By Josh Cohen

December 21, 2007: SCOREBOARD | IN FOCUS GALLERY | AROUND THE ASSOCIATION ARCHIVE

PHOTO OF THE NIGHT
The Trail Blazers celebrate after beating the Nuggets and notching their 10th straight win on Friday. Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images/NBAE
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"Who would have thought Portland would do that? You'd think it would be Dallas or Phoenix."
Brandon Roy, on his team winning their 10th straight and pulling within 1/2 game of first place in the Northwest Division.
THE DAY'S TOP VIDEO
NBA.COM'S FANTASY TAKE
There may not be a hotter player in the league right now than Dirk Nowitzki. The reigning MVP has tallied 30 points or more in his last three games. If he is not currently on your roster, consider offering a package deal to acquire Nowitzki. Also, keep in mind that Kenyon Martin (strained hamstring) and Marcus Camby (back contusion) each did not play in Denver's loss to Portland. Check NBA.com daily for injury updates and take a look at the Fantasy Index.
SHOOTING STUDS
Kevin Durant, Sonics
123-115 vs. Raptors
27 pts, 11-18 FG, 4-5 3-pt FG

Andrew Bynum, Lakers
106-101 win at Sixers
24 pts, 10-11 FG, 4-4 FT

Joe Johnson, Hawks
97-92 win at Wizards
32 pts, 10-22 FG, 4-6 3-pt FG, 8-9 FT

STAT SHEET STUFFER
After losing seven straight road contests – their longest streak since 2005 when they fell eight times in a row away from Salt Lake City, the Jazz sure needed a stat sheet stuffer. Paul Millsap answered the bell on Friday with a career-best 28 points as Utah topped Orlando. The Louisiana native added seven rebounds and a steal. Carlos Boozer, meanwhile, nearly posted a triple-double with 24 points, nine rebounds and a career-tying best eight assists.
SHOOTING DUDS
Luol Deng, Bulls
107-82 loss at Celtics
8 pts, 3-10 FG, 0-0 3-pt FG

Corey Maggette, Clippers
102-89 loss at Mavericks
9 pts, 3-10 FG, 0-0 3-pt FG

Pau Gasol, Grizzlies
94-67 loss at Pistons
10 pts, 4-14 FG

REKINDLING OLD MEMORIES
When an NBA player visits the city he played his high school ball at, it must bring back such fond memories. It’s a time to reflect on 50-50 raffle tickets, parent-led concession stands, and Social Studies teachers as game announcers. Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum, I’m sure, remembered all their high school experiences on Friday when they each visited a familiar city. Kobe, who was a legendary talent at Lower Merion High School near Philadelphia before beginning his NBA career in 1996, is now 20 points shy of becoming the youngest player in NBA history to record 20,000 career points. The nine-time All-Star racked up 19 points to help the Lakers top the 76ers for the first time in his hometown since 2000. Bynum, meanwhile, who played his high school ball at St. Joseph High School across the border in New Jersey, posted a career-best 24 points and added 11 rebounds.
D-LEAGUE SCORING RECORD MATCHED
Utah Flash guard Morris Almond will have plenty to write about when he updates his NBA.com blog. The standout rookie matched a D-League regular season single-game scoring record with an extraordinary 51 points in Utah’s 118-116 overtime triumph over Austin on Friday. Almond, who was recently assigned to the D-League after playing in four games with the Jazz, hit two free throws in the final seconds of the extra session to seal the victory and a memorable performance.
Interesting facts to take note of:
  • Clay Tucker notched 51 points last season also against the Toros.
  • Darius Rice exploded for 52 points in last season’s championship game. Almond graduated from Rice University.
  • Less than two weeks ago, Rod Benson set the D-League single-game rebounding record with 28 grabs and scored 28 points.
  • Almond's NBA club, the Jazz, won 51 games last season.
  • SIXTH MAN OF THE NIGHT
    It’s where amazing happens. Any time Michael Jordan steps on the hardwood, amazing happens, especially when the Jazz and Knicks are in his vicinity. When we reflect on Jordan’s NBA career, we tend to remember his astounding performances against Utah in the 1997 and ‘98 Finals, including his breathtaking game-winning jumper over Bryan Russell to clinch his sixth championship, and his extraordinary scoring outputs against New York. Well, I guess we can say he has done it again. After “His Airness” practiced with the Bobcats on Tuesday, Charlotte defeated Utah on Wednesday and cruised past New York on Friday. For all he has done for the game, let's call Jordan our Sixth Man of the Night.
    COOL/CLUTCH PERFORMANCE
    Any murky happenings from the past in Portland have become completely overshadowed by its recent success. In the longest winning streak in the league this season, the Blazers have won 10 straight after pulling out a thrilling 99-96 triumph over the Nuggets on Friday. It’s Portland's longest since a stretch of 12 straight victories in 2002. Martell Webster recorded 19 points and LaMarcus Aldridge posted 18 and eight rebounds in his second game back after missing five games with a foot injury. A quick suggestion to BlazerMania: Celebrate like it’s 1977 and remember that a guy by the name of Greg Oden is steadily recovering from microfracture knee surgery.
    ROOKIE WATCH
    Nearly two months after undergoing surgery to repair his broken left hand, Pistons rookie Rodney Stuckey made his professional debut on Friday. The former Eastern Washington standout played just six minutes and scored just two points, but his appearance is an excellent sign for Detroit, which limited Memphis to 34 percent shooting from the floor while extending its winning streak to four games in a 94-67 home triumph. Minnesota’s Corey Brewer, meanwhile, came up big in the Timberwolves’ victory over the Pacers. The two-time NCAA champion with the University of Florida tallied 10 points and seven rebounds as the Wolves overcame a 21-point first-quarter deficit to snap a six-game losing streak.