By Dave McMenamin
SCOREBOARD: March 21, 2006 | AROUND THE ASSOCIATION ARCHIVE
PLAY OF THE DAY
DeShawn Stevenson pops his jersey after dunking on GW:
Video: NBA TV Top 10

Gerald Wallace continued the Magic's road woes with 27 points in a win.
Kent Smith/NBAE/Getty Images
NBA Photo Exhibit: March 21, 2006

SHOOTING STUDS
Mike James, Raptors
114-109 win at Knicks
37 pts, 12-22 FG,
7-11 3-pt FG

Richard Jefferson, Nets
112-100 win at Wizards
27 pts, 11-15 FG, 3-4 3-pt FG, 2-2 FT

Rasual Butler, Hornets
120-108 win vs. Clippers
32 pts, 12-16 FG, 7-9 3-pt FG

SHOOTING DUDS
Kevin Martin, Kings
105-96 win vs. Sonics
2-10 FG, 0-4 3-pt FG, 6 pts

Michael Finley, Spurs
107-96 win vs. Warriors
3-10 FG, 1-6 3-pt FG, 9 pts

Jumaine Jones, Bobcats
108-102 win vs. Magic
4-16 FG, 3-10 3-pt FG, 13 pts

STAT SHEET STUFFER
He may be known for his defense, but make no mistake about it, Ron Artest knows how to score. The Kings' forward was one off his career high as he scored 34 points on 10-of-18 shooting and Sacramento ran its home winning streak to 14 with a 105-96 silencing of the Sonics. Ron Ron complimented his offensive-minded numbers of 3-of-4 3-pointers and six assists with his usual dominate defensive output of eight rebounds, two blocks, and a steal. "I'm getting in shape," Artest said. "I'm down to 255. When I came here I was 271. I'm feeling better. I'm able to move and I'll only get better."

RICK KAMLA'S FANTASY TAKE
"Marcus Banks started and played 40 minutes, while Marko Jaric played 30 minutes off the bench. Both had solid lines, and both helped the Wolves beat the Heat. Unfortunately, it took an ankle injury to Trenton Hassell - not a coaching decision by Dwane Casey - to get both point guards on the floor at the same time."

D-LEAGUE STAR OF THE NIGHT
Austin's Marcus Fizer just finished a stint with the Sonics and he brought his NBA-ready game back to the D-League with him. Fizer exploded for 44 points - including 16 in the fourth quarter - as the Toros tripped the Thunderbirds, 102-94 at home on Tuesday. Fizer added 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals to further increase his chances of making it back to the big show sooner rather than later. Fizer's 44 surpassed the previous D-League season high of 40 points that Arkansasí Pape Sow put up against the Flyers in December.

GAME OF THE NIGHT
Even with Shaquille O'Neal sitting the game out with a thumb injury, Dwyane Wade and the Heat still looked well on their way to their 16th win in 17 games as they held a seven-point lead at halftime in Minnesota on Tuesday. But, the Timberwolves changed all that when they came out of intermission with gusto and outscored Miami 32-13 in the third to take a 12-point lead into the fourth quarter. It was now Miami's turn to mount a comeback, and Wade took up the challenge. Wade scored 11 of his 35 points in the final frame and, after Gary Payton corralled a Mark Blount miss with 12.9 seconds remaining, looked poised to tie the game up as Miami now had the ball trailing 98-96. Flash brought the ball up court and used a crafty dribble at the top of the key to knife into the lane and get all the way to the hoop to try and knot the game up. With 3.9 left on the clock, Wade's right-handed flip shot from the left side of the backboard just missed and Kevin Garnett (23 points, 11 rebounds) got the defensive rebound and tacked on two free throws to seal the 100-96 upset victory over the Heat.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"We're stacking wins. Stacking wins is like a squirrel storing nuts for the winter. You want them any way you can get them, and we need to stack enough to get into the playoffs."

-- Memphis forward Shane Battier, whose Grizzlies beat the Pacers 105-75 at home and are making a push towards the playoffs, hoping to delay off-season hibernation for as long as possible.

STORYLINES OF THE NIGHT
1. Butler Serves Threes in N.O.
The Hornets made New Orleans their nest for the third and final time this season and gave their fans a nice going-away present with a 120-108 win over the Clippers. Rasual Butler scored a career-high 32 points on 12-for-16 shooting, making seven 3-pointers in the process (also a career high) as New Orleans/Oklahoma City beat the No. 5 team in the West to move to within one game of the idle No. 8 Lakers. David West (21 points, 11 rebounds) and Chris Paul (21 points, nine assists) helped Butler bring a victory to the people of New Orleans. The victory also snapped a season-long eight-game losing skid by the Hornets and got them thinking postseason again. "We definitely wanted to the win for this city," said Butler, who started in place of the injured Desmond Mason. "But we also needed to end this streak. We really believe we can make the playoffs."

2. Where Warriors Go To Pasture
Golden State remembers the Alamo. Well, the Alamodome at least. The last time the Warriors won in San Antonio was Feb. 24, 1997 when the Spurs played their home games there. Since then, the Spurs have moved to the newly-named AT&T Center and with Tuesday's 107-96 win extended their home winning streak over the Warriors to 16 games. Tony Parker (29 points, seven assists) outdueled Derek Fisher (season-high 27 points) at the point guard position to extend San Antonio's winning streak to five games and maintain its half-game lead over Dallas in the Southwest Division. The game wasn't as easy as the score indicates, however. The Spurs trailed in the third quarter before coach Gregg Popovich was ejected for arguing with the referees about how Tim Duncan (21 points, 13 rebounds) was being bodied. "We were not playing well there in the third quarter," Parker said. "Pop went out there and took one for the team. We came back strong in the fourth quarter. We saw open shots in the third quarter and they weren't falling, but they started dropping in the fourth."

3. California-Style Sandwich
If the Clippers are the top piece of bread and the Lakers are the slice of rye at the bottom, then the Grizzlies are the bologna sandwiched in the middle just above the slice of cheese that represents the Kings. Memphis is trying to make itself like a (point guard Chucky) "Atkins" meal, and separate from all the California teams. The Grizzlies enjoyed their largest margin of victory of the season with a 105-75 rout of the Pacers at home. Pau Gasol led the effort with 23 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and four blocks to secure his team's fourth-straight victory. Memphis (38-29) sits as the No. 6 team in the West, 1.5 games behind the No. 5 Clippers (39-27). Meanwhile, Sacramento (34-33) is in the No. 7 spot and .5 games above the No. 8 Lakers (35-34). The Lakers and Kings meet in L.A. on Wednesday.

ROOKIE WATCH
Theres no better way to make a name for yourself as a rookie than matching up against an MVP at your position and coming out with a win. Utah's Deron Williams did just that with Tuesday's 107-99 home win over Steve Nash and the Suns. Williams scored nine of his 17 points in the momentous third quarter when the Jazz erased a 12-point halftime deficit and headed into the fourth quarter with a three-point lead. The point guard added 11 assists and three rebounds, making him one of a Jazz quartet to notch a double-double as his teammates Mehmet Okur (24 points, 14 rebounds), Carlos Boozer (23, 10) and Andrei Kirilenko (22, 18) hit the glass like somebody retrieving a fire extinguisher. So now that the kid's made a name for himself, make sure you pronounce his name correctly (it's Dare-unn, not duh-Ronn by the way).

SIXTH MEN OF THE NIGHT
Zoran Planinic and Clifford Robinson scored eight points apiece in reserve duty for the Nets as they beat the Wizards, 112-100 on the road. Robinson went 4-for-7 with three assists and two steals while Planinic shot 3-of-4 to go with two dimes. The duo scored 10 of their combined 16 in the fourth quarter as the Nets used a 41-30 period to take control of the game and win their sixth straight contest. "The big thing for us is to have guys come off the bench and give the starters a break," said guard Jason Kidd, who had 14 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. "That just makes us a more dangerous team when you can have Zoran and Cliff come off the bench and expand the lead."