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Playoffs roundup: Cavaliers Sweep the Pistons

LeBron, Cavaliers complete sweep of Pistons
Cavaliers 99 at Pistons 78

LeBron James made 3-pointers from every angle, drove into the lane for dunks and leaned into low post moves. He was just getting warmed up – 2 hours before tipoff – and his regular routine provided another demonstration of greatness. 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.

It was just the third time in NBA history a team has swept a first-round series by winning every game by double figures, the others being the 1980 Boston Celtics and 2004 Indiana Pacers.

The Cavaliers will now wait for the winner of the Atlanta Hawks-Miami Heat series, which the Heat lead, 2-1, heading into Monday night’s Game 4 in Miami.

Bulls beat Celtics to tie series in double OT
Celtics 118 at Bulls 121

Another playoff thriller between Chicago and Boston, and this one went to the Bulls. Ben Gordon scored 22 points, hitting the tying 3-pointer in the first overtime, and the Bulls beat the Celtics 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.

[youtube width=”400″ height=”243″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkyA-pUtnmA[/youtube]

Turkoglu’s three put Magic on top to tie series 2-2
Magic 84 at 76ers 81

Hedo Turkoglu answered the Philadelphia 76ers’ late-game heroics with a big shot of his own. Turkoglu nailed a 3-pointer over Thaddeus Young with 1.1 seconds to lift the Orlando Magic to an 84-81 victory over Philadelphia on Sunday, evening their Eastern Conference first-round series at two games apiece. Dwight Howard had 18 points and 15 rebounds, and every Magic starter scored in double figures. Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis each scored 17. Andre Miller led the Sixers with 17 and Young had 15.

Rockets down blazer to take 3-1 lead.
Trail Blazers 88 at Rockets 89

Yao Ming would rather not think about how close the Houston Rockets are to finally escaping the first round of the playoffs. Yao 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.

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.

[youtube width=”400″ height=”243″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdmnFntrBws[/youtube]

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.