Sun, Mar 01, 2009 - Page 19 News List

NBA: Wizards harness Obama ‘buzz’

MAGICAL ATMOSPHERE Washington were too strong for the Chicago Bulls, who were being watched in the capital by their No. 1 fan, US President Barack Obama

AFP AND AP , WASHINGTON AND DENVER, COLORADO

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Delonte West, left, and center Anderson Varejao, right, battle for a rebound with San Antonio Spurs center Kurt Thomas during the first quarter of their NBA game in San Antonio, Texas, on Friday.

PHOTO: AP

Antawn Jamison scored 27 points to lead the Washington Wizards to a 113-90 win over Chicago on Friday, in a match that had an extra buzz as US President Barack Obama attended the game.

Obama is the first president in almost 10 years to attend a Washington game and it was his first game since being sworn in as the 44th president.

“We wanted to perform well in front of the president,” Jamison said. “The most important thing was getting the win. The energy in the building brought back good memories for us. It was important to come out and play well, get a win, and give a good showing in front of the president. It’s a pretty cool feeling.”

“Clearly having the president here and having the buzz from the crowd all led into a feeling that we fed off of,” Wizards interim coach Ed Tapscott said.

A native of Chicago, Obama was in attendance to watch his beloved Bulls. However, it was a disappointing showing by his team, who lost for the third time in four games.

Despite a handful of moves at the trade deadline to shake things up, Chicago appeared flat early on, scoring 18 points on seven-of-21 shooting in the first half.

Obama left with more than four minutes remaining, shortly before Washington extended their lead to 20 points at 106-86.

NUGGETS 90, LAKERS 79

In Denver, Colorado, the Nuggets showed they can not be counted out of NBA title race just yet, ending a nine-game losing skid in style with a 90-79 win over the league-leading Los Angeles Lakers.

J.R. Smith scored 22 points in an impressive defensive performance by the Nuggets, who had seen their Northwest Division lead sliced to two-and-a-half games.

The Lakers had their second-worst shooting night since the franchise moved to Los Angeles — 29.8 percent. They were on pace for their worst ever until a layup with 5 seconds left saw them rise above the low-water mark of 29.4 percent set in 2004.

Kobe Bryant scored 29 points, but he needed 31 shots to do it, sinking just 10 of them.

CAVALIERS 97, SPURS 86

In San Antonio, Texas, LeBron James had 30 points and 14 rebounds, helping Cleveland beat San Antonio and bounce back from a miserable game against Houston.

James was 12-of-23 from the floor in only 32 minutes of playing time. He also had four assists after being shutout in that category against the Rockets on Thursday for the first time in his career.

The Cavaliers also lost Ben Wallace to a broken leg against Houston.

Tim Duncan missed a third straight game for San Antonio with a leg injury, but is expected back today.

CELTICS 104, PACERS 99

In Boston, new signing Stephon Marbury scored six points in a tight fourth quarter to help Boston edge Indiana.

The former New York Knicks point guard made a brief, but important appearance just hours after signing with the Celtics.

Ray Allen topped the Celtics’ scoring sheet with 30 points, while Rajon Rondo matched a career high with 17 assists.

PISTONS 93, MAGIC 85

In Orlando, Florida, Detroit snapped their eight-game losing streak with an upset win at Orlando.

Richard Hamilton had 31 points and six assists on his return to the starting lineup for the Pistons, who overcame the absence of star guard Allen Iverson, who sat out the game with a stiff back.

HAWKS 91, HEAT 83

In Atlanta, Georgia, the hosts beat Miami to extend their lead to two-and-a-half games over the Heat.

Joe Johnson scored 24 points, while Al Horford had 21 points and 22 rebounds for the Hawks.

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