With his team trailing by 15 points at halftime, Chicago Bulls Coach Scott Skiles figured it was time to fire away in the locker room.
"You only have so many bullets in the season; tonight I spent one," Skiles said.
Motivated by Skiles, Chris Duhon and the Bulls quickly caught the hapless Hawks and ran away with a 114-105 victory last night in Atlanta.
Duhon made eight three-pointers for a career-high 24 points, including 15 in the third quarter.
With his team trying to protect a one-game lead for fourth place -- and home-court advantage -- in the Eastern Conference playoffs, Skiles was disappointed with his team's defense as the Hawks led 63-48 at halftime.
"I got into them pretty good," Skiles said. "The thing you look for in that instance is are they going to respond."
The Hawks scored the first two baskets of the second half to push their lead to 19. Then, with Duhon making 5 of 6 three-point shots, the Bulls outscored the Hawks 36-19 in the period.
ROCKETS 115, NUGGETS 87: Tracy McGrady shook off a poor start to score 32 points, Mike James gave Houston a huge lift off the bench and the host Rockets won their fifth straight.
James scored 23 points, Yao Ming had 13 points, 11 rebounds and 5 blocks and his backup, Dikembe Mutombo, added 11 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks to help the Rockets end the Nuggets' 10-game winning streak in a Western Conference showdown critical to playoff positioning.
SPURS 97, GRIZZLIES 75: Bruce Bowen scored 15 points to help San Antonio rout host Memphis, the fourth straight game the Grizzlies have missed a chance to clinch a playoff berth. Memphis needs a victory or a Minnesota loss to wrap up a playoff spot.
The Grizzlies also failed to take advantage of Spurs forward Tim Duncan's offensive struggles. In his second game back since missing 12 games because of a sprained ankle, Duncan went 3 of 11 and scored 11 points in 23 minutes.
KNICKS 100, BOBCATS 98: Stephon Marbury scored 19 points and hit the tiebreaking jump shot with 1.7 seconds left, giving New York a win in Charlotte. Marbury was benched for the entire fourth quarter in Thursday's win over Cleveland. Last night, however, he never gave up the ball in the final seconds.
He dribbled off a screen, getting away from Brevin Knight for an instant, and made an 18-footer from the right wing.
SUNS 116, KINGS 98: Amare Stoudemire scored 22 of his 38 points in a spectacular third quarter and host Phoenix moved within a game of clinching home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. Stoudemire, combining thunderous, acrobatic dunks with outside jumpers, made nine of 10 shots in the third, when the Suns opened a 27-point lead.
CLIPPERS 94, HORNETS 89: Bobby Simmons scored 21 points, Elton Brand added 20 and Los Angeles matched its best home record in 12 years.
The Clippers finished 27-14 at Staples Center, tying the mark they compiled in 1992-93 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. Los Angeles moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the idle Lakers; the Clippers haven't finished ahead of the Lakers in 12 years.
BUCKS 113, MAGIC 103: In Milwaukee, Desmond Mason scored 22 points in three quarters and the Bucks snapped a four-game skid. Dwight Howard led Orlando with 19 points. The Magic, losers of seven straight, were without guard Steve Francis (sore lower back).