NBA Playoff Roundup
The NBA playoff roundup …
ORLANDO, Fla. ó The Atlanta Hawks’ dominance over the Orlando Magic this year is not just a regular-season phenomenon.
For now, it also includes the postseason.
Joe Johnson scored 25 points, Jamal Crawford finished with 23 and Atlanta beat Orlando 103-93 in Game 1 of their playoff series on Saturday, overcoming a monster night by Dwight Howard.
Atlanta was eliminated by Orlando in last year’s playoffs in the most lopsided four-game sweep in NBA history, but this one was much different. The Hawks led by as many as 18 points while running multiple bodies at Howard all night, and the rest of the Magic failed to step up.
“It’s a seven-game series and anything can happen,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said. “All I wanted us to come in here and do is play hard and maintain our composure. … I could tell our guys were ready for tonight’s game.”
Howard tied a career high with 46 points, to go along with 19 rebounds. Jameer Nelson had 27 points but no other Orlando player reached double figures.
The Hawks had five players with at least 13 points, earning their fourth straight victory against the Magic and erasing the sting of a six-game losing streak to close the regular season. Al Horford scored 16, Josh Smith had 15 points and eight rebounds and Kirk Hinrich added 13 points.
Heat 97, 76ers 89
MIAMI ó Chris Bosh and LeBron James watched from afar when Dwyane Wade controlled the final portions of games during the Miami Heat’s championship run in 2006.
They got a closer look Saturday, when Wade helped save Miami from a Game 1 collapse.
Bosh had 25 points and 12 rebounds, James added 21 points and 14 rebounds, and Wade scored five of his 17 points in the final 1:34 as the Heat held off a huge Philadelphia comeback try and beat the 76ers 97-89 in the opener of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
“The only number that matters right now is 1-0,” Wade said. “That’s all it’s about.”
Game 2 is Monday night.
Thaddeus Young had 20 points and 11 rebounds for the 76ers, while Jrue Holiday added 19 and Elton Brand finished with 17. It was the second time in 22 days that Philadelphia blew a big second-quarter lead in Miami: On March 25, the 76ers led by 16, and on Saturday, the margin was 14.
The Heat won both, and are now 4-0 against the 76ers this season.
Mavericks 89, Trail Blazers 81
DALLAS ó Dirk Nowitzki scored 18 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter and the Dallas Mavericks defeated Portland 89-81 Saturday night in Game 1 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series.
Even though Nowitzki struggled from the field most of the night, he came through when the Mavericks needed him most.
Nowitzki scored 12 consecutive points in the game-turning spurt in the closing minutes when Dallas tied the game and eventually went ahead to stay.
Jason Kidd added 24 points, including a playoff career-best six 3-pointers.
Soon after Portland had its largest lead (six points), the Mavericks got back within 72-70 when Nowitzki made two free throws with 4:49 left. His a 3-pointer from the right side with 3:40 left to put the Mavs ahead to stay.