Wizards fall to depleted Raptors

The Baltimore Sun

Andrea Bargnani offered a simple secret for his success against the Washington Wizards, an explanation that applied to his Toronto teammates, too.

"I never shot with a defender on me," Bargnani said.

Down to nine players, the Raptors still easily beat worst-in-the-East Washington, 99-93, last night by making 54 percent of their field-goal attempts.

Bargnani had 25 points on 8-for-9 shooting.

The crowd was sparse and the atmosphere dull at Verizon Center in Washington for a game between two losing teams that fired their head coaches this season and are missing a half-dozen starters combined.

The Raptors traded Hassan Adams to the Los Angeles Clippers in a money-saving move earlier in the day and were without three starters who did not make the trip: Jermaine O'Neal (right knee), Jose Calderon (right hamstring) and Jamario Moon (wife gave birth to a baby).

"Gutsy performance," Raptors interim coach Jay Triano said.

Not surprisingly, his Washington counterpart did not see things that way.

"We met the opposition, and it was us," Washington interim coach Ed Tapscott said. "We took a step back, defensively and offensively tonight. Compared to the last few games that we've played, clearly I'm not happy."

Antawn Jamison scored a season-high 32 points for Washington, which opened a stretch in which it plays eight consecutive games against opponents whose records are currently below .500, a soft spot in the schedule it hoped to exploit.

Instead, the Wizards (7-27) might have hit a new low by falling to the short-handed Raptors (15-21).

"It's a step back, not because of who wasn't on the court for them, but just the way we played. We didn't play good basketball at all. We didn't get effort. We got out-rebounded by one of the worst teams in the NBA," Jamison said. "We thought the outcome should have been different."

Rockets 89, Celtics 85: : Von Wafer hit a three-pointer with 44 seconds left to give Houston the lead and the visiting Rockets (22-15) beat Boston. (29-8).

76ers 110, Bucks 105:: Andre Miller hit a three-pointer with 28 seconds left, finishing with 28 points and nine rebounds, and Philadelphia (15-20) held on for a rare road win over Milwaukee (17-20).

Nets 100, Grizzlies 89: : Vince Carter had 25 points and a season-high 12 assists, and host New Jersey (18-18) topped Memphis (11-25) for its third straight home victory.

Nuggets 108, Heat 97: : Chauncey Billups, Linas Kleiza and J.R. Smith scored 21 points apiece to help host Denver (25-12) beat Miami (18-16) for its fifth straight win.

Cavaliers 111, Bobcats 81:: LeBron James scored 21 points before grabbing an early seat on the bench, Mo Williams added 15 points and Cleveland (28-6) warmed up for its highly anticipated matchup with Boston by blowing out Charlotte (13-23), raising the Cavaliers' record at home to 18-0.

Pacers 113, Suns 110:: Danny Granger matched a career high with 37 points, including a three-pointer at the buzzer that gave visiting Indiana (13-22) a victory over Phoenix (19-13).

Magic 106, Hawks 102:: Orlando (28-8) built a big lead, then held on to hand Atlanta (22-12) a rare loss at home.

Jazz 116, Hornets 90: : Paul Millsap had 27 points and 14 rebounds to extend his NBA-leading double-double streak to 19 games and host Utah (21-15) took advantage of weary New Orleans (21-11).

Timberwolves 129, Thunder 87:: Randy Foye equaled his career high with 32 points in just three quarters and Minnesota (10-25) beat visiting Oklahoma City (5-31) to win its fourth straight game.

Off the court

Heat:: Miami traded guard Shaun Livingston and cash to the Grizzlies for a conditional second-round pick in the 2012 draft.

Livingston, a once-dynamic point guard who signed with Miami in October with hopes of resurrecting his career after a catastrophic knee injury, played in only four games with the Heat.

Lakers:: Tests showed forward Lamar Odom's right knee injury is not serious. His status is day-to-day.

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