The Bergen Record (Steve Adamek) reports (via blog): The Knicks’ appeal to get a disabled player salary-cap exception for Cuttino Mobley, which would not only have given them a nearly $4.5 million cap slot immediately to use either in a deal or to sign another player, but get his salary (for this season and next) off their cap and enable them to take him off their roster, was denied by the NBA late Friday, team president Donnie Walsh said Saturday morning. The league, Walsh said, essentially determined that Mobley’s heart condition, which forced him to retire shortly after the Knicks acquired him from the Clippers on Nov. 21, but with which he had played before that this season, was a pre-existing condition.
The AP reports: Ben Gordon and Luol Deng each scored 20 points for the Bulls, who defeated the Kings 109-88 for the first time since Jordan scored 33 points in that Nov. 23, 1997, game… Tyrus Thomas had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Kirk Heinrich added 11 points and seven assists for Chicago, which had lost 13 of its previous 19. The Bulls had little time to savor the win because they are facing Phoenix on Saturday with Noah likely matching up against Shaquille O’Neal instead of the Kings’ Brad Miller… Kevin Martin scored 27 points for the Kings, who have lost eight straight, matching their longest losing streak of the season. Sacramento has dropped 20 of 23 and has the worst record in the Western Conference at 10-38. John Salmons had 16 points and Jason Thompson contributed 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Kings, who shot 37 percent and had 22 turnovers.
The AP reports: Don Nelson saw Peja Stojakovic guarding Corey Maggette in crunch time and figured it was Maggette’s moment to shine. Maggette wasn’t about to disagree. He scored 12 of his 19 points in last six minutes, helping the Golden State Warriors hold on for a 91-87 upset of the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night… Jamal Crawford scored 17 for Golden State, hitting a 19-foot jumper with 15.4 seconds left—a crushing blow after Stojakovic had pulled New Orleans to 85-82 with 37 seconds left. Chris Paul had 31 points for the Hornets, while David West, returning from back spasms that sidelined him for five games, had 12 points and 15 rebounds.
The AP reports: Deron Williams had 24 points and 12 assists and the Utah Jazz snapped a four-game losing streak with a 110-90 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night… Mehmet Okur scored 20 points and Paul Millsap added 16 points, nine rebounds and tied a career high with seven assists for the Jazz, who capitalized on the Thunder’s 24 turnovers. Kevin Durant had 29 points and 10 rebounds and Russell Westbrook had 20 points but the Thunder couldn’t rally after falling behind in the second quarter.
The AP reports: Carmelo Anthony scored 19 points in his first game back from a broken bone in his shooting hand, lifting the Denver Nuggets to a 110-99 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night… Nene had 22 points, hitting 10 of 11 shots, and 12 rebounds for his 14th double-double of the season… Raja Bell led the Bobcats with a season-high 27 points, while Boris Diaw added 16 and former Nuggets player Juwan Howard had 11.
The AP reports: Andrew Bynum bulled his way inside to 27 points and 15 rebounds, providing the perfect complement to Kobe Bryant and his 30 points, and the Lakers started a six-game road trip with a 132-119 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night… Minnesota’s recent resurgence has been fueled by rebounding and reliable inside play, but L.A. was simply too deep and too tall. Al Jefferson finished with 34 points and 13 rebounds, but Bynum proved to be just a bit stronger inside. The Lakers have another 7-footer, Pau Gasol, who backed up his All-Star selection with 21 points and nine rebounds… Randy Foye scored 27 points for the Wolves, who rallied from a 20-point hole with an 18-7 run in the fourth quarter but couldn’t get any closer.
The AP reports: Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 20 points with 11 rebounds in his first game in exactly one month because of a broken left ankle and James added 25 points as the Cavaliers, frustrated in a loss at Orlando on Thursday, improved to 22-0 at home this season and tied the franchise record for the most consecutive home wins, set in the 1988-89 season… Rookie Eric Gordon scored 27 for the Clippers, who stayed close for nearly three quarters before dropping their eighth straight road game as they began a seven-game trip. Los Angeles has lost 18 of 20.
The AP reports: Joe Johnson found his shot, and the Atlanta Hawks found a way to beat the New Jersey Nets. Johnson scored 29 points to shake his January slump as the Hawks won the matchup of high-scoring backcourts and beat the Nets 105-88 on Friday night. Johnson’s backcourt-mate Mike Bibby added 20 points as Atlanta won against New Jersey for the first time in four tries this season… New Jersey’s Devin Harris and Vince Carter form the top-scoring backcourt in the league with their combined average of 43.1 points, about six points better than the third-place Hawks’ combo. But Harris (20 points) and Carter (18) combined to make only 11 of 31 shots against Atlanta.
The AP reports: Without Michael Redd’s scoring punch, the Milwaukee Bucks hope a stifling defense can carry them into the playoffs. It was good enough to shut down the Toronto Raptors. Charlie Villanueva had 26 points and 13 rebounds, Richard Jefferson added 17 points and the Bucks beat the Raptors 96-85 Friday night, their first win since leading scorer Redd suffered a season-ending knee injury… Bogut returned to the lineup against the Raptors after missing eight games with back spasms and scored 13 points. Luke Ridnour added 15 points for Milwaukee.
The AP reports: Willie Green scored a season-high 20 points, Andre Iguodala also had 20 and the Philadelphia 76ers kicked off a seven-game homestand with a 104-94 win over the pesky Washington Wizards on Friday night. The Sixers built a 15-point lead in the first half, then watched it evaporate against the worst team in the NBA once Dalembert was lost with a sprained left ankle… Thaddeus Young filled in with 18 points and nine rebounds in 43 minutes… The Wizards gamely rallied and briefly went ahead late in the third quarter, only to lose their fifth straight game. Antawn Jamison had 25 points and 15 rebounds for the Wizards, Caron Butler scored 20 points and Dominic McGuire had 16.