Firing on all cylinders, Pistons get a road kill

Coatesville's Richard Hamilton scored a season-high 35 points, Rodney Stuckey had 21, and the Detroit Pistons beat Toronto, 115-93, on Wednesday night, snapping a five-game losing streak against the Raptors.

The Pistons fell one point shy of matching a season high and ended an eight-game road skid, winning away from home for the first time since Nov. 14 at Sacramento.

Former Raptor Tracy McGrady scored a season-high 17 to help the Pistons win for the third time in four games since blowing a 25-point lead to Toronto.

Elsewhere: Amar'e Stoudemire scored 23 points, and the Knicks beat the visiting Thunder, 112-98, to snap a three-game losing streak. . . . The Bulls gored the Wizards in D.C., 87-80, behind Carlos Boozer's 30 points. It was their ninth victory in 10 games. . . . Playing at home, the Hornets had little difficulty with the Nets. Chris Paul dished out 14 assists and they shot 53.9 percent from the floor for a 105-91 win. . . . The Spurs won their 10th in a row, 109-103, over the visiting Nuggets, who were without Carmelo Anthony because of death in his family.

Zen master, King James bemoan Christmas ball

Phil Jackson and LeBron James agree: Christmas Day games are not the ideal holiday gift.

A day after the Lakers' coach reiterated his stance against NBA games on Dec. 25, James said he also wishes he could be with his family on Christmas.

Instead, the Lakers and Heat will spend the holiday together, playing in Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon.

"It's not just a regular holiday. . . . You wish you could wake up in the morning with the kids and open up presents," James said.

Jackson is the son of two Christian ministers, and he famously wrote a book on his spiritual growth related to basketball. "It's like Christian holidays don't mean to them anything," Jackson said. "Just go out and play and entertain [on] TV. It's really weird."

Let him without Ts cast the first stone

After Kobe Bryant's ejection during the Lakers' loss to the Bucks Tuesday, teammate Ron Artest sermonized on one man who never got the hook.

"All players [get ejected]. . . . Bob Cousy got ejected. . . . The only person who never got ejected was Jesus," Artest said.

A possible nonbeliever asked if Artest had reviewed Jesus' box scores.

"No ejections," Artest said. "He was 10 for 10s, a lot of 20 for 20s [from the field]. Perfect from the free-throw line. Infinity rebounding stats."

There you have it - better than Bill Russell, badder than Moses, the Alpha and Omega of rebounding.

NBA ratings get a bounce

More viewers are tuning into the NBA - and it's not just the fascination with the Miami Heat.

The successes of several prominent franchises have boosted viewership numbers. Ratings for ESPN's games are up 58 percent in Los Angeles, 56 percent in Boston, and 36 percent in New York.

- Wire reports