Led by Iverson, Denver ends 20-game skid in Sacramento

Associated Press • Mar 12, 2007 at 5:42 AM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Allen Iverson had 24 points, seven assists and six rebounds to spoil Ron Artest's return to the Kings' lineup, and the Denver Nuggets snapped a 20-game losing streak in Sacramento with a 113-101 victory Sunday.

The Nuggets ended a five-game skid to the Kings and pulled off a key win in the playoff chase. Denver hadn't beaten the Kings in Sacramento since Jan. 7, 1997 - the longest active losing streak in the league.

Artest had 17 points, eight rebounds and three assists in his return following his arrest on suspicion of domestic violence. Mike Bibby scored 34 points, but Sacramento failed to gain ground on the Clippers in the standings. Los Angeles still leads the Kings by one game for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference after losing at Detroit.

MIAMI - Udonis Haslem's 10-footer in the lane with 0.3 seconds left capped a wild back- and-forth game and gave Miami the victory.

The Heat blew a 16-point first-half lead, then rallied from a 12-point second-half deficit to win their sixth straight overall - plus get within one game of Washington in the Southeast Division.

Eddie Jones had 18 points and Gary Payton added a season-high 17 for the Heat, who had all eight players in their rotation score in double figures. Gilbert Arenas scored 33 for the Wizards, including three free throws with 3.1 seconds left that tied the game.

HOUSTON - Yao Ming had 37 points and four blocked shots in his biggest game since returning to the lineup, leading Houston over Orlando.

Yao, who also had seven rebounds, was playing his fourth game since returning from a broken right leg that caused him to miss 32 games.

Tracy McGrady added 19 points and 10 assists for Houston, which won its third straight after losing four of five. The Rockets have beaten Orlando nine of their last 10 meetings. Dwight Howard had 16 points and 12 rebounds for Orlando, which lost for the fifth time in six games.

CLEVELAND - LeBron James scored 26 points - his lowest total in 11 games - but Cleveland won its fifth straight and handed wilting Indiana its ninth consecutive loss.

The Cavaliers let the Pacers trim a 23-point, fourth-quarter deficit to nine before putting them away to continue their push to catch first-place Detroit in the Central Division.

Mike Dunleavy scored a season-high 25 points for the Pacers, whose skid is their longest since 1988-89.

LOS ANGELES - Richard Hamilton scored 15 of his 23 points in the first quarter and Detroit beat the Clippers while Rasheed Wallace sat out a one-game suspension for accumulating 16 technical fouls.

Hamilton made his first eight shots and was 10-for-12 from the field overall, helping Detroit beat the Clippers for the ninth straight time and 18th in the last 22 meetings.

Antonio McDyess scored 17 points and Chris Webber had 19 points and 11 rebounds. Corey Maggette scored 19 points for the Clippers.

Elton Brand, who didn't play in the team's 92-74 loss to the Pistons on Feb. 2 because of back spasms, had 11 points and 12 rebounds on his 28th birthday.

BOSTON - Kirk Hinrich scored 26 points and Ben Gordon had 21 for surging Chicago.

The Bulls finished their road trip 3-1 and improved to 8-3 since the All-Star break.

Al Jefferson, who had averaged 25.8 points and 15.3 rebounds in the previous four games, struggled against Ben Wallace. Jefferson finished with 10 points and six rebounds.

TORONTO - T.J. Ford scored nine points in overtime and Toronto overcame a 36-point effort by Ray Allen to beat Seattle.

Chris Bosh led the Raptors with 27 points while Ford added 24 points and 13 assists.

Rookie Andrea Bargnani added 19 points for Toronto. Rashard Lewis had 26 points and 13 rebounds for the Sonics (25-38), who lost their third straight.

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