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Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012

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Two of the best: New Jersey's Deron Williams drives on Chicago's Derrick Rose in the first half on Monday night. The Bulls beat the Nets 110-95. AP

Duncan vintage in victory over Hornets S


NEW ORLEANS — As Tim Duncan strode forcefully into the lane for a running hook in the final seconds, Tony Parker could not help but be reminded of a couple of the greatest players the NBA has ever known.

"It was a mix of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson -a kind of sky-hook, and we'll take it," Parker said of Duncan's 4-meter game-winner over Hornets center Emeka Okafor with 1.4 seconds left.

The shot capped a season-high 28-point performance by the Spurs' 15-year veteran star forward and sent New Orleans to an eighth straight loss, 104-102 on Monday night.

"Okafor played pretty good defense and that's the shot I had had, and just luckily made it," Duncan said. "I couldn't do it again if I tried, but it went in that time. That's all that matters."

Parker added 20 points and a career-high 17 assists for San Antonio, which snapped a two-game skid, while Richard Jefferson added 14 points and Tiago Splitter added 12 points.

The Hornets inbounded the ball to Carl Landry for a desperation 3-pointer that could have won it as time expired, but the shot fell short, dooming New Orleans to its 14th loss in 15 games.

Jarrett Jack led the Hornets with 26 points and nine assists. Trevor Ariza tied a season high with 18 points and Landry also scored 18.

"It's extremely frustrating," Jack said. "The good part is that we gave ourselves a chance. . . . It just comes down to making plays. There are a couple that I am kicking myself about that I wasn't able to complete."

The Spurs led 102-98 after Duncan's free throws with 1:16 to go, setting up a thrilling finish to a game that included 15 lead changes and eight ties.

Celtics 87, Magic 56

In Boston, Paul Pierce and former Magic forward Brandon Bass each scored 19 points to carry the injury-riddled Celtics to a win over Orlando.

The Magic set franchise lows for points and field goals (16).

Boston was minus starters Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo and three bench players, drastically reducing its roster.

Bass and Pierce carried the offense and the Celtics got some strong play from a cast of down-the-bench reserves. Boston snapped a streak of six straight losses against teams with winning records.

Mavericks 93, Suns 87

In Dallas, Shawn Marion scored a season-high 29 points and the short-handed Mavs stretched their home winning streak to seven games with a victory over Phoenix.

Marion, who entered with five 3-pointers all season, went 4 of 6 from behind the arc and 11 for 20 from the field.

Top scorer Dirk Nowitzki and key reserve Vince Carter remain out for the defending NBA champion Mavericks (11-7), who returned home from a 2-2 road trip.

Grant Hill scored a season-high 19 points for Phoenix.

Bulls 110, Nets 95

In Chicago, Derrick Rose and Richard Hamilton each scored 22 points to lead the banged-up Bulls to an easy victory over New Jersey.

Hamilton set season highs in points and assists (10). Rose added eight assists and hung with Deron Williams after missing four games with a sprained left big toe.

Williams had 16 points and 10 assists for New Jersey. Jordan Farmar scored 22, but the Nets were overwhelmed playing their third game in three nights.

76ers 103, Wizards 83

In Philadelphia, Elton Brand had 17 points and nine rebounds, and Jrue Holiday also scored 17 to lead the Sixers over Washington.

Jordan Crawford led the Wizards (2-15) with 17 points.

Thunder 99, Pistons 79

In Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook and reserve James Harden each scored 24 points, Kevin Durant added 20 and the Thunder beat Detroit for their fourth straight blowout win at home.

Rookie guard Brandon Knight led the Pistons with 13 points.

Rockets 107, Timberwolves 92

In Minneapolis, Kevin Martin scored 31 points and Houston won its seventh straight game, beating the hosts in coach Kevin McHale's first game back at Target Center since he was fired by the Timberwolves in 2009.

Kevin Love had 39 points and 12 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who committed 10 turnovers in the fourth quarter in coach Rick Adelman's first game against the team he coached the past four seasons.

Hawks 97, Bucks 92

In Milwaukee, Joe Johnson scored 14 of his season-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, rallying Atlanta past the Bucks.

Grizzlies 91, Warriors 90

In Oakland, Rudy Gay scored 23 points, three in the final 23 seconds, and surging Memphis rallied from 20 points down in the second half to beat Golden State.

The Grizzlies trailed 63-43 with 3:23 left in the third quarter, then pulled within 16 heading into the fourth. Memphis scored 39 points over the final 12 minutes to remain a half-game ahead of San Antonio in the Southwest Division.

Blazers 101, Kings 89

In Portland, Jamal Crawford scored a season-high 26 points and the Trail Blazers returned home from a six-game road trip with a win over Sacramento.

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