By Dan Savage

December 28, 2007: SCOREBOARD | IN FOCUS GALLERY | AROUND THE ASSOCIATION ARCHIVE

PHOTO OF THE NIGHT
Kobe Bryant unloaded for 31 points on Friday to give the Lakers an easy win over the Jazz and help Phil Jackson tie Red Auerbach with 938 regular-season victories . Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"We can't worry about who's the hottest story. The Blazers are getting a lot of attention right now. We've just got to keep winning.''
-- Hornets guard Chris Paul, on how New Orleans is flying under the radar despite its fourth straight triumph on Friday.
NBA.COM'S FANTASY TAKE
While injuries to Chris Bosh, Andrea Bargnani and T.J. Ford may have hurt some fantasy lineups, those who were smart enough to add Kris Humphries to their roster have enjoyed success in Toronto's misfortune. With the Raptors reeling, the forward out of Minnesota has scored in double figures in seven out of his last 10 games, including 14 points against the Spurs on Friday. If you are looking for some help, consider Humphries roster worthy at least until Toronto gets healthy. Check out NBA.com's Fantasy Index.
SHOOTING STUDS
Kobe Bryant, Lakers
123-109 win vs. Jazz
31 pts, 11-18 FG, 6-9 3-pt FG

Dwyane Wade, Heat
121-114 OT loss vs. Magic
48 pts, 16-21 FG

Richard Hamilton, Pistons
114-101 win vs. Pacers
23 pts, 10-17 FG, 3-3 3-pt FG

STAT SHEET STUFFER
If you thought the key to the Suns' success was scoring over 100 points, you were wrong. Although Phoenix was previously 0-5 when being held under the century mark, it managed to win against the Clippers scoring a mere 94. Instead, the new stat to look to is STAT himself. The Suns improved to 11-0 when Amare notches a double-double as their big man tallied 28 points and 10 rebounds Friday. He added three blocks for good measure.
SHOOTING DUDS
Corey Maggette, Clippers
94-88 loss at Suns
13 pts, 3-17 FG, 0-1 3-pt FG

Rudy Gay, Grizzlies
103-83 loss vs. Rockets
8 pts, 3-13 FG, 0-2 FT

Raymond Felton, Bobcats
99-85 loss vs. Hornets
4 pts, 2-10 FG, 0-2 3-pt FG

THEY'RE STREAKING ALL AROUND THE COUNTRY
Before the season started, pundits labled the Blazers too young and the Pistons too old to compete for the top spot in their respective conferences. If either team is proving anything this season, it's that age doesn't matter. Portland has overcome the injury to No. 1 pick Greg Oden and is cruising along in the West thanks to a pair of super sophomores. Their heroics continued on Friday as Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge combined for 43 points to help the Blazers extend their winning streak to a dozen games. Meanwhile in Detroit, a veteran cast of Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace and Richard Hamilton all scored in double figures to give the Pistons their season-high seventh straight victory as they pulled past the Pacers. It was Detroit's 14th win in its last 16 games.
WADE SCORES 48, BUT VAN GUNDY HAS LAST LAUGH
You have to believe that Stan Van Gundy is having a good laugh inside about his current situation with the Magic, given the state of affairs in Miami these days. After Orlando crushed the Heat in Van Gundy's first matchup against his former squad, he once again came out the victor as he made his first trip back to Miami on Friday. Sticking to his previous plan of containing the Heat's role players, but allowing Dwyane Wade to score -- Wade had a then season-high 32 in their initial meeting -- Van Gundy watched as Miami's superstar matched a career high with 48 points in regulation to force overtime against the Magic. However, Orlando's coach adjusted his plan in the extra session and directed his players to constantly pressure and trap Wade. The Magic responded by holding him scoreless in overtime. Hedo Turkoglu fired in five points in the final 52 seconds to seal the win.
ROOKIE WATCH
Since Tracy McGrady went down with a knee injury, the Rockets have turned to a pair of rookies to make up for the missing production. Aaron Brooks was rarely used early in the season, but has played a significant role in Houston's past two games. After turning in a career-best 12 points against the Pistons on Sunday, Brooks poured in 10 to power the Rockets past the Grizzlies on Friday. Fellow rookie Luis Scola helped seal the deal with 22 points.
SIXTH MAN OF THE NIGHT
Could you write a better start for a new head coach than the one Jim Boylan had on Friday? After taking over for Scott Skiles as the Bulls interim head coach, Boylan decided to replace Ben Gordon in the starting lineup with Chris Duhon. As a result, Boylan came out looking like the newest genius on the block. Gordon appeared energized late in the game as he fired off 19 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter to power Chicago to a victory over the Bucks on Friday.
D-LEAGUE STAR OF THE NIGHT
When the Suns called up Alando Tucker after his 40-point performance, Phoenix made room by sending D.J. Strawberry down to the Thunderbirds. Apparently Strawberry wants his spot back. The rookie guard out of Maryland followed in his former teammates footsteps as he dropped a 41-point bomb on the Flash to lead Albuquerque past Utah. Strawberry was accurate from 3-point range, going 4-of-6 from behind the arc.