By Josh Cohen

December 29, 2007: SCOREBOARD | IN FOCUS GALLERY | AROUND THE ASSOCIATION ARCHIVE

PHOTO OF THE NIGHT
Vince Carter recorded 23 points and scored on a reverse layup in the final minute to propel the Nets past the Bucks. Gary Dineen/NBAE/Getty Images
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"I liked the focus of our team today. That team reminded me of a team I coached here before.''

-- Mavericks coach Avery Johnson after his team's impressive victory over the Hawks on Saturday.
NBA.COM'S FANTASY TAKE
The Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers pulled off a trade on Saturday that sent three-point shooting specialist Kyle Korver to Salt Lake City for Gordan Giricek and a protected future first-round draft pick. If Korver is available via trade or waiver wire in your leagues, definitely consider adding him to your team. In Jerry Sloan's system, the former Creighton star will be very effective. Check out NBA.com's Fantasy Index.
SHOOTING STUDS
Jason Richardson, Bobcats
104-95 loss at Magic
34 pts, 11-21 FG, 4-8 3-pt FG

Michael Redd, Bucks
97-95 loss vs. Nets
35 pts, 12-23 FG

Richard Hamilton, Pistons
98-92 win vs. Pacers
24 pts, 9-15 FG, 2-2 3-pt FG

STAT SHEET STUFFER
If I had to use one word to describe the Pistons, it would be “balance.” Let’s check off their assets. Offense: check. Defense: check. Bench: check. Experience: check. We could go on and on. One of Detroit’s go-to-guys, Rasheed Wallace, filled up the stat sheet on Saturday with 10 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks as the Pistons topped the Pacers on Saturday for their eighth straight triumph. Detroit is now 14-2 in December.
SHOOTING DUDS
Joe Johnson, Hawks
97-84 loss at Mavs
17 pts, 6-18 FG, 1-5 3-pt FG

Andrea Bargnani, Raptors
91-79 loss at Rockets
0 pts, 0-5 FG

Troy Murphy, Pacers
98-92 loss vs. Pistons
6 pts, 3-10 FG, 0-1 3-pt FG

CELTICS RESPOND TO THE CHALLENGE
How often on television, radio, internet and newspapers have we heard and read about it? How would the Celtics perform when they visited a Western Conference power? On Saturday, for the first time this season, Boston traveled to a West team that qualified for the playoffs last year. They perfected what tends to be most difficult thing to do on the road; rally late and overcome a formidable West opponent in their building. Paul Pierce, who recorded all 24 of his points in the second half, scored on a go-ahead driving layup and buried two free throws in the final 30 seconds to lift the Celtics past the reigning Northwest Division champion Jazz. Ray Allen also hit several clutch shots down the stretch, finishing with 23 points as Boston surpassed last season's win total.
ORLANDO GETS PAT ON THE BACK
Before each NBA draft, we usually spend our time debating who should be the No. 1 overall pick. In 2003, for example, we argued whether the Cavaliers should take LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony. Most recently, we bickered about the Blazers decision to select either Greg Oden or Kevin Durant. But perhaps the most notorious debate was prior to the 2004 Draft, when Dwight Howard and Emeka Okafor were the top two prospects. Orlando, which ultimately went with Howard despite some critics’ disapproval, can honestly say it made a very wise choice. Howard, who is currently ranked second in Maurice Brooks’ Race to the MVP player rankings, posted 15 points and 21 rebounds to help the Magic outlast Okafor’s Bobcats on Saturday.
COOL/CLUTCH PERFORMANCE
Tyson Chandler is likely right now e-mailing and instant messaging this link to all his family, friends, teammates, enemies, etc. You can bet he is rubbing in his bold prediction, saying “I told you so.” Chandler, a rising sensation in the NBA, forecasted a 20-10 Hornets record last week in his NBA.com blog and what do you know, New Orleans is 20-10 after raking in its fifth consecutive triumph with Saturday’s 86-76 victory over Cleveland. David West racked up 27 points and 15 rebounds for the Hornets.
ROOKIE WATCH
After Kevin Durant sprained his left index finger (X-rays negative) in the first quarter and Chris Wilcox sprained his left knee in the third, one would have thought the Sonics would just hide their heads and melt away. But rather, Seattle utilized its many other youthful talents to rout the Timberwolves on Saturday. Jeff Green, for instance, fell one point shy of his career high with 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the floor.
D-LEAGUE STARS OF THE NIGHT
When I reflect on great basketball history, I think about sensational individual showdowns like Isiah Thomas vs. Bernard King in the 1984 playoffs or Larry Bird vs. Chuck Person in 1991. In the D-League on Saturday, there was a classic showdown between Rio Grande Valley's Kenny Taylor and Iowa's Dwayne Mitchell. Taylor tallied 33 points as the Vipers were able to outlast Mitchell, who poured in 34, and the Energy.