Playoffs roundup: Hornets hold off Nuggets in Game 3

Hornets hold off Nuggets in Game 3 (Nuggets up 2-1)
Nuggets 93 at Hornets 95

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.

Howard lifts Mavericks past Spurs for 3-1 lead
Spurs 90 at Mavericks 99

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.

Wade carries Heat past Hawks in Game 3 for a 2-1 lead
Hawks 78 at Heat 107

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.

Kobe scores 38 as Lakers pound Jazz for a 3-1 lead
Lakers 108 at Jazz 94

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.

Playoffs roundup: Cavaliers put away Pistons, take 3-0 lead

Cavaliers near sweep, put away Pistons with late run:
(Cavaliers 79 at Pistons 68)

The Cleveland Cavaliers made the Detroit Pistons’ inspired effort moot. James had 25 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, leading the Cavaliers to a 79-68 victory Friday night and a 3-0 lead in the first-round series. The Pistons, whose collective heart was questioned by one of their players, played hard for three-plus quarters before being rendered helpless by James. He had an alley-oop slam midway through the fourth quarter during an 18-2 run that started after the sixth tie of the game.

Sixers stun Magic again on late layup
(Magic 94 at 76ers 96
Thaddeus Young started his drive to the basket and was thinking pass, only to alter his plans because he nearly lost the ball. Instead of an assist or even worse, a turnover, Young made the biggest shot of his life. Young’s driving layup with 2 seconds left lifted Philadelphia to a 96-94 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday night, giving the 76ers a surprising 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series. “It was the biggest shot ever for me,” Young said.

Rockets hold on for pivotal Game 3 win, take 2-1 lead
(Trail Blazers 83 at Rockets 86
The Houston Rockets got away with another quiet night from Yao Ming because they forced Brandon Roy into one, too. Luis Scola scored 19 points and the Rockets bottled up Roy in an 86-83 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night that gave Houston a 2-1 lead in the first-round series. Yao scored only seven points on 2-for-7 shooting, but Shane Battier scored 16 points as Houston beat the Blazers for the 11th time in the last 12 meetings at the Toyota Center.

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Can you look so bad and still look so good?

The Cavaliers were slightly off their game Friday night but with major help from the bench they were able to come away with a 79-68  victory over the Detroit Pistons and take an almost insurmountable 3-0 series lead(no team has ever won a best of 7 series after trailing 0-3).

The starting backcourt of Mo Williams and Delonte West combined 1-18 and only 4 points collectively. Cleveland’s starters only managed 49 points with LeBron claiming 25 of them,  James missed a triple double by only 1 assist, he had 25 points 11 rebounds and 9 assists.

It was a great time for Joe Smith to have his playoff career high draining 6-8 from the field and 6-7 from the foul line scoring 19 points and grabbing 10 boards. His previous high this year was only 13 and that came way back when he was still a member of the Thunder.

The Cavs kept a steady lead for most of the game until late in the 3rd when Detroit went on a run and the game headed into the 4th quarter tied at 53. Halfway through the quarter Mo Williams threw up an alley-oop to James,  in the midst of  an 18-2 run by the Cavs that helped them  to seperate themselves and eventually finish off the game.

The Cavaliers for the most part of the first 3 quarters looked terrible, but to play that poorly and still come away with a victory, and a road win on top of that is remarkable. It truly speaks volume for NBA coach of the year Mike Brown and his teams defensive mentality. Everyone was wondering what the Cavaliers would do when they faced adversity, well they took the test and they passed with flying colors.

Playoffs roundup: Heat and Magic tie series

Magic top 76ers to even series at 1-1
76ers 87 at Magic 96

Fouled out and reduced to a spectator, Dwight Howard stood on the Orlando Magic sidelined with one thought as he watched the Philadelphia 76ers erase another big lead. “Man, I hope these boys don’t come back again,” Howard said. They nearly did. Rookie Courtney Lee had a career-high 24 points, Hedo Turkoglu added 16 and the Magic nearly blew another 18-point lead before beating Philadelphia 96-87 on Wednesday night to even the series at a game apiece.

Wade on fire as Heat down Hawks to tie series
Heat 108 at Hawks 93

Dwyane Wade didn’t call “bank.” No need. This was the playoffs, not H-O-R-S-E. With 13 straight points to close the first half and an unlikely 3-pointer off the backboard in the waning minutes, Wade showed it’s hard to keep him down two games in a row. He scored 33 points in all, leading the Miami Heat to a 108-93 victory over the Atlanta Hawks that evened their playoff series at one game apiece Wednesday night. “This is where amazing happens,” Wade said.

Billups leads Nuggets in Game 2 rout of Hornets
Hornets 93 at Nuggets 108

Chauncey Billups hasn’t had this much fun on the basketball court in Denver since he was winning two high school state titles back in the mid-1990s. var pollWidth=250; Billups led the Nuggets to another blowout of the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night, scoring 31 points in Denver’s 108-93 win. “I do want to kind of apologize. I said he’s a player without skills” after the series opener, Nuggets coach George Karl said. “He’s very skilled.

Men Among Boys

The Cavaliers looked no doubt amazing yet again Tuesday night holding the Detroit Pistons to a max of 18 points a quarter through the first 3 stints.

 LeBron James looked as if he was at the playground, doing whatever he wanted when he wanted. Mo Williams shook off his first game gitters and was sinking shot after shot while James took his regular early 2nd quarter blow.

“It was beautiful.” Mo said. The Cavs took what seemed an insurmountable 27 point lead into the fourth quarter. 

The entire starting lineup seemed to be done for the night except Delonte West  who stayed out to man the second unit, when things turned and they turned quickly.

The Pistons second unit led by Will Bynum, nailed a flurry of shots and brought the team all the way back to within 7 when the inevitable happened, the Cavs big boys had to check back in and finish what they started. T

he Cavaliers pushed the lead back up to 16 before finishing the game 94-82. “We lost our focus,” Williams said. “We all knew it, but it’s nothing to get overly concerned about. I don’t think it will happen again.”

The Cavalier starters have just simply dominated that of the Pistons outscoring them by 53 points in the first 2 games. James finished up this game with 29 points 13 rebounds and 6 assists dispute missing most of the 4th quarter. Mo Williams added 21 and Delonte West hit the 20 mark as well.