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Thursday, March 8, 2012

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Turn up the Heat: Miami's LeBron James drives around New Jersey's Gerald Green during the Heat's 108-78 win on Tuesday. AP

Third-quarter surge ignites lowly Bobcats


CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy seems to be growing tired of his team's dispassionate attitude.

Van Gundy took a few shots at his players' lackluster approach following a 100-84 loss Tuesday night to the Charlotte Bobcats, the worst team in the NBA.

"Our guys are satisfied that we came in with the third-best record in the East and the fifth-best record in the league," Van Gundy said. "They're satisfied with that. I don't think there's any push to be better or any push to be great. If there is, it doesn't show up in games."

The Magic led by 20 points in the first half but let the Bobcats back in it. After Charlotte coach Paul Silas was ejected in the second quarter for arguing a call, the Bobcats went on a 22-1 run to take the lead in the third quarter.

Corey Maggette scored a season-high 29 points for the Bobcats, Gerald Henderson hit some big shots in the fourth quarter, and Charlotte won for just the fifth time in 36 games against the Magic.

The Bobcats came in having lost 21 of their last 22 games, but got a big game from rookie center Bismack Biyombo.

Biyombo, the seventh overall pick in the draft, played with emotion and battled toe-to-toe with Dwight Howard and had 10 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. He also blocked seven shots.

Howard had 15 points and 17 rebounds, and Ryan Anderson added 14 points and 11 boards for the Magic.

It's the second straight game Biyombo has played well in a starting role against Howard. In January, Biyombo had 11 points and 10 rebounds in a six-point Charlotte loss.

"It's a big challenge and you can take it or you can walk away," Biyombo said of facing Howard.

Said Maggette: "I think he was the difference in this game."

Pistons 88, Lakers 85 (OT)

In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Rodney Stuckey scored 34 points, and the Pistons overcame a tying shot by Kobe Bryant at the end of regulation to hold off Los Angeles.

Bryant, who had tied the game at the buzzer to force the extra session, missed from 3-point range in the final seconds of overtime. Metta World Peace came up with the ball and dribbled back toward the top of the key, but his last-ditch turnaround missed as well.

Andrew Bynum had 30 points and 14 rebounds for the Lakers.

Bryant finished with 22 points on 8-of-26 shooting. He started the game with a black mask protecting his injured nose but switched to a clear one while struggling through the first half.

Celtics 97, 76ers 92 (OT)

In Boston, Kevin Garnett grabbed 13 rebounds to pass Shaquille O'Neal and move into 12th on the NBA's career list, and Paul Pierce scored seven of his 30 points in overtime to lead the Celtics over Houston.

Boston has won five straight since the All-Star break, including two in a row in overtime. The Rockets have lost four in a row.

Luis Scola had 18 points and 14 rebounds for Houston.

Mavericks 95, Knicks 85

In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki scored 28 points and bailed out the Mavericks after they lost the lead following a 7½-minute scoreless stretch to start the fourth quarter, and the hosts beat New York.

Nowitzki made a fadeaway jumper with 4:34 left, starting a game-clinching, 14-0 run by Dallas in which its All-Star forward scored nine points.

That was after the Knicks, who had trailed by as many as 19, scored the first 15 points of the fourth quarter and went ahead 78-77 on Amare Stoudemire's basket.

Stoudemire had 26 points. Tyson Chandler, who got his NBA championship ring from the Mavericks before the game, had six points, eight points and a technical foul. Jeremy Lin had 14 points and seven assists.

Heat 108, Nets 78

In Miami, LeBron James scored 21 points and capped his night by banking in a halfcourt shot, Chris Bosh added 20 points and the Heat snapped a two-game slide by rolling past New Jersey.

The win came with a cost: Dwyane Wade turned his right ankle late in the first half and did not return, finishing with 13 points.

Deron Williams, who was coming off an NBA season-high 57 points in a win over Charlotte, scored 16 for the Nets.

Hawks 101, Pacers 96

In Indianapolis, Josh Smith had 27 points and nine rebounds, leading Atlanta over Indiana for its third straight victory.

David West scored a season-high 24 points for the Pacers, who have lost two straight.

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