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Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010

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Hot potato: Denver's Carmelo Anthony loses the ball during the Nuggets' 100-98 loss to the Bobcats on Tuesday. AP PHOTO

Mavericks reserves jump on rare chance

DALLAS (AP) With starting center Tyson Chandler missing the morning shootaround because of a stomach bug, third-stringer Ian Mahinmi was told to be ready because the Dallas Mavericks were going to need his athleticism to keep pace with the Golden State Warriors.

Fourth-stringer Alexis Ajinca? He was just hoping to pitch in.

The pair of French big men ended up playing a huge role in the Mavericks' 105-100 victory Tuesday night. Mahinmi had 12 points and a career-high 10 rebounds and Ajinca had three points and a career-high six rebounds to lift Dallas to its 10th straight victory.

"Hard work pays," Mahinmi said. "We're going to keep doing that. It's great for both of us."

Dirk Nowitzki scored 25 points, Jason Terry had 20 and Caron Butler 19 for the Mavericks, but that's expected. Coach Rick Carlisle couldn't have predicted how active, energetic and productive the two deep reserves were, especially considering how little they had played.

Mahinmi logged 21 minutes, including the entire fourth quarter, after having been used only 39 minutes all season. Ajinca went from three minutes all season to nine, all coming after fill-in starter Brendan Haywood and Mahinmi were on the bench with two fouls apiece.

Mahinmi and Ajinca were active on both ends of the court, energizing the building and the bench. Every time they went to the rim, the Mavericks who weren't in the game stood with as much anticipation as anyone else in the arena.

Stephen Curry scored 21 points for Golden State, which lost for the ninth time in 10 games.

Bobcats 100, Nuggets 98

In Charlotte, Stephen Jackson scored 23 points as Charlotte held off Denver to deny Nuggets coach George Karl his 1,000th NBA win.

Returning to North Carolina where he played in college and going up against his longtime friend and fellow former Tar Heel Larry Brown, Karl had hoped to become the seventh coach of the 1,000-win club.

Chauncey Billups scored 25 points and Carmelo Anthony added 22 points and seven rebounds for Denver, which had won seven straight.

Hawks 116, Nets 101

In Atlanta, Josh Smith scored a season-high 34 points to lead the streaking Hawks to another victory.

76ers 117, Cavaliers 97

In Philadelphia, Thaddeus Young had a season-high 26 points as the Sixers downed Cleveland to pick up their fourth win in five games.

Rockets 97, Pistons 83

In Houston, Luis Scola had 35 points and 12 rebounds to help the Rockets spoil Tracy McGrady's return to Houston.

McGrady, who spent 5 1/2 seasons with the Rockets, finished with 11 points. Rodney Stuckey had 18 points and five assists for Detroit.

Trail Blazers 106, Suns 99

In Portland, Wesley Matthews scored 24 points, Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 apiece and the Trail Blazers rallied to beat Phoenix, snapping the Suns' three-game winning streak.

Lakers 115, Wizards 108

In Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant scored 32 points, Lamar Odom added 24 points and seven rebounds, and the Lakers held on to beat Washington for the eighth straight time.

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