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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Rose powers Bulls past Wizards

WASHINGTON (AP) In the first quarter, Derrick Rose brought out the oohs and aahs with a backward between-the-legs pass to Joakim Noah for a fast-break dunk. In the second quarter, Luol Deng was walking to the locker room even before his 3-pointer from the corner swished through the net at the halftime buzzer.

News photo
Body control: Denver's J.R. Smith puts up a fadeaway jumper against Atlanta in the fourth quarter on Monday night. The Nuggets beat the Hawks 100-90. AP PHOTO

In the fourth quarter, Rose fed Deng and Noah for back-to-back dunks that pushed the lead to 24. It was then time for the Chicago Bulls fans to change their chant from "M-V-P" for Rose to "Sca-la-breeee-nee" for beloved sub Brian Scalabrine, who came off the bench and hit a 5.8-meter shot that had the fans roaring in the road arena.

The Bulls frolicked past the Washington Wizards 105-77 Monday night, the type of easy win coach Tom Thibodeau's team could use against a bad team as it heads into the teeth of a five-game road trip.

"Thibs came in and talked to us, and was telling us we can't let down against teams like this, where we've got to come out and play aggressive and have an edge," said Rose, who had 21 points and nine assists.

"You don't ever want to come into a game like this where you give them confidence."

Chicago never trailed as it won its third straight and seventh in eight games. The Bulls moved within a game of the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference as part of a three-way battle with the Boston Celtics for the conference's No. 1 seed.

Up next: a breathtaking trio of games at Atlanta, Orlando and Miami to finish up a five-game trip.

Deng also scored 21 points, Noah had 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Carlos Boozer had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Chicago. Noah was playing his fourth game since returning from a torn ligament in his right thumb, and his increasing comfort level showed when he was there to handle that highlight-reel pass from Rose.

"Just a play that I made," Rose said. "But I didn't have it pre-planned or anything. I just did it."

Andray Blatche scored 15 points, and Nick Young had 14 for the Wizards, who have lost six in a row and 15 of 17 and have increasingly watched their home arena turned into a mass cheering section for whatever visiting team happens to be in town.

Suns 104, Nets 103 (OT)

In Newark, Channing Frye hit a 3-pointer with 6.6 seconds to play in overtime as Phoenix spoiled Deron Williams' home debut for the hosts.

The Nets narrowly missed pulling this one out, but Kris Humphries' tip-in of Williams' floater came a split second after the final buzzer.

Williams had 13 points and a season-high 18 assists, including five in rallying New Jersey from a seven-point deficit late in the fourth quarter.

Reserve Marcin Gortat led Phoenix with 17 points and Hakim Warrick had 16.

Brook Lopez had 28 points for the Nets and Anthony Morrow added 22.

Celtics 107, Jazz 102

In Salt Lake City, Ray Allen scored 25 points and Paul Pierce added 21, including a late 3-pointer and pair of free throws, to help Boston hold on.

The loss spoiled the home debut of new Jazz players Devin Harris and Derrick Favors, who were acquired last week in the trade that sent All-Star Deron Williams to New Jersey.

Al Jefferson had 28 points and a season-high 19 rebounds for Utah, which has dropped six straight at home — the team's worst home skid since 1982.

Nuggets 100, Hawks 90

In Denver, newcomers Raymond Felton and Wilson Chandler combined to score 31 points to help the hosts rally and improve to 3-1 since the deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to New York.

Felton had 16 points and Chandler added 15 as the Nuggets used an 8-0 surge early in the fourth quarter to pull away from road-weary Atlanta.

Denver's J.R. Smith scored a team-high 19 points, while Kenyon Martin contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Joe Johnson finished with 22 points and Al Horford added 21 points and 16 rebounds for the Hawks, who wrapped up a seven-game road swing with a 3-4 mark.

Kings 105, Clippers 99

In Sacramento, Marcus Thornton scored 16 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter to help rally the Kings to a victory over Los Angeles.

Amid rumors that the team is moving to Anaheim, Kings fans organized a "Here We Stay" campaign to help keep the team in Sacramento, where they have been since the 1985-86 season.

A sellout crowd, only the second of the season, began to chant "Here we stay" during player introductions.

Blake Griffin had 27 points and 12 rebounds for the Clippers, who lost their fifth straight and eighth in nine games.

Gallinari injured

DENVER (AP) The Nuggets will be without forward Danilo Gallinari for a week to 10 days after X-rays revealed that he had fractured his left big toe.

Gallinari stubbed his toe late in a loss to Portland on Friday night and was held out of Monday night's 100-90 victory over the Atlanta Hawks because of continuing soreness. Soon after beating Atlanta 100-90, the Nuggets announced that the toe was broken.

Gallinari scored 30 points against the Blazers, one shy of tying his career high.

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