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Friday, Feb. 4, 2011

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Hands-on defense: Jason Kidd of the Mavericks backs down New York's Toney Douglas in the first half on Wednesday night. Dallas beat the Knicks 113-97. AP PHOTO

Cavaliers lose 22nd straight

CLEVELAND (AP) So close. So tantalizingly close.

That's about as good as the Cleveland Cavaliers can hope for these days.

Their long losing streak is almost history.

Cleveland's slide reached 22 straight — one shy of the NBA's single-season record — as Danny Granger scored 23 points and Darren Collison added 22 to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 117-112 win over the Cavs, still winless in 2011 and losers of 32 of 33.

"We're disappointed. It's frustrating," forward Anthony Parker said. "We had opportunities to win and we came up short. We've got to find a way to get it done."

Unless they can prevail on Friday in Memphis, Cleveland (8-41) will match the league's all-time mark for consecutive futility, a record shared by the 1995-96 expansion Vancouver Grizzlies and 1997-98 Denver Nuggets, who each dropped 23 in a row.

Cavs coach Byron Scott played on that dreadful Vancouver team. He's now coaching one that could soon be equally as pathetic.

"It hurts," Scott said. "When you lose games it hurts, especially when you give yourself an opportunity to win, it hurts that much more. We had an opportunity."

Ramon Sessions scored 25 points and Antawn Jamison had 21 for Cleveland.

Thunder 104, Hornets 93

In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant continued a scoring tear with 43 points and 10 rebounds and led a key fourth-quarter run and the Thunder beat New Orleans.

Durant eclipsed 40 points for the third time in four games, and he leads the NBA with five 40-point games this season.

Mavericks 113, Knicks 97

In New York, Dirk Nowitzki had 29 points and 11 rebounds, and Dallas took control in the third quarter before beating the hosts for its sixth straight victory.

Rockets 97, Jazz 96

In Salt Lake City, Kevin Martin scored on a three-point play with 6.9 seconds left and finished with 22 points to lead Houston over Utah.

Grizzlies 102, T-Wolves 84

In Minneapolis, Rudy Gay had 22 points, seven assists and seven rebounds, and Zach Randolph added 23 points and 13 rebounds to lead Memphis over the hosts.

Bobcats 97, Pistons 87

In Auburn Hills, Mich., Stephen Jackson scored a season-high 39 points and Charlotte beat Detroit.

Suns 92, Bucks 77

In Phoenix, Marcin Gortat had 19 points and 11 rebounds and the Suns handed Milwaukee its 23rd consecutive loss in the Valley of the Sun.

Nuggets 109, Trail Blazers 90

In Denver, Nene had 22 points and 10 rebounds, Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups scored 20 points each and the Nuggets beat Portland.

76ers 106, Nets 92

In Newark, N.J., Lou Williams scored 26 points and Jrue Holiday had 11 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for his first career triple-double to lead Philadelphia over the hosts.

Hawks 100, Raptors 87

In Atlanta, Joe Johnson scored a season-high 37 points, Josh Smith had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and the Hawks handed Toronto its 13th straight loss.

Bulls 106, Clippers 88

In Los Angeles, Derrick Rose scored 32 points and Chicago beat the Clippers for its sixth straight victory, snapping the hosts' nine-game home winning streak.

Luol Deng scored 26 points and Boozer added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, whose 34-14 start is their best since 1997-98.

Blake Griffin led Los Angeles with 32 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.

Team for London?

LONDON (AP) NBA great Clyde Drexler can foresee a league franchise being based in London, maybe even within the next decade.

"Clyde the Glide," in the British capital to help promote the first regular-season NBA games to be played in London in March, said Wednesday that basketball has proven itself in Europe and expansion to the continent may just be a matter of time.

"If the demand continues, that could actually happen," Drexler said. "We're probably 10 years or so away, but that is not too farsighted to happen."

The NBA has played preseason games in London for the past four years, packing fans into the O2 Arena. Late last year, the league decided it was time to emulate the NHL and NFL, both of which have played regular-season games in London.

The Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets will play a pair of games at the O2 on March 4-5.

"Basketball is a global sport," said Drexler, who spent more than a decade playing for the Portland Trail Blazers. "There's a demand around the world, and David Stern our commissioner is trying to facilitate that demand."

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