Clippers edge Jazz for 16th straight win

Updated 29 December 2012
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Clippers edge Jazz for 16th straight win

SALT LAKE CITY: Chris Paul scored 29 points, and the Los Angeles Clippers rallied from a 19-point deficit in the third quarter to beat the Utah Jazz 116-114 on Friday night, stretching their winning streak to 16 games.
Ex-Clipper Randy Foye’s 3-pointer at the buzzer was contested by Matt Barnes, but no foul was called. Foye finished with a season-high 28 points for Utah.
Paul scored the Clippers’ final seven points, most from the free throw line, as Los Angeles extended the NBA’s longest winning streak this season.
The Jazz led 74-55 with 8:08 left in the third on a pair of free throws by Paul Millsap. But the Clippers outscored Utah 29-14 the rest of the quarter to pull to 88-84 going into the fourth.
Al Jefferson added 22 points for Utah. Gordon Hayward had 17 off the bench.
Nets 97, Bobcats 81: At New York, Brooklyn gave P.J. Carlesimo a victory in his debut and Charlotte a 17th straight loss, getting 26 points and 11 rebounds from Brook Lopez in a rout.
A day after firing Avery Johnson, the Nets played as they did last month, when they were 11-4 and Johnson was Eastern Conference coach of the month. They are just 4-10 in December, a slump that cost Johnson his job, but got back over .500 with ease.
Deron Williams added 17 of his 19 points in the first half and Joe Johnson had 16 for the Nets, who led by 29 points and won for just the second time in seven games.
Hakim Warrick scored 13 points and Ramon Sessions had 12 for the Bobcats (7-22), who shot 38 percent and haven’t won since tying last season’s total with their seventh victory.
Pacers 97, Suns 91: At Indianapolis, George Hill scored 22 points, including three 3-pointers, and led Indiana over Phoenix.
Paul George had 15 points, and David West added 14 points and seven rebounds for the Pacers, who have won four straight and seven of eight.
Sebastian Telfair had 19 points and six assists, and Marcin Gortat had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns, who have lost four in a row.
West, who scored eight points in the fourth quarter, netted the go-ahead jumper to give the Pacers an 87-85 lead with 3:17 left to play after the Suns rallied from a 16-point deficit.
Wizards 105, Magic 97: In Washington, Jordan Crawford scored 27 points, and worst-in-the-NBA Washington showed it can still win a game every once in a while, breaking an eight-game losing streak with a victory over Orlando.
Nene added season highs of 23 points and 11 rebounds and shot fourth-quarter free throws while hearing chants of “R-G-3!” — the new equivalent of “M-V-P!” in a city where Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is the new superstar — as Washington won by its largest margin of the season.
The game represented one-quarter of the win total for the 4-23 Wizards.
Arron Afflalo scored 26 points and J.J. Redick added 23 for the Magic, who have lost four straight since Glen Davis sprained his left shoulder in the final minute of a win over these same Wizards last week. The Magic ended an NBA-best 12-game streak of holding opponents under 100 points, and Washington hit the century mark for the first time in 12 games.
Hawks 102, Cavaliers 94: At Cleveland, Jeff Teague scored a career-high 27 points, and Atlanta scored the game’s final nine points to beat Cleveland.
Teague’s jumper from the foul line gave the Hawks a 95-94 lead with 2:32 remaining and sparked the run that sent Atlanta to its third straight win.
Kyrie Irving led Cleveland with 28 points, but the Cavaliers failed to score in the final 2:53 after taking a 94-93 lead.
Lou Williams scored 16 points for Atlanta, which is 8-4 on the road. Al Horford added 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Dion Waiters scored 18 points for Cleveland, which had its season-high, two-game winning streak end.
Cavaliers center Anderson Varajeo, the league’s leading rebounder, missed his fifth straight game with a bruised right knee. He’s also been ruled out of Saturday’s game against Brooklyn.
Pistons 109, Heat 99: At Auburn Hills, Will Bynum had 25 points and 10 assists, leading another spirited performance by the Detroit reserves, and the Pistons beat short-handed Miami despite 35 points by LeBron James.
Miami was without Dwyane Wade, suspended for a game by the NBA for flailing his leg and making contact with a Charlotte player on Wednesday.
The Detroit reserves, who scored 85 points in a loss to Atlanta on Wednesday, contributed 64 on Friday. Charlie Villanueva had 18, and Austin Daye added 11 to help the Pistons snap Miami’s six-game winning streak.
The Heat scored the game’s first 10 points and led by 15 after one quarter, but the momentum shifted for good when the Pistons outscored Miami 41-20 in the second.
Chris Bosh had 28 points for the Heat.
Spurs 122, Rockets 116: At San Antonio, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili combined to score 84 points, and San Antonio snapped Houston’s five-game winning streak.
Parker had 31 points and 10 assists, Duncan had 30 points and five rebounds, and Ginobili had a season-high 23 points for San Antonio (23-8). Danny Green was 5 for 7 on 3-pointers and finished with 17 points.
James Harden scored 33 points, Chandler Parsons added 24, and Jeremy Lin had 21 for Houston (16-13).
After allowing the Rockets to shoot 55 percent through three quarters, the Spurs clamped down defensively in the fourth. San Antonio had seven steals in the period, and Houston shot 10 for 23 from the field.

Raptors 104, Hornets 97, OT: At New Orleans, DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points, Kyle Lowry had two big baskets in overtime, and Toronto held off New Orleans.
The Raptors, who never trailed in the second half, scored nine of the first 11 points in overtime after blowing a seven-point lead in the last 1:30 of regulation. Amir Johnson scored under the basket to give Toronto a 93-91 lead. Lowry then drove the baseline for a reverse layup and hit a 3-pointer to make it 98-93.
DeRozan finished off the Hornets with two free throws and an outside shot that made it 102-95 with 31.7 seconds left.
Lowry, coming off the bench after missing seven straight games with a partial triceps tear, had 17 points. Alan Anderson added 14 points for the Raptors.
Nuggets 106, Mavericks 85: At Dallas, Danilo Gallinari scored a career-high 39 points, and Denver spoiled Dirk Nowitzki’s first home game since returning from knee surgery by beating Dallas.
Nowitzki had five points in 17 minutes in his third game back, and the Mavericks lost their fifth straight for the first time since January 2011.
Gallinari scored five points in the 5.3 seconds before halftime and opened the second half with a 3-pointer to put the Nuggets up by 11. Andre Iguodala hit four 3-pointers in a 32-point third quarter and finished with 29 points.
O.J. Mayo led Dallas with 15 points.
Nowitzki missed 27 games after knee surgery late in the preseason.
Kings 106, Knicks 105: At Sacramento, California, James Johnson made a 3-pointer at the buzzer, lifting Sacramento to a victory over the New York Knicks after blowing an early 27-point lead.
With time running out, John Salmons found Johnson above the top of the key. Johnson’s shot left his had just ahead of the final buzzer and helped the Kings avoid a major collapse.
Marcus Thornton scored 18 points, and Johnson had 17 for the Kings.
The Knicks played their second straight game without injured forward Carmelo Anthony (knee), who leads Eastern Conference scorers, averaging 28.5 points per game.
J.R. Smith scored a season-high 28 points for the Knicks. Rookie Chris Copeland had 23 points, and Tyson Chandler added 21 points and 18 rebounds.
Lakers 104, Trail Blazers 87: At Los Angeles, Dwight Howard had 21 points and 14 rebounds, Kobe Bryant scored 27 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers never trailed in beating Portland for their sixth win in seven games.
Pau Gasol had 15 points and nine rebounds as the Lakers closed out their 2012 schedule by climbing back to .500 (15-15) in their rocky season. Los Angeles had little trouble rolling past the Blazers, taking a 20-point lead in the first half and holding star rookie Damian Lillard to 11 points on 4-for-17 shooting.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points before sitting out the final minutes with a bruised chest for cold-shooting Portland, which lost for just the second time in eight games.
Warriors 96, 76ers 89: At Oakland, California, David Lee had 25 points and 12 rebounds, one of six Golden State players in double figures, and the Warriors held off a late charge in the fourth quarter to beat Philadelphia.
Jarrett Jack added 16 points in a reserve role, and Carl Landry had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Warriors, who nearly blew a 20-point lead in the second half before securing its first win over the Sixers in more than two years.
Philadelphia pulled within 84-80 on Royal Ivey’s 3-pointer with 6:23 left before Lee scored six straight as part of his 19th double double this season to help Golden State (20-10) pull away.
Jrue Holiday had 21 points and 10 assists for Philadelphia, which has lost eight of 10 on the road. The 76ers (14-16), making their third stop on an eight-game trip.


Chelsea face Manchester United in FA Cup final as Olivier Giroud sinks Southampton

Updated 25 min 15 sec ago
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Chelsea face Manchester United in FA Cup final as Olivier Giroud sinks Southampton

London: Chelsea booked an FA Cup final showdown with Manchester United as Olivier Giroud tormented Southampton again with a sublime strike in Sunday’s 2-0 win at Wembley.
Giroud has made a habit of scoring against Southampton and the France forward was their nemesis in a one-sided semifinal.
Opting to select Giroud instead of Alvaro Morata proved a shrewd move by Chelsea manager Antonio Conte as the former Arsenal star produced a tremendous piece of skill to break the deadlock early in the second half.
Giroud has feasted on Southampton this season, scoring twice to spark Chelsea’s 3-2 win last weekend and also netting a late equalizer against them for Arsenal in December.
His fourth goal for Chelsea since his January signing was followed by a late header from substitute Morata, setting up a heavyweight final against United at Wembley on May 19.
That will be Chelsea’s last chance to win major silverware at the end of a troubled season.
“The most important thing is to reach the final. This is the second FA Cup final in a row for us. I’m delighted for our fans,” Conte said.
“For sure, Olivier has been a good signing for us. I needed a player like him, strong physically, to hold the ball up.
“Today I decided to start with Olivier because I knew we were playing against three strong central defenders, but when Morata came on the impact was impressive as well.”
Chelsea’s 13th FA Cup final appearance will be a repeat of the 2007 showpiece, when Jose Mourinho’s men won 1-0.
The Blues, back in the final after losing to Arsenal in May, last won the competition in 2012 and are bidding to lift the trophy for the eighth time.
Winning the FA Cup might not be enough to convince either Conte or Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich that their two-year partnership should be extended.
Conte has spent much of the season complaining about Chelsea’s failure to back his transfer plans, while several of his players are believed to be unhappy with his demanding training sessions and intense personality.
The Blues face a tough task to qualify for the Champions League via a top-four finish in the Premier League as they trail fourth-placed Tottenham by five points.
Against that backdrop, winning the Cup would at least provide an uplifting conclusion to a frustrating campaign.
For Southampton, the focus returns to their desperate battle to avoid relegation, with just four games left to climb out of the bottom three.
Saints boss Mark Hughes claimed the crucial moment was the officials’ refusal to use the video assistant referee when Chelsea keeper Willy Caballero may have dropped the ball over the line under pressure from Charlie Austin.
“We are disappointed with the officials. Their goalkeeper has thrown the ball into the back of the net,” Hughes complained.
“If ever there was a case for VAR to review, that was the moment. Why it wasn’t referred I’ve no idea.”
Giroud was warming to the task of giving Southampton another headache and he went close to breaking the deadlock with an acrobatic volley before half-time.
Chelsea’s dominance was finally rewarded in the 46th minute.
Cesc Fabregas lofted a pass toward Eden Hazard and he controlled brilliantly in mid-air before slipping the ball through to Giroud.
There was still work for Giroud to do and he side-stepped three defenders with surprising grace, his nimble footwork giving him just enough space to slot home from close range.
After Caballero got away with his sloppy handling, Austin appealed in vain for a penalty when Giroud left his arm out to block the forward’s header.
But it was too little, too late and Morata came off the bench to wrap up the win with just his third goal in his last 19 appearances.
Morata, who has failed to impress since his move from Real Madrid last year, was furious after being hauled off at Burnley.
Just days later, he was all smiles when he nodded home from Cesar Azpilicueta’s 82nd-minute cross.