Playoffs roundup: Cavaliers take 2-0 lead

Cavaliers hold off Pistons:
(Pistons 82 at Cavaliers 94)
For three quarters, the Cleveland Cavaliers were at their basketball best. “It was beautiful,” Mo Williams said. It didn’t end that way. Cleveland blew most of a 29-point lead in the final period against Detroit’s reserves and the Cavaliers had to reinsert LeBron James to restore order before hanging on for a 94-82 win over the Pistons on Tuesday night to take a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference playoff series. James, showing no regard for a defensive plan Detroit spent three days preparing for him, scored 29 and Williams added 21 as the Cavaliers withstood a stirring comeback by the Pistons, who used a 27-5 run to close within seven on Antonio McDyess’ jumper with 3:51 left.

Hamilton led the Pistons with 17 points but none of their front line played especially well.

“Our mindset is still positive,” Hamilton said. “They did what they were supposed to do. This isn’t anything new, we know what it takes to win.”

Kobe,  Lakers hang on to beat Jazz in Game 2:
(Jazz 109 at Lakers 119)
The Utah Jazz played better and it still didn’t matter. Kobe Bryant scored 26 points, Pau Gasol added 22 and Lamar Odom had 19 off the bench in the Lakers’ 119-109 victory over the Jazz on Tuesday night, giving Los Angeles a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 first-round Western Conference playoff series. “We’re not thinking about it being over at all,” Bryant said. “We’re thinking about Game 3.” The Lakers’ Phil Jackson notched his 195th career postseason victory, the most of any coach in NBA history.

Roy’s 42 lifts Blazers past Rockets in Game 2:
(Rockets 103 at Trail Blazers 107)
After winning their first playoff game in six years, the Portland Trail Blazers couldn’t help but be a little amazed with their victory over the Houston Rockets. “We kind of laughed about it, ‘Man, it’s hard winning games in the playoffs. It takes a lot of work,”‘ said Brandon Roy, who had 42 points in Portland’s 107-103 victory Tuesday night. The playoff series, now even at a game apiece, moves to Houston for Game 3 on Friday. Aaron Brooks led a late charge and finished with 23 points for Houston, which has not made it out of the first round since 1997.

Rockets’ Mutombo hurts knee, leaves game on stretcher:
Mutombo, an 18-year NBA veteran, appeared to get tangled with Portland center Greg Oden and came down hard on his left leg late in the first quarter of Game 2.  Preliminary examination revealed a knee strain.

The 42 yearsveteran was on crutches and fighting back tears.

“Nobody ever thought they’d be carrying the big guy out like a wounded soldier,” he said. “For me, basketball is over,” he said.

Playoffs roundup: Allen lifts Celtics to Game 2 win over Bulls

Allen lifts Celtics to Game 2 win over Bulls:
(Bulls 115 at Celtics 118)

The Bulls came to the Garden on Monday with another upset on their minds, but the Celtics dug deep to hang on for the 118-115 win that evens the series at one game each.

Ray Allen picked the perfect time to snap out of his shooting slump. Allen made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 2 seconds left and finished with 30 points, leading the Boston Celtics a 118-115 win over the Chicago Bulls in Game 2 of their playoff series Monday night. var pollWidth=250; Ben Gordon nearly carried Chicago to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. He scored with 12.3 seconds left to tie it, and had a playoff career-high 42 points.

Spurs even series:
(Mavericks 84 at Spurs 105
Tony Parker wasn’t about to let the Dallas Mavericks leave San Antonio with two wins. Parker walked off the court with 38 points, a comfortable lead and a roaring Spurs crowd cheering him back to the bench with a Game 2 victory minutes away. var pollWidth=250; Unlike the first game, Dallas was unable to pester Parker and the Spurs breezed to a 105-84 blowout over the Mavericks on Monday night. It evened the series and handed Dallas one of the worst losses in the history of the playoff rivalry.

Mike Brown Wins Coach of the Year Award

Congratulations to MIKE BROWN

Mike BrownMike Brown has been named the winner of the Red Auerbach Trophy as the NBA Coach of the Year for the 2008-09 season, the NBA announced today.

Brown received a total of 355 points, including 55 first-place votes out of a possible 122, from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada.

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert called Brown a “natural leader” and credited him with much of his team’s success.

“Mike Brown is one of these rare people that has nearly every tool in his tool box,” Gilbert said in a statement. “He is smart, hard working, and selfless. He is curious and hungry to learn. He is philosophically driven and derives his decision making from his strong philosophy.

“Mike Brown is a critical element as to why our franchise is growing into the kind of success we all envisioned and hoped to achieve. There is no man more deserving and it proves to the world that, yes, nice guys can indeed, finish first.”

Brown earned Eastern Conference Coach of the Month honors on three different occasions this season.

For the first time in franchise history, Cleveland led the NBA in points per game differential (+8.9). The Cavs defense also allowed the fewest points per game in the league (91.4), the lowest opponent three-point percentage (.333) and the second-lowest opponent field goal percentage (.431). The Cleveland defense held opponents under 100 points an NBA-high 63 times.

Mike Brown to win Coach of the Year Award

Mike Brown will be named NBA Coach of the Year this afternoon according to the Plain Dealer.

“The Cavaliers have called a 1:30 p.m. press conference at which it appears Mike Brown will be named NBA Coach of the Year.”

If so, Brown would be the second coach in team history to win the award since Bill Fitch in 1976.

Playoffs round 1 roundup: 76ers shock Magic

Iguodala Sinks Magic
(76ers 100 at Magic 98)

Philadelphia 76ers forward Andre IguodalaAndre Iguodala made a 22-foot jumper with 2.2 seconds left, and the Philadelphia 76ers rallied from an 18-point deficit to stun the Orlando Magic 100-98 in Game 1 of their opening-round playoff series Sunday. Iguodala had 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and Louis Williams scored 18 to help the 76ers beat the Magic for the first time in four tries this season – and when it mattered most. Hedo Turkoglu’s fadeaway 3-pointer missed at the buzzer, and Magic fans stood in disbelief before filing out quietly.

Lakers coast to victory over Jazz:
(Jazz 100 at Lakers 113)

Pardon Phil Jackson’s lack of enthusiasm for how the Los Angeles Lakers played in the second half. They piled up 62 points on Utah in the first half, then got outscored over the final 24 minutes. “It wasn’t a coach’s delight, that’s for sure,” he said. But his players sure liked the outcome, a 113-100 victory over the Jazz in the teams’ playoff opener Sunday. Kobe Bryant scored 24 points, Trevor Ariza added 21 and Pau Gasol 20 as the Lakers pretty much had their way against the eighth-seeded Jazz.

Hawks hammer Heat to take game 1:
(Heat 64 at Hawks 90)

Aware of the upsets all around, the Atlanta Hawks really buckled down. They’d worked too hard for home-court advantage to let it slip away on the first night of playoffs. With Josh Smith delivering one rim-shaking dunk after another and plenty of teammates chipping in, the Hawks made Miami look like a one-man team, running Dwyane Wade and the Heat ragged for a 90-64 blowout in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference series Sunday night. Four other home teams – Boston, Portland, San Antonio and Orlando – had already lost about the time the Hawks took the court.

Nuggets overpower Hornets in game 1:
Hornets 84 at Nuggets 113

Chauncey Billups settled down his teammates, then stepped up his game. Billups scored 36 points and sank a career-best eight 3-pointers in leading Denver to a 113-84 rout of the New Orleans Hornets, the second-biggest blowout in the Nuggets’ playoff history. “I just got it going. It’s just one of those special nights that you have sometimes,” Billups said after his first postseason appearance in his hometown. “You’d like to think you can do it again, but you probably can’t.

Playoffs roundup: Bulls upset Celtics in OT

Cavaliers roll past Pistons in Game 1:
(Pistons 84 at Cavaliers 102)
LeBron James crossed midcourt and launched the ball toward the basket more than 40 feet away as the horn sounded. As Cleveland’s star, the Detroit Pistons, 20,000 fans and a TV audience watched the shot’s arching flight, James never stopped running. “I was going to chase it until it went in the hoop,” he said. Off the backboard, through the rim, then the net. It was halftime. It was over. James banked in a stunning 3-pointer at the end of the first half and finished with 38 points, eight rebounds and seven assists as the Cavaliers embarked on their quest for a first NBA championship with a 102-84 win over the Pistons in Game 1 on Saturday.

Bulls Stunned Celtics in OT:
(Bulls 105 at Celtics 103)
bulls-over-celticsDerrick Rose had a playoff debut like few others and led the Chicago Bulls to a victory over the Boston Celtics in the playoffs. Not even Michael Jordan did that. Rose matched Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record with 36 points in his playoff debut, adding 11 assists to lead the Bulls to a 105-103 overtime victory over the defending NBA champions in Game 1 of their best-of-seven first-round series. Playoff experience? “He doesn’t need it,” Bulls guard Ben Gordon said.

Chicago had not beaten the Celtics in 10 post-season games since the Chicago Stags topped the Celtics in the 1948 Basketball Association of America quarter-finals.

Game 2 is Monday night in Boston, the anniversary of the 1986 playoff game when Michael Jordan scored 63 points against Boston – in a Chicago loss.

Mavs Pull Off Road Win:
(Mavericks 105 at Spurs 97)
Getting a postseason road victory for the first time since their NBA finals run in 2006, the Mavericks rode Josh Howard’s 25 points and a clutch fourth quarter to start the playoffs with a 105-97 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night. The sixth-seeded Mavericks, who had lost nine consecutive playoff road games, took a big Game 1 win over their Texas rivals in typically tough San Antonio.

Rockets out muscled Blazers:
(Rockets 108 at Trail Blazers 81)
Coming out strong against the Trail Blazers was the first step of a very logical progression for Yao Ming. “Because this was the first game, and also the first couple of minutes of the first game – the first couple of minutes can set the tone for the game, and the first game can set the tone for the series,” Yao said. The 7-foot-6 Yao scored nine of Houston’s first 11 points and finished with 24 in the Rockets’ 108-81 victory over the Trail Blazers on Saturday night.

One down, fifteen to go

The Cleveland Cavaliers sent a major statement Saturday night opening up their bid for an NBA championship run by  man handling the Detroit Pistons 102-84.

The game actually appeared a great deal closer throughout on the scoreboard until late, but there was always that feeling that Cleveland had total control and no matter what was not going to let that game slip away.

Superstar LeBron James seems to shine just a tad bit brighter when he matches up against the Pistons throwing down 38 points, grabbing 8 rebounds, and dishing out 7 assists. This being only the second time in his brief playoff career going for at least 35, 7,and 7.

The only other time being in the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals when he basically put the entire Cavs team on his back going for 48 points and the entire team’s last 25.  James had 22 points at the half, 3 of which coming from a running bank shot just inside the half court line.

Mo Williams while starting off a slow 1 out of 5 and only 2 first half points rallied in the second half ending up 5-14 and scoring 12 points including two huge 3’s to help extend the Cavaliers lead. This is definitely an excellent way to start the playoffs. Now only 15 more wins and we reach our “One Goal.”

Cavaliers roll over Pistons (102-84)

A lengthy standing ovation and chorous of M-V-P chants filled the arena after Lebron James banked in a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from half court to end the first half.

“It brings the house down … the crowd is going crazy,” LeBron said of the momentum the Cavs got from it afterward.

As usual Lebron James filled up the stats sheet with 38 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

Three other Cavalier starters finished with 12 points apiece, including Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who doubled-up with a game-high 10 rebounds.

Mo Williams and Delonte West added a dozen points each. Delonte added five board and five assits, going 5-of-8 from the floor. Mo Williams overcame a sluggish start to go 5-for-14 from the field, adding four boards and going 32 minutes without a single turnover.

“Once I got that first half out of the way, I was ready to go,” said Williams. “I think that the foul trouble hurt me a little bit. It kind of threw my rhythm off, but I just regrouped in the second half and came out aggressive.”

Joe Smith was big too. He finished with 13 points in just over 19 minutes.

Ben Wallace, who suffered a knee injury and was listed as doubtful, end up seeing some action and logged in close to 12 minutes. He had one rebound and one assist.

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