Blake tied an NBA record for assists in one quarter when he handed out 14 during the first period in the Blazers' 116-87 win over the Los Angeles Clippers yesterday. San Antonio's John Lucas set the record of 14 assists during the second quarter against Denver on April 15, 1984.
"I took a peek and saw I was getting up there, so I was happy guys kept making shots for me," said Blake, who finished with 17 assists. "When it comes to assists, your teammates have to make shots, and they did that for me."
With Portland running against a Clippers' team down by six players due to injury, Blake took advantage of the fast-paced start the Blazers created. During one stretch during the first quarter, Blake had assists on nine consecutive baskets, including five passes that led to dunks by LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Joel Przybilla.
"When I run the floor like that and Blake passes you the ball like that, what can you do?" said Aldridge, who finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds.
The Clippers were without starting forwards Zach Randolph and Al Thornton. Randolph served the second game of a two-game suspension for punching Phoenix's Louis Amundson on Feb. 17. Thornton, out with a sore right foot, missed his first game of the season.
The Clippers were also missing forward Marcus Camby (ear infection), center Chris Kaman (left foot), forward Brian Skinner (right foot) and guard Mike Taylor (right thumb). Beyond that, starting guard Baron Davis played with a painful toe injury.
CELTICS 128, SUNS 108
PHOENIX — Rajon Rondo scored a career-high 32 points to go with 10 assists on his 23rd birthday and Boston didn't need Kevin Garnett to beat Phoenix. Ray Allen scored 31 and Paul Pierce 26 in Boston's first game since Garnett went down with a strained muscle in his right knee that is expected to sideline him for at least two weeks.
LAKERS 111, TIMBERWOLVES 108
MINNEAPOLIS — Kobe Bryant scored 28 points to move past Elgin Baylor into 20th place on the NBA's career scoring list with 23,164 points as Los Angeles outlasted Minnesota. Lamar Odom had 25 points and 14 rebounds, and Pau Gasol added 25 points for the Lakers.
CAVALIERS 99, PISTONS 78
CLEVELAND — Delonte West scored 25 points in his first game since mid-January and LeBron James added 20, leading Cleveland over Detroit. West, sidelined since Jan. 15 with a fractured right wrist, was 8 of 11 from the field and made all five of his 3-point attempts.
RAPTORS 111, KNICKS 100
TORONTO — Andrea Bargnani had 28 points and 10 rebounds to help Toronto beat New York. Each of the Toronto starters reached double figures and four of the five had double-doubles.
MAGIC 122, HEAT 99
ORLANDO, Fla. — Dwight Howard had 32 points and 17 rebounds, and Orlando withstood a career-high 50 points by Dwyane Wade to rout Miami. Hedo Turkoglu had 20 points and Rafer Alston added 12 points and nine assists for the Magic, who have won 12 of the past 15 games against Miami.
PACERS 98, BULLS 91
INDIANAPOLIS — Troy Murphy had a season-high 27 points and Indiana survived a second-half stretch of 11 minutes without a field goal to beat Chicago.
BUCKS 120, NUGGETS 117
MILWAUKEE — Charlie Villanueva scored nine of his season-high 36 points in the fourth quarter to help Milwaukee beat Denver.
ROCKETS 99, BOBCATS 78
HOUSTON — Ron Artest scored 26 points and Yao Ming added 19 points and seven rebounds as Houston beat Charlotte.