AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Tayshaun Prince matched his career high with 31 points, Chauncey Billups added 22 points and 16 assists, and the Detroit Pistons beat the New York Knicks 108-100 Friday night for their eighth straight victory.

The Pistons haven’t lost since a 100-99 home defeat to New Orleans dropped them to 3-5 on Nov. 15. The Knicks have lost six of seven. Billups hit his first seven shots before missing a 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter, while Prince hit a career-high six 3-pointers, including three in the fourth.

Richard Hamilton added 26 points for Detroit, going 11-for-11 from the line, while Rasheed Wallace had 14 rebounds.

Bulls 111, Hornets 108

OKLAHOMA CITY – Andres Nocioni scored a career-high 31 points, including two late free throws, and the Chicago Bulls held off a series of comebacks for a 111-108 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night.

After New Orleans cut an 18-point deficit to four in the final minute, Nocioni hit two free throws with 13 seconds left to help preserve the lead.

Rasual Butler made his seventh 3-pointer of the game to get the Hornets within 109-106, and Tyson Chandler’s dunk off Butler’s miss made it a two-point game. Chicago’s Ben Gordon hit one of two free throws with 2.4 seconds left, and Chris Paul’s half-court shot for the tie was after the buzzer and off-target.

Cavaliers 106, Hawks 95

ATLANTA – LeBron James scored 31 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers pulled away from the Atlanta Hawks in the fourth quarter for a 106-95 victory Friday night.

James scored 13 points in the final period, including a trio of three-point plays. He also wowed the crowd with a couple of high-flying blocks on back-to-back possessions to ruin any hope of a comeback for Atlanta.

The Hawks won at Cleveland in the teams’ first meeting of the season, outlasting the Cavaliers 104-95 in overtime. James was criticized after the game for walking toward the locker room in the final seconds while Atlanta dribbled out the clock.

Nuggets 106, ‘Wolves 92

MINNEAPOLIS – Carmelo Anthony scored 35 points, Eduardo Najera outworked Minnesota’s post players for a double-double, and the Denver Nuggets beat the Timberwolves 106-92 on Friday night.

Najera had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and all five starters scored in double figures for the Nuggets, who have won nine of the last 11 games after starting the season 0-3. Anthony has scored at least 30 points in 11 of the last 12 games.

Kevin Garnett had 21 points and 11 rebounds and Ricky Davis also had 21 points for Minnesota, which has lost three straight.

Wizards 121, Bobcats 109

WASHINGTON – Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison each scored more than 20 points in a free-flowing game, and the Washington Wizards beat the Charlotte Bobcats 121-109 Friday night.

Arenas got his teammates involved early, compiling six assists before he made a field goal, and finished with 33 points and 10 assists. Butler scored 24 points and Jamison added 22, as Washington improved to 6-2 at home; it’s 0-7 on the road.

Mavericks 109, Kings 90

DALLAS – Dirk Nowitzki’s aim was off in his first game back from suffering blurred vision, yet he was only the one misfiring for the Dallas Mavericks as they trounced the Sacramento Kings 109-90 Friday night to extend their winning streak to 12.

The Mavericks haven’t lost since starting the season 0-4.

The surge is the third-best in club history – two shy of matching the franchise record – and has taken them to the top of the Southwest Division and they’re closing in on Utah for the best record in the NBA.

They certainly looked like it in this game.

Despite Nowitzki missing eight of his first nine shots, Dallas still led 62-41 at halftime. Once he found a groove in the third quarter, the lead grew to 32.

It was the fourth straight game the Mavericks haven’t even trailed and they won by their widest margin all season.


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