Courtesy Vegas Summer League:
The Houston Rockets held off a late rally by the Los Angeles Clippers to hang on for a 58-54 victory in the Toshiba Vegas Summer League Tuesday. With seven minutes remaining in the game, the Clippers and Rockets exchanged five lead changes before Los Angeles went up for good at the 3:40 mark on a jumper by Steve Novak.
John Lucas III and Novak were instrumental in keeping the Rockets in the game, combining for Houston's final 14 points. Lucas contributed eight of his game-high 20 points (9-22 FG) in the final 5:36, while Novak chipped in six of his 14 points (5-13 FG) from the 3:40 mark.
Lucas played a well-rounded game, recording six rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Daniel Ewing was instrumental for the Clippers in the waning moments. Ewing knocked down six of his 12 points (4-11 FG) in the final 5:15. Ewing was joined by a 12-point effort by Jawad Williams and a double-double posted by James Singleton (11 points and 17 rebounds).
Shooting wasn't the strong suit of either team. Houston closed out the contest making 40 percent (25-65 FG) of its attempts, while Los Angeles only hit 32.8 percent (20-61 FG).
With the win, the Rockets closed out their five-game outing at the summer league. The Clippers face the Detroit Pistons on Thursday at 5 p.m. ET, in the Cox Pavilion.
-- Jeff Seals
Celtics guards sharp, rough up Raps
The Boston Celtics outplayed the Toronto Raptors in every way possible, easily beating the Raptors, 111-62. The Celtics outscored the Raptors in every quarter in the blowout win.
Gerald Green paced the Celtics in scoring with 23 points (8-12 FG, 6-7 FT) and four rebounds, while Ryan Gomes had 22 points (7-9 FG, 8-8 FT) and nine rebounds. Allan Ray pitched in 18 points (7-11 FG) and Rajon Rondo had 13 points (5-5 FG) and six assists.
Joey Graham had 20 points (5-13 FG, 10-12 FT) and seven rebounds in the loss, while Kris Humphries chipped in 12 points (3-11 FG, 6-12 FT). Overall No. 1 pick Andrea Bargnani had 10 points on 2-7 FG shooting in 29 minutes of action.
The Celtics raced out to a 30-17 lead after one quarter, a 60-39 halftime lead and a 94-49 lead after three quarters.
The Celtics finished the game shooting 60 percent (35-58 FG), while the Raptors shot a lowly 31 percent (18-59 FG). Boston forced Toronto into 23 turnovers, resulting in a 23-4 advantage in points off of turnovers.
-- Dennis Rogers
Azubuike leads Denver past Golden State
Kelenna Azubuike topped all scorers with 25 points as the Denver Nuggets defeated the Golden State Warriors 104-88. The Nuggets pushed their two-point first quarter lead into a 10-point cushion at the half, en route to a 16-point victory.
Azubuike made 6-of-9 field goals and 13-of-17 free throws, collecting six rebounds for the Nuggets. Casey Jacobsen connected for 16 points and was followed by John Gilchrist's 13. Yakhouba Diawara and Ron Slay chipped in 11 each.
Golden State was led by 19-point efforts from Will Bynum and Steven Smith (8-20 FG). Bynum was perfect in his shooting game as he connected on all seven field goal attempts, hit his only three point chance and made all four of his free throws. Patrick O'Bryant tossed in 15 points, while Sean Banks had 11.
Next up for Denver is a contest versus the Boston Celtics on Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. ET, while Golden State returns to action on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, against the Toronto Raptors.
-- Jeff Seals
Greene paces Knicks over Pistons
The New York Knicks jumped out to a 15-point first quarter lead and added to it throughout the game for a 91-68 win over the Detroit Pistons.
The Knicks had six players hit the double-digit barrier with Brian Greene leading the way with his 17-point (7-13 FG) tally. Paul Miller chipped in with 13 and was followed by Walker Russell Jr.'s 12. Mardy Collins and David Lee threw down 10 apiece, with Lee collecting nine boards, as well.
Detroit's Alex Acker continued his hot hand in summer league play as he topped all scorers with his 22 points (8-18 FG). Amir Johnson and Jason Maxiell fell a few rebounds short of each collecting double-doubles. Johnson connected for 12 points and seven boards, while Maxiell had 11 points and eight rebounds.
The Knicks' offense was helped by its 51.5 percent (35-68 FG) shooting for the game, while Detroit only hit 40.3 percent (27-67 FG) of its attempts.
For the game, Detroit's offense broke the 20-point barrier through the first three quarters of play, while New York's was held below 19 all four.
Up next for the Knicks is a game at 4 p.m. ET, on Thursday against the Washington Wizards. Detroit plays later that evening at 11 p.m. ET, against the Los Angeles Clippers.
-- Jeff Seals
Hornets second-half run beats Wizards
The New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets came out of the half strong and cruised to a 70-58 win over the Washington Wizards. The Hornets opened the half on a 35-19 run, thanks to six points from Brandon Bass and five from Kirk Snyder during the run.
Hilton Armstrong, the 12th player chosen in the 2006 draft, had seven points (2-5 FG, 3-3 FT) and five rebounds. Snyder finished with 10 points (3-6 FG, 5-6 FT) and six rebounds, while Brandon Bass had 11 points (3-6 FG, 5-6 FT) and seven rebounds in the win.
Andray Blatche led the Wizards in scoring with 15 points (6-14 FG) and five rebounds, while rookie Oleksiy Pecherov had nine points (4-9 FG).
A Pierre Wooten buzzer-beater at the end of the half evened the score at 31. Armstrong led the Hornets in scoring at the break with seven points and four rebounds. Taylor led the Wizards in scoring, with six points and six rebounds.
For the half, New Orleans/Oklahoma City shot 34 percent (11-32 FG), while Washington shot 39 percent (12-31).
The Hornets finished the game shooting 40 percent (27-67 FG), while the Wizards shot 35 percent (22-63 FG).
News and Notes: Hornets owner George Shinn was courtside taking in the action, while former General Manager Bob Bass was also in attendance . . . the Hornets are scheduled to have a 3 p.m. ET press conference Wednesday at the Toshiba Vegas Summer League to introduce their free agent signing of Peja Stojakovic.
-- Dennis Rogers