Brooks scores 31 to ignite Rockets
Don't tell the Houston Rockets they are out of the playoff picture just yet.
Aaron Brooks swished a jumper with 2.9 seconds left and scored 31 points to help the host Rockets rally for a 125-123 victory over Denver last night, snapping the Nuggets' six-game winning streak.
Carmelo Anthony scored 45 points for the Nuggets, but missed a 3-point try at the buzzer. Luis Scola grabbed the final rebound and finished with 23 points and 11 boards.
Houston, now five games behind Portland in the race for the last Western Conference playoff spot, has won three in a row for the first time since mid-December.
"We don't have much room for error," said Scola, who was coming off a career-high, 44-point game. "It's only like a month away, the end of the season, so we need to win games."
Scola converted a key three-point play with 41 seconds remaining to put Houston ahead 122-121.
Brooks split two free throws before Anthony drove past Shane Battier for a layup to tie it at 123. Brooks then dribbled around Anthony Carter, a University of Hawai'i alum, and hit the go-ahead shot from the right of the free-throw line.
"I wanted to get some space first," Brooks said. "I knew it wasn't going to be all the way to the rim. I thought it would probably be a floater before I got to the rim. I tried to get open and get a shot off."
Kevin Martin scored 29 points for Houston. Chauncey Billups and J.R. Smith added 17 apiece for the Nuggets.
Lakers 124, Warriors 121: Kobe Bryant scored 29 points and Pau Gasol added 26 to lead visiting Los Angeles to its ninth straight victory over Golden State. The Lakers led by 11 late in the fourth quarter but barely held on for the victory. It wasn't sealed until Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis missed 3-pointers in the final seconds. Ellis' last-ditch attempt bounced on the rim three times before falling aside at the buzzer. Curry scored 29 points for the Warriors, who have lost seven of eight.
Celtics 119, Pistons 93: Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Michael Finley scored 15 points apiece, and Kevin Garnett had 14 points and eight rebounds to help host Boston coast past Detroit. Boston rested its starters in the fourth quarter while beating up on a non-contender for the second straight home game.
Jazz 112, Wizards 89: Carlos Boozer scored 23 points, Deron Williams notched his 35th double-double of the season, and host Utah ended a two-game losing streak by beating Washington. Williams finished with 17 points and 11 assists, and keyed a 17-6 run at the start of the third quarter that turned the game into a rout.
Hornets 108, Clippers 100: David West scored 24 points and New Orleans snapped a seven-game road losing streak, completing a four-game season sweep of the Clippers. Darren Collison had 18 points and 14 assists. The Clippers lost their eighth straight game.
Knicks 94, 76ers 84: Danilo Gallinari scored 21 points, Toney Douglas added 20 and visiting New York won its second straight on the road by rallying past struggling Philadelphia. Al Harrington contributed 15, Tracy McGrady scored 14, and Wilson Chandler had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Knicks. The Sixers have dropped five in a row and 10 of their last 11.