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Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012

Hack-a-Howard ploy puts end to Wilt mark


OAKLAND, California — Dwight Howard broke Wilt Chamberlain's nearly 50-year-old NBA record for most free-throw attempts in a game, making 21 of 39 in the Orlando Magic's 117-109 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night.

News photo
Monster night: Orlando's Dwight Howard dunks as Golden State's Andris Biedrins (left) and David Lee look on in the first half on Thursday night. AP

The Warriors hacked Howard intentionally throughout, sending the notoriously poor shooter to the line early and often. Chamberlain, who Howard idolized growing up and used to have a photo clipping of the center in his Orlando locker, shot 34 for the Philadelphia Warriors against St. Louis on Feb. 22, 1962.

Howard finished with 45 points and 23 rebounds, and Hedo Turkoglu scored 20 points to propel the Magic to their third straight victory. It also marked the first time a player had at least 40 points and 20 rebounds since Shaquille O'Neal — another poor free throw shooter — had 48 points and 20 rebounds against the Celtics on March 1, 2003, according to STATS LLC.

"I just tried to be aggressive and get to the line. I didn't care if I missed 30," Howard said. "I was still going to go up there and shoot the next one with confidence."

Monta Ellis had 30 points and 11 assists, and David Lee added 26 points and 12 rebounds for the short-handed Golden State, playing without injured starters Stephen Curry and Dorell Wright and backup center Kwame Brown.

All that combined to take the Hack-a-Howard routine to a whole new level.

Howard eclipsed his old mark with 2:09 remaining in the third quarter, getting hacked and held intentionally at the end of each quarter with mixed results. If nothing else, Golden State rookie coach Mark Jackson's strategy slowed down the pace and refused to let the Magic's potent shooters find their rhythm.

"I can understand people thinking, 'Why?' But don't get caught up in the free throws," Jackson said. "Think about when we didn't foul him. It was dunks, hooks, at the rim. He's a great player. And he's a bad free-throw shooter."

Cavaliers 101, Suns 90

In Phoenix, rookie star Kyrie Irving scored a season-high 26 points and Antawn Jamison matched his season high with 23, helping Cleveland beat the Suns.

Irving, who played only 11 games at Duke before being drafted first overall, topped his previous high of 21. Anderson Varejeo contributed 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers.

Grizzlies 94, Knicks 83

In Memphis, Rudy Gay scored a season-high 26 points and the Grizzlies beat New York to end the Knicks' winning streak at four games.

Bucks 102, Pistons 93

In Milwaukee, Brandon Jennings scored 27 points and Stephen Jackson added 25 for the Bucks in only the second game in the shot-clock era without a missed free throw.

Hawks 111, Bobcats 81

In Atlanta, Josh Smith scored 30 points, Joe Johnson added 23 and the Hawks won their first game without All-Star center Al Horford, routing Charlotte to improve to 8-4.

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