NEW ORLEANS LA - DECEMBER 26: David West #30 of the New Orleans Hornets dunks the ball over Marvin Williams #24 of the Atlanta Hawks at the New Orleans Arena on December 26 2010 in New Orleans Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and or using this photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

NBA Scores And More: David West Defies Nature As Hornets Beat Thunder

New Orleans' defense held late, and David West handled the rest. In other action, the Magic fell to the middling Pistons and the Wizards remained winless on the road.

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Thunder Vs. Hornets: David West Defies Nature As New Orleans Edges Oklahoma City 91-89

The least efficient shot in basketball is the long two-point jumper. It goes without saying that the further a player is from the basket, the less likely said player is to make a shot. But there's a certain threshold called the three-point line that boosts the value of said shot, making threes more worth one's while than long twos.

David West knows all that, and he doesn't care, because he's been hitting long two-pointers in the NBA for almost a decade. He hit four straight at the end of the New Orleans Hornets' Monday night game against the Oklahoma City Thunder to give his team a 91-89 victory.

The final, fatal heave from West ripped through the net with just 0.5 seconds left. Don't be alarmed by the giant David West head at the end of the clip.

Needless to say, that shot has a remarkable degree of difficulty, not just because Serge Ibaka defends it well, and not just because of the distance, and not just because of how off-balance West is when he releases the ball, and not just because the game clock is winding down. Because of all of those things. What a shot!

I dare say that Hornets coach Monty Williams would not have entrusted West with the possession had the power forward not just hit three long jumpers, in the process pulling Ibaka (a fine shotblocker) away from the basket. New Orleans wouldn't even have had the opportunity to take a two for the win had Thunder stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook not each missed shots inside of a minute remaining with the score tied at 89-89. OKC's final chance prior to West's shot expired when Chris Paul stole the ball from Nick Collison.

It was Paul's third steal to go with two from each of West and Trevor Ariza, who worked to limit Durant, the NBA's leading scorer to 22 points on 7-18 shooting. The Thunder shot well against the stout New Orleans defense, but coughed up 17 turnovers, nine of them on steals. The Hornets had just 10 turnovers.

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Wizards Vs. Knicks: Amar'e Stoudemire Scores 30 As New York Pulls Away Late

The New York Knicks had just a two-point lead on the Washington Wizards going into the fourth quarter. For a change, the 'Zards had a real chance to win on the road. But slowly and steadily, the Knicks edged away in the final period, with Amar'e Stoudemire deferring to his wings Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler as New York won 115-106.

The Wizards shot 34-65 (52.3 percent) through three quarters, and 6-18 (33.3 percent) in the fourth. Is that a tightening of the Knicks' defense, or just unavoidable when its Andray Blatche taking the lion's share of your shots late? Blatche went 2-6 in the fourth after going 0-4 through three quarters. You could credit the Knicks for keeping the ball away from John Wall (10 in the first) and Nick Young (13 in the third), but ... this is the Wizards on the road. Credit to the opponent shall be limited to a nod and a "atta boy." No trophies for letting the 'Zards implode.

The loss moves the Wizards to 0-21 on the road. The 1992-92 Dallas Mavericks lost their first 29 road games, and spread over two season, the Kings of 1990 and 1991 lost 43 straight road games. Washington's total road losing streak is at 22.

The Knicks (23-21) stemmed their own bleeding, and avoided falling to .500. A late-week set against the Heat and Hawks could change that.

Bullets Forever notes that a line-up featuring Trevor Booker and JaVale McGee helped spark a second quarter run; the two did not share the court in the second half. Posting And Toasting celebrates not just the end of the Knicks' losing streak, but also (hopefully) a few slumps.

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Pistons Vs. Magic: Orlando Defense Concedes To Tracy McGrady, Tayshaun Prince In Detroit Win

The Orlando Magic have been having some intermittent trouble on defense of late. The typically stout unit, led by two-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard, gave up big totals to the Celtics, Mavericks and Thunder in recent weeks, adding some worry to the otherwise strong rebound the Magic experienced after the two blockbuster trades reshaping the team's supporting cast.

Monday night was a bit of a wake-up call. The Magic gave up 103 points in 92 possessions to the otherwise jumpy Detroit Pistons, and lost by seven. The Pistons turned over the ball just six times all game, and took 20 points from each of former Magic star Tracy McGrady, veteran Tayshaun Prince and young buck Austin Daye. McGrady added seven rebounds and five assists; Prince had six assists.

Being that all three of the Pistons' top scorers were wings, you'd expect Orlando's perimeter defense to draw criticism. Sure enough, Howard was nonplussed about the defensive job his own wings did.

"Either we get it together or we're just going to be a playoff team that doesn't win a championship," Howard said. "Guys got to guard on the perimeter, got to do a better job. It just can't be one dribble to the basket. So you got to do a better job."

Orlando Pinstriped Post is also nonplussed, calling the defeat "disspiriting." Detroit Bad Boys, fans of a suddenly hot team, is gleeful in its reaction.

You mean to say the Pistons went on the road, beat a championship caliber opponent, and basically held their lead through the entire second half. Hmmm ... That's a problem. See, I've forgotten what that feels like, so I don't know how to write about it.

The Pistons are now 17-28, just 1.5 games out of the No. 8 spot in the East.

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Cavaliers Vs. Nets: Carmelo Who? New Jersey Wins Again, Keeps Cleveland Winless In 2011

In a game that should be forced upon any NBA observer who claims the league's competitive balance is just fine, the New Jersey Nets edged the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-101 in a game watched live by literally dozens. The match actually turned out pretty fun. Take it from NBA.com's Jake Appleman, who described the closing moments as ...

... a wild sequence that included dunks from Lopez, Kris Humphries and Ramon Sessions, as well as brilliance from Jordan Farmar and Morrow's pitch perfect leaning pull-up banker to give the Nets a 101-98 lead.

That's right: Anthony Morrow is back. In his third game back from injury, the sharpshooter scored 16, 10 in the fourth quarter. After the game, Nets coach Avery Johnson compared Morrow to Mariano Rivera. If that's an indication that things are going relatively well in Newark these days, well yeah. The Nets have now won three of four since owner Mikhail Prokhorov loudly proclaimed the team's chase of Carmelo Anthony to be over. The loss? A 12th round submission to Dirk Nowitzki's phenomenal schwag.

The Cavaliers, meanwhile, have not won since Dec. 18, 2010. That streak reads 17 games long; the NBA record for consecutive losses is 23. Cleveland's next six opponents are the Celtics, Nuggets, Magic, Heat, Pacers and Grizzlies, in case you're interested in being a jerkface watching history.

In other action:

76ers 105, Suns 95: Don't let the final score fool you: This was a rout. The Sixers led by 22 at one point. Steve Nash had 17 points and nine assists, but also five turnovers that helped Philadelphia get easy buckets in transition. Of course, Goran Dragic and Josh Childress played far fewer minutes and tallied far fewer assists than Nash, but had four turnovers apiece.

Grizzlies 100, Raptors 98: Memphis made up a game on the Blazers (see below) in the race for the No. 8 seed in the West. Andrea Bargnani had 29 and DeMar DeRozan scored 25; put some defenders and a healthy Jose Calderon (mutually exclusive) around those two and you might have something. Put some defenders around Rudy Gay (21 points) and Zach Randolph (17 points, 12 rebounds, blocked five times) and you also might have something. Where all the defenders at?

Bulls 92, Bucks 83: Carlos Boozer is back in action, which makes Chicago rather difficult to beat. The Bulls are 20-7 when Boozer plays, and 11-7 when he does not. That most of Boozer's games have been without Joakim Noah, and most non-Boozer games had Noah in action -- you see my point. Carlos Boozer is good! He had 14, but was overshadowed by the great Kurt Thomas, who had 22 and 9. Wednesday is indeed Australia Day, but I'm afraid Andrew Bogut deserves no figgy pudding.

Rockets 129, Wolves 125: In a defensive struggle, Kevin Martin shone through to score 34 points on 9-18 shooting as Houston edged Minnesota. Even Shane Battier carved out 19 points! That's how you know the teams have conceded several if not all possessions on defense: Shane Battier scores 19. Kevin Love led the Wolves with 24 points and 17 rebounds. Nine of those boards came on the offensive glass.

Kings 96, Blazers 81: Last week, Sacramento crumbled late to gift Portland a win. On Monday, the Kings took back that gift, pulling away from the Blazers behind (who else?) Tyreke Evans (no, seriously, you thought there'd be someone else?) to take the walkaway win. Evans scored nine points in the fourth quarter.

Spurs 113, Warriors 102: Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker were all up in Golden State's grill, scoring 20 and 18 respectively, with a combined 18 assists. That means the pair was involved in 31 of San Antonio's 41 makes. Who said double-star backcourts don't work?

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