|Dwight Howard powered his way to 26 points and 12 rebounds in Orlando’s win.
(John Raoux/Associated Press
LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 points and 13 rebounds, helping the Portland Trail Blazers to an 86-78 victory over a Hornets team last night in New Orleans that lost Chris Paul to a sprained ankle while trying to adjust to new head coach Jeff Bower.
The Hornets trailed for most of their first game since the firing of Byron Scott Thursday. Bower and new top assistant Tim Floyd struggled to find a lineup that could score consistently even when Paul was in the game.
Paul sprained his left ankle at the end of the third quarter, moments after setting up Hilton Armstrong’s dunk that cut Portland’s lead to 62-52.
Paul left the arena on crutches, saying he would not play tonight in Atlanta and beyond that could not be sure about how serious the injury was.
“I hate to watch and I hate to know that I’m going to miss a game,’’ said Paul, who said he expected about 75 friends and relatives to attend the Atlanta game. “They just took X-rays. I don’t know anything.’’
Paul made no secret that Scott’s firing bothered him personally and played well below his normal standard early in the game. In his first 11 minutes on the floor, he did not score, missing four shots, and had one assist and one rebound. He did not score until hitting one of two free throws with 1:30 to go in the second quarter.
Nuggets 105, Lakers 79 - Carmelo Anthony got the better of Ron Artest, scoring 25 points in 29 minutes as host Denver routed Los Angeles.
The Lakers’ six-game winning streak was snapped. They scored just 8 points in the third quarter as the Nuggets turned a 2-point halftime lead into an 87-64 cushion.
Held to 7 points in less than 12 first-half minutes because of foul trouble, Anthony scored 10 quick points in the third quarter to give the Nuggets a double-digit lead.
Andrew Bynum and Kobe Bryant each scored 19 points to lead the Lakers, who sat their starters in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach. Artest scored 11.
Magic 88, Nets 72 - Dwight Howard had 26 points and 12 rebounds and Matt Barnes added 13 points and 13 rebounds as host Orlando put away winless New Jersey. New Jersey got a triple-double from point guard Rafer Alston, but the Nets fell to 0-9.
Alston had 17 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds against his former team - the first triple-double of his career - but the Nets scored only 30 points in the second half.
Mavericks 89, Timberwolves 77 - Dirk Nowitzki scored 15 of his 20 points in a tense third quarter and had 11 rebounds to lead Dallas in Minnesota.
Nowitzki only had a quiet 5 points and five rebounds in the first half before jawing with Timberwolves rookie Jonny Flynn five minutes into the third. He received a technical foul, then scored 13 points, grabbed five rebounds, and blocked three shots in the next seven minutes to hand Minnesota its ninth straight loss.
Raptors 104, Clippers 89 - Chris Bosh had 21 points and 14 rebounds for visiting Toronto, which overcame a 22-point deficit and made four 3-point shots during a game-ending 16-0 run that carried the Raptors over Los Angeles.
Warriors 121, Knicks 107 - Stephen Jackson scored 23 points, three other players had 22, and visiting Golden State sent New York (1-9) to the worst 10-game start in franchise history.
Jazz 112, 76ers 90 - Carlos Boozer had 24 points and 12 rebounds and Wesley Matthews added a career-high 16 points as shorthanded Utah ran past host Philadelphia.
Kings 109, Rockets 100 - Jason Thompson had a career-high 27 points and added 11 rebounds for host Sacramento, which won its fourth straight.