76ers hand Pistons 12th straight loss
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — The Detroit Pistons played with lackluster effort for a half against the Philadelphia 76ers, leading their first-year coach to criticize their intensity and at least one player to agree with him.
Elton Brand matched a season high with 25 points and was one of six double-digit scorers for Philadelphia in a 104-94 victory over the Pistons last night.
"I thought we were passive at times," Detroit coach John Kuester said.
That seemed surprising because Detroit has lost 12 straight in its worst slump since April 1994.
"It's very discouraging that we had no sense of urgency — none — in the first half," Charlie Villanueva said. "We were down 26 to the Philadelphia 76ers, not to take anything away from them. We played with some fight in the second half, but it was too late."
Allen Iverson didn't make his relatively anticipated return to The Palace, drawing boos from the crowd when it was announced he would not play because of an injured left knee. Iverson had a short and unsuccessful stint with Detroit last season after it acquired him from Denver for Chauncey Billups to create salary-cap space and playing time for Rodney Stuckey.
The Sixers (11-25) have been slightly worse than Detroit (11-24) this season, but they were easily good enough to win the lackluster matchup.
Reserves Ben Gordon scored 20 points to lead the Pistons. Gordon's jumper with 3:51 left in the first half was the 10 millionth point in NBA history.
MAGIC 113, HAWKS 81
J.J. Redick scored 17 points in place of an injured Vince Carter (mild separation of left shoulder) and host Orlando ended a four-game losing streak to stay atop the Southeast Division, 1 1/2 games ahead of Atlanta.
Orlando (25-12) had lost four straight games — all to teams that had losing records — for the first time since February 2007.
BOBCATS 89, GRIZZLIES 87
Gerald Wallace tipped in Raymond Felton's missed shot at the buzzer to lift host Charlotte over Memphis. After O.J. Mayo's 3-pointer tied it, Felton drove to the basket. His floater didn't hit iron, but Wallace leaped over Zach Randolph and tipped it in.
Felton scored 19 points and Wallace had 18 points and eight rebounds for the Bobcats, who won for the fourth time in five games to improve to 13-4 at home.
BULLS 110, TIMBERWOLVES 96
Joakim Noah had 20 points and nine rebounds, and Tyrus Thomas hit a jumper for a 34-33 lead early in the second quarter and Chicago never trailed again in beating Minnesota to snap a three-game losing streak.
The Bulls coasted despite a quiet night from Derrick Rose, who finished with eight points on 3-for-7 shooting. Rose came in averaging 24.4 points and 6.8 assists in his last 10 games.
ROCKETS 105, KNICKS 96
Luis Scola scored 23 points, Aaron Brooks added 20 and host Houston snapped a three-game losing streak with a victory over New York. David Lee had 26 points and 12 rebounds for the Knicks, who had a three-game winning streak snapped.
Chase Budinger hit back-to-back jumpers for an 84-80 lead with 10:26 left to play and the Rockets never trailed again.
THUNDER 108, PACERS 102
Kevin Durant matched his season high with 40 points, helping host Oklahoma City turn back Indiana. Russell Westbrook added 18 points for the Thunder (20-16), who are three wins shy of matching their total from last season.
In his second game after returning from a heel injury, Danny Granger scored 25 points to lead Indiana, which has lost nine straight road games and is 3-16 away from home this season.
JAZZ 111, MAVERICKS 93
Deron Williams had 20 points and nine assists in his return to the lineup and Carlos Boozer added 15 points as visiting Utah beat Dallas. Williams missed the previous two games because of a bruised right wrist.
The Mavs played without forwards Josh Howard (left thigh contusion) and Drew Gooden (sprained his right ring finger).
KINGS 102, NUGGETS 100
Tyreke Evans made the tiebreaking jumper with 0.7 seconds left and scored 27 points, and host Sacramento beat Denver to snap a season-high, five-game losing streak.
Evans' 10-footer over Kenyon Martin capped a wild fourth quarter where the lead changed hands frequently. J.R. Smith missed a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer. Denver played its fifth straight game without injured star Carmelo Anthony because of a knee injury.