Tensions Run High as Celtics Stun Suns
In case Boston fans might have forgotten, Antoine Walker likes to shoot.
In his second game back with the Celtics, Walker took 32 shots, and made 12 of them, in a 33-point performance to help Boston become the first Eastern Conference team to win at Phoenix this season with an intense 120-113 overtime victory against the short-handed Suns.
The Suns were without Steve Nash (sore hamstring) for the third game in a row and Amare Stoudemire fouled out with 8:47 left in regulation.
It was a wild night with seven technical fouls in the first quarter, rampant trash-talking and Mike D’Antoni’s first ejection as Suns’ coach.
Despite his early exit, Stoudemire scored 27 for the Suns. Shawn Marion had 15 points and a career-high 20 rebounds.
D’Antoni was ejected with 19.9 seconds to play after he got into a shouting match with Paul Pierce when the Boston guard was at the foul line. Pierce had mimicked Quentin Richardson’s two-fist to the forehead motion that the Suns’ shooter makes after a three-point basket.
D’Antoni thought his team, at 43-14 and just percentage points behind San Antonio for best record in the league, was too caught up in the trash-talking with a team that just climbed over .500.
“We’re the best team in the league. We have the best record, and we responded to a sub-par team.” D’Antoni said. “That’s our fault, and that’s our lack of focus, a lack of ‘Just say what you want.’ We just fell into kind of a trap.”
Utah 99, Houston 92 -- Matt Harpring scored 28 points at Houston, and the Jazz used a late 8-2 run to hand the Rockets their third consecutive defeat after winning eight in a row. Tracy McGrady had 23 points for the Rockets.
Sacramento 110, Washington 108 -- Cuttino Mobley made two free throws with 1.5 seconds left, and Mike Bibby had 38 points, six rebounds and seven assists for the Kings at Washington.
Gilbert Arenas scored 43 points for the Wizards, but his foul in the closing seconds led to Mobley’s winning free throws.
Detroit 94, Golden State 88 -- Tayshaun Prince had 23 points and six rebounds at Oakland to help the Pistons win their seventh in a row.
In his Golden State debut, Baron Davis finished with 10 points and eight assists in 29 minutes.
Miami 112, Orlando 103 -- Dwyane Wade scored 11 of his 28 points in the third quarter at Orlando, Fla., to help the Heat beat the Magic for the second day in a row. Grant Hill had 34 points for Orlando.
Minnesota 91, Portland 83 -- Latrell Sprewell scored 27 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer with 1:06 left, to help end the Timberwolves’ five-game road losing streak.
Nick Van Exel scored 26 points for Portland.
Denver 94, New Orleans 93 -- Carmelo Anthony scored 17 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter to help the Nuggets close the game with a 15-7 run and overcome an 11-point deficit in the final 10 minutes at New Orleans.
Dan Dickau had 22 points for the Hornets.
Billy Hunter, executive director of the National Basketball Assn., players’ union, received a five-year contract extension through the 2009-10 season. Financial terms were not disclosed but Hunter has held the post since 1996 and was earning about $1.5 million annually, according to the National Basketball Players Assn.'s most recent filing with the U.S. Department of Labor.