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|Fans Get Full Slate of NBA Games for Christmas
|UNDATED (AP) -- In a face-off some say could be the matchup for the NBA championship, the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the L.A. Lakers 102-87. That ends the defending champions' five-game winning streak.
Mo Williams scored 28 points and LeBron James added 26 points and nine rebounds. Shaquille O'Neal had 11 points in his latest Los Angeles return with the Cavaliers, who dominated the Lakers with sharp shooting and physical defense.
Kobe Bryant scored 35 points for the Lakers, who had won 16 of 17 before Cleveland's decisive victory. Fans at Staples Center got so frustrated some threw yellow foam giveaway hands onto the court in the final minutes. The loss dropped the Lakers back into a tie with Boston at 23-and-5 for the best overall record in the NBA.
Tony Allen scored 16 points while replacing Boston's injured All-Star forward Paul Pierce and the Celtics put up a strong defensive effort to earn an 86-77 victory over the Magic in Orlando. Pierce didn't make the trip to Florida and is expected to miss at least two weeks due to a knee infection.
Rajon Rondo had 17 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists to help the Eastern Conference leaders notch their third straight win and 14th in their last 15 games. Boston's 23-and-5 record includes a league-best 13-and-1 mark away from home.
The only big blow for the Celtics came in the final minutes, when Kevin Garnett jumped to block a shot by Vince Carter only to land awkwardly and go tumbling to the ground. He hobbled back to the bench holding his back and didn't return.
Carter finished with a game-high 27 points.
Amare Stoudemire led seven Phoenix players in double figures with 26 points and the Suns beat the Los Angeles Clippers for the sixth straight time, 124-93. That ends a modest two-game losing streak for Phoenix.
Jared Dudley and J.R. Richardson each added 18 for the Suns in their most lopsided victory this season. Dudley, who was scoreless in Phoenix's home loss to Oklahoma City on Wednesday night, made 4 of 5 3-pointers.
The Suns shot 54 percent, including 12 of 24 from three-point land
Dwyane Wade had a merry Christmas in the Big Apple. Miami's All-Star guard dropped 30 points on the Knicks in a 93-87 victory that snapped New York's three-game overall winning streak and six-game home-court winning streak.
Danilo Gallinari scored 26 points to lead the Knicks, who were playing in their NBA-leading 45th Christmas game, but first since beating Toronto in 2001.
In the last game on the Christmas slate, Brandon Roy erupted with 41 points and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Denver Nuggets 107-96 in a battle of Northwest Division rivals.
Steve Blake hit four three-pointers in the fourth quarter and contributed 14 off the bench. Carmelo Anthony, the NBA's leading scorer, had 32 points in the loss for the Nuggets.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)