Gerald Wallace had 29 points and 12 rebounds in his return after missing a game with severe headaches, leading the Charlotte Bobcats to an 88-76 victory over the undermanned visiting Detroit Pistons last night and snapping a three-game losing streak.
Stephen Jackson added 13 points despite playing with a sore back for the sharp-shooting Bobcats, who held a comfortable lead over the final three quarters.
The Pistons lost their fifth straight as they again had 52 points-a-game in street clothes, with Richard Hamilton (hamstring), Tayshaun Prince (back) and Ben Gordon (ankle) sidelined. Rodney Stuckey scored 20 points for Detroit, which shot 38 percent from the field.
Wallace missed Sunday's loss to New York after getting elbowed in the face a night earlier. The Bobcats don't think he sustained what would be his fifth concussion as a pro; he passed a series of tests over the past 2 days to get cleared to return.
The 6-7 Wallace saw no drop-off in his work on the boards and had a big game from three-point range. He hit 4-for-6 on treys, including a 23-footer early in the second half to put Charlotte up 60-39. The Pistons got no closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
"Gerald is a monster, man," Jackson said. "I know if I had to vote for anybody in the All-Star [game], with the year he's having he definitely needs to be there. I love him because of how hard he plays."
In other games:
* At New York, David Lee rattled in the clinching jumper with 5.5 seconds left, finishing with 18 points and a career-high-tying 21 rebounds, as the Knicks held on for an 88-81 victory over Chicago.
One night after a humiliating collapse at home against Sacramento, the Bulls nearly battled back from a huge deficit in this game, but New York prevailed for its third straight victory and seventh in nine games.
Al Harrington led the Knicks with 20 points. New York improved to 8-3 in December, clinching its first winning December since going 9-7 in 2004.
Derrick Rose scored 22 of his 26 points in the second half for Chicago, which whittled a 22-point deficit to one in the final 2 minutes. But Lee grabbed an offensive board and made two free throws with 1 minute, 25 seconds remaining, then sank a baseline jumper that made the score 84-79 as the shot clock was winding down.
Luol Deng scored 23 points and Joakim Noah had 21 rebounds for the Bulls.
* At Boston, Paul Pierce missed his first 10 shots and then scored 16 points in the fourth quarter, including seven straight, to put the Celtics ahead for good in a 103-94 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
Pierce finished with 21 points, going 12 for 13 from the free throw line to make up for his slow start. Troy Murphy had 24 points and a season-high 18 rebounds for Indiana, which lost its fourth straight.
* At Dallas, Travis Roy scored 23 points, LaMarcus Aldridge added 19 points and 12 rebounds, and the Portland Trail Blazers rallied in the fourth quarter for an 85-81 victory over the Mavericks.
* At Houston, Carl Landry came off the bench to score 27 points and lead the Rockets to a 108-99 victory over the Los Angeles Clipeers, whose Chris Kaman led all scorers with 29 points.
* At Minneapolis, Jamal Crawford scored 26 points in 27 minutes off the bench to lead the Atlanta Hawks over the Minnesota Timberwolves, 112-89. Kevin Love had 15 points and 19 rebounds for Minnesota.
* At Memphis, Zach Randolph scored a season-high 33 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, and the Grizzlies overcame Golden State's strong start to beat the Warriors 121-108. Marc Gasol and O.J. Mayo added 22 points apiece as Memphis won its third straight. Corey Maggette had 25 points to lead the Warriors.
* The Oklahoma City Thunder shook up their backup point guard position, acquiring rookie Eric Maynor in a trade with the Utah Jazz for the rights to 2002 draft pick Peter Fehse, who has never played in the NBA. Oklahoma City also agreed to take on the contract of injured veteran Matt Harpring, and then waived backup point guards Shaun Livingston and Mike Wilks.