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National Sports Briefs

Associated Press
DAVIDSONó Chattanooga served notice that Davidson’s defense of its Southern Conference title won’t be easy.
Stephen Curry scored 31 points in the second half as the No. 23 Wildcats held off a rally in the final two minutes Saturday night to beat the Mocs 100-95 in both teams’ league opener.
Curry, the preseason All-American and nation’s leading scorer, finished with 41 points for Davidson (8-1, 1-0). The Wildcats overcame 37.1 percent shooting in the first half to win their sixth straight game.
NBA
CHARLOTTE ó Allen Iverson and the rest of the Detroit Pistons starters retreated to the end of the bench to start the fourth quarter.
Taking advantage of the ragged debut by Charlotte Bobcats newcomers Boris Diaw and Raja Bell, the Pistons led by 22 points and the regulars were certain their night was over.
“Guys are over there taking off their tape,” guard Richard Hamilton said.
The Pistons’ reserves made that premature. Before holding on for a 90-86 win over the new-look Bobcats, every starter except Iverson returned to the game. Rasheed Wallace’s 3-pointer with 10.4 seconds left ended a nearly 7-minute scoring drought.
Hawks 97, Cavs 92
ATLANTA ó Mike Bibby scored 24 points, Marvin Williams hit the clinching free throws, and the Atlanta Hawks snapped the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 11-game winning streak.
76ers 104, Wizards 89
PHILADELPHIA ó Elton Brand scored a season-high 27 points, leading Philadelphia over struggling Washington in Tony DiLeo’s coaching debut.
Magic 103, Jazz 94
SALT LAKE CITY ó Rashard Lewis scored 27 points, and Orlando beat Utah despite playing without injured center Dwight Howard for the first time.
Mavericks 103, Thunder 99
DALLASó Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 46 points, Jason Terry added 28 and Dallas won for the 11th time in 13 games, beating Oklahoma City.
Nuggets 123, Warriors 105
DENVER ó Carmelo Anthony had 27 points and nine rebounds, Chauncey Billups added 16 points and 11 assists, and Denver beat Golden State.
Bulls 113, Nets 104
CHICAGO ó Ben Gordon scored 29 points and Derrick Rose had nine of his 22 in the fourth quarter to lead Chicago over New Jersey.
Bucks 121, Pacers 103
MILWAUKEE ó Michael Redd scored 27 points, Andrew Bogut had 20 points and 20 rebounds, and Milwaukee blew a 21-point, second-half lead before scoring the game’s final 19 points to beat Indiana.
COLLEGE CUP
FRISCO, Texas ó An all-ACC final will decide the champion for the first time in the 50-year history of the NCAA men’s soccer tournament. Second-seeded Maryland meets 13th-seeded North Carolina for the College Cup today.
“The fact that it is two ACC teams bodes extremely well for our conference,” North Carolina coach Elmar Bolowich said.
There are no secrets between these longtime rivals. Maryland (22-3-0) owns two wins over North Carolina (15-7-1) this season, taking a 2-1 decision at home in early November, then earning a 1-0 victory over the Tar Heels in the ACC quarterfinals five days later.
PANTHERS-BRONCOS
CHARLOTTE ó The game was moved to the coveted Sunday night spot. It could determine the No. 1 seed, home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, and if the Carolina Panthers really deserve to be considered one of NFL’s elite teams.
Trouble is, that game isn’t until next weekend. Before the Panthers (10-3) visit the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, they must first face the Denver Broncos (8-5) today, a tricky game six days after Monday’s emotional win over top rival Tampa Bay.
Trip up against the Broncos, who can clinch the AFC West with a win, and Carolina’s game next week might be a part of its scramble to just make the playoffs in the competitive NFC.
“Yeah, the win Monday put us in great position. But great position for what?” Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme said. “If we don’t take care of something on Sunday, then we put ourselves back to a position we don’t want to be in.”
It didn’t take long for coach John Fox to drive that point home. In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, shortly after DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined for 301 yards rushing and four touchdowns against the Buccaneers, Fox talked about not wanting his players to “drink all this Kool-Aid.”

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