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Friday, Dec. 3, 2010

Rockets hand Lakers fourth straight defeat

HOUSTON (AP) The Los Angeles Lakers have lost four straight for the first time since April 2007.

News photo
Obstruction: Orlando's Jameer Nelson looks to pass under pressure from Chicago's Joakim Noah on Wednesday. The Magic beat the Bulls 107-78. AP PHOTO

Their latest loss, a 109-99 defeat by the injury-depleted Houston Rockets on Wednesday night, prompted a reporter to ask Kobe Bryant if the Lakers have considered that they aren't as good as they think they are.

"How do you know how good we think we are? We're fine," an obviously annoyed Bryant said. "Are we going to win a three-peat today? Probably not, but the (expletive) is not played today."

Kevin Martin scored 22 points and Shane Battier added 11 of his 17 in the final three minutes for the Rockets.

Bryant led Los Angeles with 27 points.

Thunder 123, Nets 120 (3OT)

In Newark, N.J., Russell Westbrook capped a 38-point, 15-rebound performance by scoring all of Oklahoma City's 13 points in the third overtime as the Thunder overcame the absence of injured Kevin Durant with a win over New Jersey.

Brook Lopez led the Nets with 28 points and 11 rebounds.

Magic 107, Bulls 78

In Chicago, Jameer Nelson scored 24 points as Orlando spoiled the Bulls debut of forward Carlos Boozer.

Celtics 99, Blazers 95

In Boston, Ray Allen missed his first five 3-point attempts before hitting one with 10.7 seconds left to help the Celtics hold off a late charge by Portland.

Paul Pierce scored 28 points, Kevin Garnett had 17 points and eight rebounds, and Rajon Rondo had 10 points and 10 for the Celtics.

Heat 97, Pistons 72

In Miami, LeBron James scored 18 points in the final game before he heads back to Cleveland as an opponent, while Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh each added 16 for the Heat.

Mavericks 100, T-Wolves 86

In Dallas, Shawn Marion scored 16 points as the Mavericks posted their seventh consecutive victory.

Raptors 127, Wizards 108

In Toronto, DeMar DeRozan scored 20 points while Andrea Bargnani and Sonny Weems each had 18 as the Raptors set a season high in points.

Hawks 112, Grizzlies 109

In Atlanta, the Hawks had six players score in double figures, including a season-high 16 points off the bench by Josh Powell, to overcome the loss of injured Joe Johnson, the team's four-time All-Star and top scorer.

Hornets 89, Bobcats 73

In New Orleans, David West scored 22 points and the Hornets beat Charlotte to end a two-game skid.

Nuggets 105, Bucks 94

In Denver, Nene scored 24 points and the Nuggets weathered the third-quarter ejection of Carmelo Anthony to beat Milwaukee for their season-best fifth consecutive win.

Jazz 110, Pacers 88

In Salt Lake City, Deron Williams had 24 points and 16 assists, and fueled a 35-point first quarter as Utah beat Indiana.

Clippers 90, Spurs 85

In Los Angeles, Blake Griffin had 31 points and 13 rebounds, Eric Gordon added 21 points and the Clippers ended an 18-game skid against San Antonio.

LeBron plot thickens

CLEVELAND (AP) Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert insists he has moved on from LeBron James. But on to what?

Gilbert has reportedly enlisted a law firm to investigate the circumstances leading to James leaving Cleveland to sign with the Miami Heat this summer.

Yahoo Sports reported on Wednesday that Gilbert has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to a Midwestern law firm to investigate suspicions that the Heat broke NBA tampering rules while pursuing James, who left the Cavs after seven seasons to join fellow stars Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in Miami.

The timing of the report is interesting since James will return to play in Cleveland for the first time on Thursday night, in what promises to be a hostile Quicken Loans Arena.

On Tuesday, Gilbert, who was highly critical of James following the superstar's televised announcement in July, was asked about his emotions heading into the reunion with the two-time league MVP.

"I'm over it," he said. "I really am. That's the truth. I let it all out in about 24 hours. I just think we have such a great core and a great coaching staff. We have a lot of opportunities with the trade exception and the draft. I feel good about this team."

Team spokesman Tad Carper said Wednesday night the Cavaliers are declining comment on the Yahoo report, which citing anonymous league sources, says Gilbert plans to present NBA commissioner David Stern with a detailed case with the hopes of launching a tampering investigation.

According to Yahoo's sources, Gilbert will spare no expense to uncover whatever evidence he can to take to the league office and that law firm staff includes several former prosecutors with backgrounds in investigating and constructing cases.

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