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Sports

O'Neal can't prevent another Pacers defeat

March 15th, 2007 1:33 am by Associated Press



INDIANAPOLIS - Jermaine O'Neal's spirited effort on an injured knee didn't stop the Indiana Pacers from losing their 11th straight game.


O'Neal started after sitting out three games with a sprained left knee and had 24 points and seven rebounds, but Gilbert Arenas scored 28 of his 35 points in the second half as the Washington Wizards beat the Pacers 112-96 on Wednesday night.


Washington shot 51 percent from the field, including 53 percent in the second half.


"This is probably going to be my last interview about what we need to do," O'Neal said. "We need to play defense."


The Pacers' last win was on Feb. 21 against Milwaukee. The Pacers can tie their longest-ever losing streak Saturday against Atlanta.


Indiana guard Mike Dunleavy said he's never experienced a losing streak like this.


"When you lose 11 in a row, a losing streak isn't going to end, you've got to snap it," he said. "It's going to take a great effort and a great performance from us. Tonight, Washington played well and they were better than us. Now, we've got to find a way to get out of this thing."


The Pacers were happy with O'Neal's effort.


"It was great to have Jermaine back out there," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. "I wasn't sure he was going to play."


Danny Granger scored 19 points and Murphy added 17 for the Pacers.


Antawn Jamison scored 27 points and eight rebounds for the Wizards, who had lost their previous three games by a combined six points. The only negative for Washington was that forward Caron Butler left the game early in the second quarter with stiffness in his left knee and did not return.


Arenas continued his run of success against the Pacers. He scored 43 points against Indiana on Feb. 7, 2005 and 40 against the Pacers on Nov. 8, 2006.


The Pacers' last win was on Feb. 21 against Milwaukee. The Pacers can tie their longest losing streak Saturday against Atlanta.


Cavaliers 118, Grizzlies 96



MEMPHIS - LeBron James recovered from a back injury to score 29 points, leading seven Cavaliers in double figures and helping Cleveland win its season-high seventh straight.


Memphis, with the league's worst record, lost its second straight and eighth in the past nine.


Rudy Gay led Memphis with 24 points, while Pau Gasol finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds.


Bulls 88, 76ers 87



PHILADELPHIA - Kirk Hinrich made the go-ahead jumper with 26.7 seconds left and Luol Deng scored 20 points to lead Chicago to its fourth straight victory.


Andre Iguodala made all 10 free throws and scored 19 points. Willie Green had 16 points and Samuel Dalembert added 15 for the Sixers, who lost their second straight and saw their slim playoff hopes continue to dim.


Hinrich finished with 14 points, and Ben Wallace had 10 points and 11 rebounds. The Bulls outrebounded the Sixers 45-30.


Raptors 104, Knicks 94



TORONTO - Chris Bosh scored 22 points, T.J. Ford matched a career high with 18 assists, and Toronto beat New York to strengthen its hold on the Atlantic Division lead.


Jorge Garbajosa had a career-high 20 points, while fellow rookie Andrea Bargnani added 18 for Toronto (36-29). Ford also scored 18 points for the Raptors, including an 8-for-8 showing at the free throw line.


Stephon Marbury led the Knicks (29-35) with 31 points and nine assists, while Steve Francis scored 17 points and Eddy Curry added 13.



Magic 101, Jazz 90


ORLANDO, Fla. - Dwight Howard had 31 points and 15 rebounds, and Orlando ended a three-game losing streak.


Howard also won the battle of the boards against Carlos Boozer, who is right behind the Magic star in the league rebounding statistics. Both are among the NBA's top four - Howard third with 12 per game, Boozer tied for fourth with Charlotte's Emeka Okafor averaging 11.7.


Boozer had seven rebounds to go with 29 points, while Mehmet Okur had 21 points and 12 rebounds.


Bobcats 111, Kings 108



CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Sean May had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 16 seconds left.


May, who had been 0-of-6 on 3s in his two-year career, hit both of his 3-point attempts. Matt Carroll added 22 points and Raymond Felton scored 16 points, including two free throws with nine seconds left to put Charlotte ahead by 3.


Kevin Martin scored 26 points for the Kings, but failed to hit the rim on a desperation 3-point attempt at the buzzer.


Celtics 109, Hawks 88



BOSTON - Al Jefferson had 23 points to lift Boston to its fifth victory in its past seven home games.


Atlanta lost its first game without leading scorer Joe Johnson after winning four straight. The Hawks have also dropped seven straight on the road.


Paul Pierce had 17 points for Boston. After dropping 22 of 23, Boston is 6-3 in its past nine games.


Rockets 109, Clippers 105



HOUSTON - Luther Head hit a 3-pointer with 12.2 seconds left and Yao Ming deflected a pass and created a game-sealing steal to help Houston beat Los Angeles.


The Rockets almost blew a large lead in the fourth quarter after building a 17-point lead in the first half.


Elton Brand scored a season-high 37 points and drove for a dunk with 1:01 left that put the Clippers up 105-104.


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