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Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012

Woeful Bobcats drop 15th straight


CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — When the Philadelphia 76ers needed a spark, there was a familiar face on hand to provide it.

News photo
Experience vs. youth: Phoenix's Steve Nash runs Golden State's Stephen Curry off a pick in the first half on Monday night. The Warriors defeated the Suns 102-96. AP

Lou Williams, who has developed into perhaps the NBA's most dangerous sixth man, scored 23 points off the bench as the 76ers built an early lead and held on to send the Charlotte Bobcats to their 15th straight defeat, 98-89 on Monday night.

Over the past five games, Williams is averaging 19.8 points per game off the bench.

He stayed hot Monday night, making several big shots including a 3-pointer with 6:11 remaining after the Bobcats had pulled to within 71-69. He also hit a 3-pointer in the final minute to seal Philadelphia's second straight win.

"We have this saying that you have a starring role on this team, no matter what that role is," Williams said. "I've been able to do that and give us a spark. It's been one of my better years. I've been very pleased with the role I've been playing."

Williams' effort off the bench has become so commonplace that his teammates don't think twice about it anymore.

"He always puts the crowd to sleep," said Thaddeus Young, who added 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting. "Anytime we're (on the road) he always puts the crowd to sleep with a big 3 or a couple of those little floaters he's knocking down in the lane, or just any way of scoring. He always seems to amaze everybody and he brings the show."

Corey Maggette scored a season-high 22 points for Charlotte (3-25), but it wasn't enough to snap the longest losing streak in franchise history. The loss drops the Bobcats' winning percentage below that of the 1972-73 76ers, who finished with the worst record ever in the NBA at 9-72.

Still, after blowout losses to Los Angeles and Chicago the Bobcats left the arena encouraged.

"We had a better effort tonight," Maggette said. "Tonight, we played better and we actually had a chance. For us, that's a step in the right direction."

Kemba Walker added 21 points and Reggie Williams chipped in with 14 for the hosts.

For the third straight game, the Bobcats shot less than 34 percent from the field in the first quarter and found themselves behind by double digits.

Jrue Holiday scored Philadelphia's first eight points of the game, hitting his first four shots from the field as the 76ers jumped out to a 28-17 lead.

Mavs 96, Clippers 92

In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki scored 22 points, 11 in the final 6-plus minutes, Shawn Marion added 16, and the Mavericks held on to beat Los Angeles.

Jason Terry, Vince Carter and Brendan Haywood all contributed 10 points for the Mavs, who've won 10 in a row at home against the Clippers and extended their overall winning streak to four games.

For Los Angeles, Caron Butler scored a season-high 23 points against his former team, and Blake Griffin added 20 points.

Chris Paul had 16 points and nine assists for the Clippers, but Griffin's problems from the foul line cost his team as he missed seven of nine free throws.

Heat 114, Bucks 96

In Milwaukee, LeBron James scored 35 points and Miami finally found a way to beat the Bucks behind a third-quarter surge.

Dwyane Wade scored 22 and Mario Chalmers added 13 for the Heat, who were 0-2 against Milwaukee coming into Monday night's game.

James scored 16 of his points in the third quarter as the Heat outscored the Bucks 35-24 to take control of the game.

Carlos Delfino had 24 points for Milwaukee, which was coming off a loss to Orlando on Saturday night.

Magic 102, Timberwolves 89

In Orlando, Jason Richardson scored 17 points, and Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu each added 14 as Orlando used a big second half to beat Minnesota.

Richardson, coming off a season-high 31 points, was strong early against the Timberwolves but sat out the fourth quarter.

The Magic didn't need him, though, hitting 12 of 30 3-pointers for the game and with all five starters reaching double figures. Orlando has won two of its last three games and earned its seventh straight victory over the Timberwolves.

Kevin Love led Minnesota with 19 points and 15 rebounds, but the Timberwolves lost their fourth straight game.

Hornets 86, Jazz 80

In New Orleans, Chris Kaman scored a season-high 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and the Hornets snapped an eight-game skid with a victory over Utah.

Marco Belinelli and Gustavo Ayon each added 13 points for New Orleans, which led by as many as 20 in the third quarter before holding on for only its third victory in 26 games.

Al Jefferson had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Jazz, who were playing the second of back-to-back games after winning in Memphis on Sunday night.

Warriors 102, Suns 96

In Oakland, David Lee had 28 points and 12 rebounds, Monta Ellis scored 18 points and Golden State earned its first three-game winning streak under rookie coach Mark Jackson with a victory over Phoenix.

Rookie Klay Thompson added 10 points and fellow reserve Ekpe Udoh had nine points, including a layup with 35.9 seconds remaining that extended the Warriors' lead to five and capped a comeback from 12 points down in the second half.

Marcin Gortat had 25 points and 12 rebounds, and Steve Nash handed out 14 assists for the Suns, playing the first of three games in three nights.

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