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NBA roundup

Jefferson, Wolves KO Suns

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Associated Press / January 24, 2008

Al Jefferson led Minnesota to another unlikely victory over the visiting Phoenix Suns.

Jefferson had a career-high 39 points and 15 rebounds, and the Timberwolves won two in a row for the first time this season, 117-107, over the Western Conference leaders last night.

Amare Stoudemire led Phoenix with 33 points, but only 19 came in the last 43 minutes. The Suns, whose 30-13 record is behind only Boston for league supremacy, had their four-game winning streak stopped.

The Timberwolves visit TD Banknorth Garden tomorrow night.

"It's time to start turning this thing around and start building for next year," said Jefferson, who helped Minnesota (7-34) take a lead as big as 21 points in the first half.

Leandro Barbosa's 3-pointer near the four-minute mark cut the lead to 102-92, but Jefferson followed by attacking Stoudemire and drew a foul by Raja Bell for a 3-point play to keep the Suns at a distance.

Steve Nash had 21 points and 16 assists, but it wasn't enough to keep Phoenix from losing to Minnesota for the second time this season.

Cavaliers 121, Wizards 85 - LeBron James scored 23 points and Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 24 without missing from the floor (10 for 10) as Cleveland destroyed visiting Washington for its season-high fifth straight victory.

After an uninspiring first two months, the Cavaliers have regrouped to win 11 of 13, and at the halfway point, they look more determined to defend their Eastern Conference title than at any other time this season.

James added eight rebounds and eight assists in just 31 minutes for the Cavaliers, who outrebounded the Wizards, 53-29, and outscored them, 69-39, after halftime.

"Offensively we were unbelievable, nearly perfect," James said. "It was pretty dang gone good."

The Cavaliers set season highs in margin of victory, assists (39), points in a quarter (43), and field goal percentage (56). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Cavaliers, who had a season-low six turnovers, are the first team since 1977-78 - when turnovers became an official statistic - to have at least 39 assists and six or fewer turnovers.

It was the Cavaliers' most lopsided win since they beat the Lakers by 38 Nov. 30, 1994.

"It was a major league butt-whipping," Wizards guard Antonio Daniels said. "We ought to be completely embarrassed."

Drew Gooden added 18 points and Sasha Pavlovic 13 for Cleveland, which outscored the Wizards, 43-17, and outrebounded them, 20-5, in the third quarter.

Nuggets 107, Hawks 100 - Allen Iverson scored 29 points and Linas Kleiza added 23 to lift Denver over visiting Atlanta.

Marcus Camby finished with 13 points and grabbed 21 rebounds, 15 in the first half, as the Nuggets played without Carmelo Anthony (sprained left ankle).

Josh Smith had his first career triple-double for the Hawks, finishing with 22 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists.

Rockets 109, SuperSonics 107 - Tracy McGrady scored 28 points and took over in the final 90 seconds, helping visiting Houston hand Seattle its 12th straight loss.

Nursing a left knee injury, McGrady scored 18 points after halftime and was responsible for Houston's final 8 points as the Rockets rallied from a 99-89 deficit with five minutes left.

Bulls 108, Pacers 95 - Kirk Hinrich scored a career-high 38 points as Chicago beat visiting Indiana, even though its two best players were injured. The Bulls learned that forward Luol Deng would miss 1-3 weeks because of his recurring left Achilles' tendinitis and then found out that Ben Gordon would sit out with a sprained right wrist.

Hornets 96, Trail Blazers 81 - Jannero Pargo scored a season-high 24 points in 24 minutes as host New Orleans extended its season-best winning streak to six games.

Mavericks 102, Bobcats 95 - Devin Harris scored 23 points and Josh Howard added 21 points and 12 rebounds for visiting Dallas.

Pistons 86, 76ers 78 - Richard Hamilton scored 21 points and Chauncey Billups had 19 to help visiting Detroit beat Philadelphia.

Clippers 111, Kings 85 - Chris Kaman had 21 rebounds and 20 points and Al Thornton scored 23 to power host Los Angeles.

Magic 112, Grizzlies 85 - Hedo Turkoglu scored 26 points and Orlando made a team-record 18 3-pointers in Memphis.

Spurs 103, Lakers 91 - Tim Duncan had 28 points and 17 rebounds for host San Antonio.

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