Shaquille O'Neal took over the game in the fourth quarter, assuming command of the paint by scoring 10 of his season-high 23 points to lead the Miami Heat to a 92-83 victory last night over the Wizards in Washington.
In a game without Dwyane Wade, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison -- and with Gilbert Arenas having another poor shooting night -- O'Neal became the unstoppable star when it mattered most. He scored all 12 of Miami's points over a 13-minute span.
When Eddie Jones hit a 3-pointer with 1:12 to play, it broke the all-Shaq Miami parade and gave the Heat a 9-point lead, essentially sealing the game. Meanwhile, the Wizards were absolutely cold at the other end, shooting 7 for 26 in the fourth quarter of their fourth straight loss.
O'Neal, carrying much of the load while Wade is out with a shoulder injury, finished 11 for 17 from the field and also had 10 rebounds and four assists.
Raptors 106, Rockets 90 -- Andrea Bargnani scored 20 points, and Toronto used a torrid shooting first half to build a 20-point lead and beat host Houston.
T.J. Ford and Kris Humphries added 16 points apiece for the Raptors.
The Rockets pulled within 9 with 10 minutes to play before Toronto put away the game with 10 straight points.
Kings 135, Bobcats 120 -- Kevin Martin and Mike Bibby shot host Sacramento out of its slump, scoring 36 and 30 points, respectively, in a victory over Charlotte.
Bibby scored 26 in the second half, when he hit a Sacramento record-tying six of his seven 3-pointers to lead the Kings to their third win in nine games. Sacramento set season highs by shooting 63 percent from the field and scoring 135 points to give coach Eric Musselman his 100th career win.
Jazz 104, Grizzlies 88 -- Carlos Boozer had 24 points and 16 rebounds, and reserve Matt Harpring added 25 points to lead Utah to victory in Memphis.
Pau Gasol led Memphis with 28 points and 13 rebounds. But he had only 6 points after halftime, missing six of seven shots.
Bulls 113, Warriors 83 -- Ben Gordon scored 16 of his 22 points in the first quarter and rookie Tyrus Thomas tied a career high with 14 points to lead host Chicago over Golden State.
Reserve Adrian Griffin added a season-high 17 points and rookie Thabo Sefolosha scored a career-high 19 points for the Bulls, who bounced back after dropping consecutive games.
76ers 99, Suns 94 -- Andre Iguodala scored 24 points, Willie Green had 20 and Philadelphia never trailed in its win over Phoenix, which lost on the road to an Eastern Conference team for the first time.
Amare Stoudemire had 31 points and 14 rebounds, and Steve Nash scored 23 points for the Suns. Shawn Marion sat out his first game of the season because of a bruised right hand and bruised left quadriceps suffered against Indiana on Tuesday night. Boris Diaw had back spasms.
Hornets 107, Hawks 100 -- Chris Paul had 24 points, 13 in the fourth quarter, Tyson Chandler added 18 points and 13 rebounds, and New Orleans beat Atlanta in Oklahoma City.
Devin Brown scored 19 points and David West 17 for the Hornets, who began the night a half-game behind the Los Angeles Clippers in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Nuggets 111, Magic 101 -- Allen Iverson scored 34 points, Carmelo Anthony added 23 and host Denver held off Orlando.
Linas Kleiza and Eduardo Najera provided sparks off the bench for Denver. Najera scored 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting and Kleiza added 15, including three 3-pointers. Nene had 12 points, but drew two big charging calls late in the fourth quarter.
Clippers 96, SuperSonics 91 -- Corey Maggette scored 18 points, including a pair of tiebreaking free throws with 27 seconds left, leading host Los Angeles to a gritty victory over Seattle.
The Clippers played their first game since point guard Shaun Livingston tore three ligaments in his left knee and dislocated his kneecap. Sam Cassell, who came in averaging 26.7 minutes a game at age 37, played 34 minutes against the Sonics and had 16 points along with five assists.