Crawford scores 50 to lift Golden State

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Maybe a defensive coordinator will work in basketball. But it sure helps when you’ve got a guy hitting almost every shot at the other end.

Behind Jamal Crawford’s 50 points, the Golden State Warriors beat the Charlotte Bobcats 110-103 on Saturday, giving Warriors coach Don Nelson a win in his first game with a new coaching structure.

Yielding control of his NBA-worst defense to assistant Keith Smart and calling him the “defensive coordinator,” the Warriors did just enough at that end and let Crawford dominate on offense in his best game since being acquired from New York last month.

“He’s an amazing scorer when he heats up,” Nelson said.

Crawford was 14 of 26 from the field, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range, and made 17 of 18 free throws. He was two points shy of his career high and became the first Warrior to reach 50 points since Antawn Jamison did it in consecutive games in the 2000-01 season.

Crawford continually beat Raja Bell and Raymond Felton off the dribble for layups or fouls, bringing the type of offense the Warriors envisioned when they sent Al Harrington to the Knicks to get him.

“I feel like I can pretty much get any shot I want,” Crawford said. “I let people off the hook by settling for jump shots.”

Golden State played again without top scorers Corey Maggette (hamstring) and Stephen Jackson (hand), who is not expected to return until Friday.

Kelenna Azubuike added 21 points as the Warriors snapped a five-game losing streak.

Gerald Wallace scored 26 points and Raja Bell 21 for the Bobcats.

Magic 106, Lakers 103 — At Orlando, Fla., Jameer Nelson had 27 points for Orlando, which overcame Kobe Bryant’s season-high 41 points.

Bryant missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have forced overtime.

Rashard Lewis added 22 points for Magic in its sixth straight home victory, and Dwight Howard had 18 for Orlando in his second game back from a knee injury.

Hornets 99, Kings 90 — At New Orleans, Chris Paul had 34 points, nine assists and eight steals as New Orleans won for the 11th time in 13 games.

Reserve James Posey added 19 points for the Hornets. John Salmons scored 26 points for Sacramento, which dropped its third straight.

Suns 108, Nuggets 101 — At Phoenix, Steve Nash scored eight straight points in the final three minutes and finished with 16 points and 11 assists to lift Phoenix over Denver.

Amare Stoudemire led the Suns with 27 points and 10 rebounds, his 10th game in a row with at least 20 points.

J.R. Smith’s 23 points led Denver. Teammate Carmelo Anthony was held to 10 points.

Spurs 107, Raptors 97 — At San Antonio, Tony Parker had 24 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds to lead San Antonio, which tied a franchise record with 16 3-pointers.

Tim Duncan added 19 points for the Spurs. Jermaine O’Neal scored 24 points for Toronto, which lost its fifth straight.

Heat 106, Nets 103 — At East Rutherford, N.J., Dwyane Wade matched his season high with 43 points, including a reverse layup with 1:58 left to put Miami ahead to stay.

Brook Lopez had 22 points and 13 rebounds and Vince Carter and Devin Harris 22 points each for New Jersey.

Pacers 95, 76ers 94 — At Philadelphia, T.J. Ford hit a 15-foot jumper with 3.9 seconds left and finished with 25 points for short-handed Indiana.

The Pacers dressed nine players. Indiana was without starters Troy Murphy, Marquis Daniels and Danny Granger, out with viral infections.

Andre Iguodala had 26 points for Philadelphia in its first loss in four games under new coach Tony DiLeo. Andre Miller had 14 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds for the 76ers.

Bulls 106, Jazz 98 — At Chicago, Ben Gordon scored 26 points and Derrick Rose 10 of his 24 in the fourth quarter for Chicago, which won its fifth straight home game.

Mehmet Okur had 23 points and 13 rebounds, and Paul Milsap 22 points and 10 rebounds for Utah.

Rockets 109, Timberwolves 102 — At Minneapolis, Tracy McGrady scored 23 points as Houston handed Minnesota its 12th straight loss.

Al Jefferson had 34 points and 13 rebounds for the Timberwolves (4-22), who matched their longest losing streak since the 1993-94 season.

Bucks 119, Clippers 85 — At Milwaukee, Richard Jefferson scored 22 points and Luke Ridnour 18 to propel Milwaukee.

Al Thornton scored 20 points for Los Angeles in its most lopsided loss of the season.

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