Casspi scores a career-high 22 points in first NBA start

Casspi scores a career-h

By AP
December 18, 2009 03:57
casspi dunks 248.88

casspi dunks 248.88. (photo credit: )

 
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Omri Casspi picked the perfect game to set a new career-high, scoring 22 points on national television in the Sacramento Kings' 112-109 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night. Sacramento's sixth home win in its last seven games at the Arco Arena was broadcast on ESPN, the first time in more than two years that the Kings have appeared in a nationally televised game. Casspi made his first NBA start on Wednesday, replacing center Spencer Hawes, who had been in the lineup in recent weeks. "This is the first time I've started and it's amazing," said Casspi, who was placed third in ESPN's rookie rankings this week. "I've always dreamed of the moment I would start and it's exciting." Casspi hit six of 16 shots, including two three-pointers, while also scoring eight of nine from the foul line. The 21-year-old Israeli also added five rebounds and three assists in a season-high 38 minutes on court. Tyreke Evans led the Kings with 26 points, while Gilbert Arenas scored 33 points and Antawn Jamison had 30 points and eight rebounds for Washington, which has lost six straight games. Andres Nocioni scored 20 points and Jason Thompson had 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Kings, who had dropped eight straight games to Washington dating to Feb. 27, 2005. A dollar beer promotion helped give the Kings a crowd of 16,579, their third-largest at home this season. Beer lines were long more than an hour before game time and probably played a factor in the crowd easily being the most boisterous to start a game this season. Although the crowd noise continued in the second half, beer sales did not. No alcohol was sold after halftime. Nocioni scored 10 points and Casspi had nine in the third quarter, when the Kings built a 89-80 entering the fourth. Despite being fouled on the play, Nocioni hit a three-pointer and added a free throw for a rare four-point play that broke a 76-all tie and ignited a 13-4 run to end the period for the Kings, who never trailed again. Nuggets 111, Rockets 101 Denver's Carmelo Anthony scored 38 points - his fifth straight 30-plus point performance - as the Nuggets overcame the loss of star guard Chauncey Billups to beat the Houston Rockets 111-101 in the NBA on Wednesday. Billups, who had 15 points and is averaging 17.5, left the game with a groin strain late in the third quarter. There was no immediate word on his status for Friday's game at New Orleans. Reserve J.R. Smith added 21 points for the Nuggets, who retained a three and a half game lead atop the Northwest Division. Aaron Brooks scored 23 points for Houston. Lakers 107, Bucks 106 (OT) Kobe Bryant hit a 15-footer as time expired to give visiting Los Angeles an overtime win over Milwaukee. Bryant scored the game's final seven points over the last 1:18 of overtime. He had 27 of his 39 points in the second half and overtime, but missed a shot at the buzzer that would have won it in regulation. Given a second chance in overtime, he made no mistake. Pau Gasol had 26 points and a career-high 22 rebounds for the Lakers, who tied Boston for the best record in the NBA with their 13th win in the past 14 games. Magic 118, Raptors 99 In Orlando, Florida, potent three-point shooting helped Orlando to a win over Toronto. Dwight Howard had 18 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks for the Magic, while Rashard Lewis added 21 points. Orlando shot 14 of 30 from beyond the arc. Toronto's Hedo Turkoglu was showered with a mix of cheers and boos and scored 14 points as he returned to Orlando, where he was a fan favorite before parting ways in the offseason. Hawks 110, Grizzlies 97 In Atlanta, the hosts pulled away in the second half for their fifth straight win, beating Memphis. Despite playing only 29 minutes, Joe Johnson scored 26 points, making 10 of 16 shots from the field, including a couple of three-pointers, and chipped in with eight rebounds and three assists. Sam Young led Memphis with 20 points. Cavaliers 108, 76ers 101 In Philadelphia, LeBron James hit two clutch three-pointers in the fourth quarter and scored 36 points to lead Cleveland over Philadelphia. James was in trademark form against one of the worst teams in the NBA, shooting 12 of 26 from the floor. Mo Williams hit back-to-back shots in the fourth that gave the Cavaliers a lead they would never relinquish, and scored 12 points. Andre Iguodala's 26 point led the Sixers, who have lost 13 of 14 games. Hornets 95, Pistons 87 In New Orleans, the hosts overcome a 16-point deficit to beat Detroit. David West had a season-high 32 points and 12 rebounds, while Chris Paul scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half and added 12 assists for New Orleans. Rodney Stuckey scored 26 points for the Pistons, who were without starter Richard Hamilton because of a sore right hamstring. Spurs 103, Warriors 91 In Oakland, California, San Antonio picked up a rare road win, beating Golden State. Tim Duncan had 27 points and 15 rebounds, and Richard Jefferson scored 17 points for the Spurs, who downed Golden State for a seventh straight time. Monta Ellis scored 35 points for injury-riddled Golden State, which played without its top three centers in coach Don Nelson's return to the bench. The Warriors have lost four straight. Pacers 101, Bobcats 98 In Indianapolis, Troy Murphy had 26 points and 15 rebounds, leading Indiana over Charlotte. T.J. Ford added 15 points and 13 assists for the Pacers. Gerald Wallace had 29 points and 12 rebounds for the Bobcats, who are 1-11 on the road. Jazz 108, Nets 92 In East Rutherford, New Jersey, Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer recorded double-doubles, and Utah added to hapless New Jersey's woes. Williams had 20 points and 14 assists, while Boozer added 26 points and 10 rebounds as the Jazz handed the Nets their fifth straight loss. Brook Lopez had 23 points and 10 rebounds for New Jersey, which got one piece of good news on Wednesday when it was announced that Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov had moved a step closer to becoming the NBA's first non-North American owner. Clippers 120, Timberwolves 95 In Minneapolis, Chris Kaman had 23 points and 10 rebounds to lead Los Angeles over Minnesota. Marcus Camby had 10 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks for the Clippers. Kevin Love had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Timberwolves.

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