Archive for April 26th, 2009

The AP reports: The Houston Rockets are one win away from finally escaping the first round. Yao Ming had 21 points and 12 rebounds and the Rockets took a 3-1 lead in their playoff series with Portland, beating the Trail Blazers 89-88 on Sunday night. Luis Scola scored 17 points and Shane Battier added 14 points and six assists for the Rockets, who snapped a six-game losing streak in Game 4s, coinciding with their 0-6 record in first-round series since 1998. Game 5 is Tuesday night in Portland. Brandon Roy scored 31 points and went 13-for-13 from the free-throw line for the Blazers… LaMarcus Aldridge scored 19 points and Outlaw had 14 for the Blazers.

The AP reports: Hedo Turkoglu nailed a 3-pointer over Thaddeus Young with 1.1 seconds left to lift the Orlando Magic to an 84-81 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, evening their Eastern Conference first-round series at two games apiece… Dwight Howard had 18 points and 18 rebounds, and every Magic starter scored in double figures. Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis each added 17 points. Andre Miller led the Sixers with 17 and Young had 15… After a hard-fought, physical first half that ended in a 36-all tie, the Magic came out firing in the third quarter. Orlando hit its first seven shots and briefly pulled away with a 10-0 run early in the quarter.

The AP reports: LeBron James had 36 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 99-78 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday, sweeping the Eastern Conference first-round series… Mo Williams scored a career playoff-high 24 and Delonte West had 12 points for the Cavs… In the final game of what was a miserable season, Detroit’s Antonio McDyess had 26 points to tie a career playoff high, Will Bynum scored a career playoff-high 22 and Rodney Stuckey had 14… Rasheed Wallace was scoreless, missing all seven of his shots, in what was probably his last game with the Pistons unless they make a stunning move and re-sign him as a free agent.

The AP reports: Ben Gordon scored 22 points, hitting the tying 3-pointer in the first overtime, and the Bulls beat the defending champions 121-118 in double overtime Sunday to tie their first-round series at two games apiece. The teams split two tight games in Boston, before the Celtics blew out the Bulls in Game 3. This time, they stretched the drama into a second overtime… Derrick Rose added 23 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. John Salmons scored 20 points after a slow start, hitting four free throws in the final 26 seconds of the game and blocking Paul Pierce’s tying 3-pointer… Boston’s Ray Allen buried a 3-pointer with 9.8 seconds left in regulation to tie it at 96 before Rose missed a potential winning fadeaway in the closing seconds. Gordon came through with 4.5 seconds left in the first overtime, hitting a 3-pointer over Pierce to tie it at 110, and the Bulls never trailed in the second OT.

Bryant huge, Lakers beat Jazz 108-94

The AP reports: It took Kobe Bryant only a few minutes to end his shooting slump. Bryant scored Los Angeles’ first 11 points and once his teammates joined in, the Lakers overwhelmed the Jazz 108-94 on Saturday night and moved within one game of advancing to the second round. “It was important for me to come out and be a little more assertive,” said Bryant, who scored 38 two nights after one of his worst shooting games in years. Bryant went 16-for-24, erasing any memories of his 5-for-24 night Thursday in the Lakers’ only loss of the series. “We never could get close enough to guard him,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. “I think he put everyone on his back and got them off to the way they wanted to play.” He scored in double figures in each of the first three quarters and more than doubled his scoring from Game 4.

The AP reports: Dwyane Wade swished a 3-pointer, then turned and shook his hand like it was burning. Yep, Wade and the Miami Heat are that hot right now. Wade finished with 29 points and eight assists, Jermaine O’Neal added 22 points and 10 rebounds, and the Heat extended Atlanta’s decade-plus road playoff drought, beating the Hawks 107-78 Saturday night in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference first-round matchup. It was over early: Atlanta missed 17 of its first 19 shots, and a 25-6 Heat run to end the first half pushed the lead to 50-29. “We knew there would be a lot of energy in the building, so we played off that early,” Wade said. “And defensively we came out very tough.” Josh Smith, Al Horford and Mike Bibby scored 13 apiece for Atlanta, which is 0-12 in road playoff games since May 8, 1997, losing all but one by at least 10 points.

The AP reports: Tony Parker was exhausted, having done everything the San Antonio Spurs wanted him to by aggressively taking the ball to the basket. When Parker wasn’t scoring, Tim Duncan was while bouncing back from the worst playoff game in his long career. That still wasn’t enough to save the Spurs from the brink of an unusual early playoff elimination against the Dallas Mavericks. Josh Howard scored 28 points, seven in an early second-half spurt that put Dallas ahead to stay in a 99-90 victory Saturday. The Mavs gained a 3-1 lead in their first-round Western Conference series, putting them on the verge of ousting a Spurs team that has little beyond Parker and Duncan. “It’s obvious that that’s what we need to do. Those guys have to have the ball as much as possible,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “Sure, we hope that other people step up and make shots and make plays. It didn’t happen enough.”

The AP reports: In a relieved New Orleans locker room, Chris Paul and James Posey chatted about all the hard fouls, all the flying bodies that more than anything defined the Hornets’ first win of this postseason. “This is the fun part of the playoffs, all the contact, all the flagrant fouls,” Paul said. “You never want anyone to get hurt, but after it’s all said and done, you smile about it because that’s the nature of the sport.” Playing a grueling 46 minutes and shaking off a hard foul committed against him, Paul had 32 points and 12 assists, helping New Orleans hold on for a 95-93 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday in Game 3 of their first-round series. The Hornets cut Denver’s lead in the series to 2-1, with Game 4 on Monday night. Posey, who sprained his right knee in the first quarter but returned before halftime, had 13 points and nine rebounds, none more important than his last, which came after Carmelo Anthony’s jumper for the lead bounced out with under 5 seconds left.

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