The Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS – Ron Artest was booed loudly and shot poorly in his return to Indiana as the Pacers beat the Sacramento Kings 98-93 on Friday night.
Artest was playing in Indianapolis for the first time since his trade request was granted and he was sent to the Kings for Peja Stojakovic seven weeks ago. Artest scored 18 points, but shot 6-for-22 from the field, including 2-for-14 in the second half.
He was booed during pregame introductions and that continued every time he touched the ball.
The fans reserved their loudest pregame cheers for Stojakovic, who scored 20 points to help the Pacers snap the Kings’ five-game winning streak.
Danny Granger had a career-high 23 points and Jamaal Tinsley added 20 for Indiana (33-30).
Mike Bibby led the Kings (33-32) with 22 points and Brad Miller, who also played for the Pacers, added 17.
Jazz 111, Hawks 101
ATLANTA – Utah continued its mastery of Atlanta and stayed close in the Western Conference playoff race.
Deron Williams scored 28 points and had two teammates score more than 20 as Utah snapped a three-game losing streak and gave the Hawks their fourth straight loss.
Williams made four 3-pointers and helped keep the Atlanta defense from collapsing on Mehmet Okur, who had 24 points, and Carlos Boozer, who added 21.
The Jazz have won seven straight games over the Hawks, who were led by Joe Johnson’s 27 points.
Mavericks 104, Wizards 94
WASHINGTON – Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki scored 25 points apiece, and the Dallas Mavericks pulled away in the second half.
Jerry Stackhouse, booed every time he touched the ball by Wizards fans disenchanted with his two seasons in Washington, added 17 points off the bench for the Mavericks, who won their third straight and sixth in seven games.
Gilbert Arenas scored 26 points to lead Washington.
Magic 84, Celtics 77
ORLANDO, Fla. – Dwight Howard had 18 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots to help the Magic beat Boston.
It was a rare comeback win for Orlando, which won for only the second time in 37 games this season after trailing going into the fourth quarter. The Magic were down 61-59 after three periods.
Hedo Turkoglu scored 10 of his 18 points in the fourth and Howard’s defense helped hold the Celtics to just 3-for-23 shooting (13 percent) in the final period.
Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 19 points, but was only 5-for-18 from the field. Wally Szczerbiak added 16 points for Boston, which has lost three straight.
Raptors 97, Bucks 96
TORONTO – Chris Bosh had 27 points and 10 rebounds, and the Raptors rallied from a 16-point deficit in the final 6 minutes to beat Milwaukee.
The Bucks led 94-78 with 5:41 left, before Toronto finished the game on a 19-2 run – capped by Bosh’s two free throws with 3.4 seconds remaining.
After T.J. Ford failed to get a shot off before the final buzzer, Milwaukee’s Andrew Bogut kicked the ball the length of the court in disgust.
Bobby Simmons had 21 points for the Bucks.
Nets 92, Lakers 89
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Nenad Krstic scored 26 points and tapped in a missed shot by Vince Carter with 13 seconds left to lift New Jersey over the Lakers.
Smush Parker had brought the Lakers to within 90-89 on a 3-pointer with 34 seconds left. Carter drove the lane and missed, but Krstic scored on the rebound to give the Nets a three-point lead. Kobe Bryant missed a long 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Carter scored 24 points for New Jersey, which won its fourth straight game and improved to 17-3 in its last 20 home games. Bryant led the Lakers with 24 points, 11 below his average.
Cavaliers 99, Trail Blazers 84
CLEVELAND – LeBron James scored 27 points to lead the Cavaliers past Portland.
Drew Gooden added a season-high 23 points and 14 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who snapped a three-game losing streak and handed Portland its ninth consecutive road loss. The Trail Blazers have lost three in a row and 17 of their last 20 overall.
Sebastian Telfair, a reserve, scored 24 points to lead Portland, which is last in the league in scoring and didn’t even make its 88.4 average.
Knicks 105, Pistons 103
NEW YORK – Jamal Crawford scored 15 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, including the tiebreaking jumper with 2.2 seconds left, and the Knicks rallied to beat Detroit.
Eddy Curry added 16 points and 11 rebounds and Steve Francis scored 15 points for the Knicks, who were decked out in green for the first time ever to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. They looked nothing like the team that has one of the NBA’s worst records in Larry Brown’s first season as coach after two seasons with the Pistons.
Chauncey Billups scored 24 points for the Pistons, who lost All-Stars Rasheed Wallace and Richard Hamilton to ejections in the third quarter and their magic number to clinch the Central Division title remained at two.