Tim Duncan saved the San Antonio Spurs at the end of overtime with a 3-pointer - his first of the season - and Manu Ginobili hit a layup at the end of the second extra period to send the defending champions past visiting Phoenix, 117-115, yesterday in Game 1 of their first-round series.
"I got a wide-open shot. Wound it up. Threw it up there and hoped for the best," said a clearly tired Duncan, who had 40 points and 15 rebounds.
Michael Finley sent the Spurs to overtime with a last-second three from the wing, tying the game at 93.
The Suns had controlled play for the first three quarters, leading by as many as 16 despite early foul trouble for Shaquille O'Neal. The Suns had a 6-point lead with a quarter left in regulation.
The Spurs took their first lead late in the fourth quarter, but were down, 93-90, with 1:10 to go after Leandro Barbosa's fast-break layup.
With 15 seconds on the clock, Finley tied it at 93.
"We had the game won a few times and just weren't tough enough or disciplined enough to make every single play when it counted," said Phoenix's Steve Nash, who had 25 points and 13 assists.
Duncan stole the show in the first overtime. With his team down, 104-101, Duncan found himself all alone at the 3-point line. After only a slight hesitation, he fired the ball and made it with three seconds to play.
In the second overtime, O'Neal's dunk tied it at 112 with 1:33 to play, but Ginobili's layup made it 114-112.
Nash missed a three from the corner with less than a minute to play. Then Brent Barry sank one of two from the line to make it 115-112.
With 15 seconds on the clock, Nash fired another three, sinking it to tie the game at 115.
Then Ginobili drove the lane and his layup fell with 1.8 seconds left for the win.
Tony Parker added 26 points for the Spurs, and Ginobili had 24.
Amare Stoudemire, who fouled out with 12 seconds left in the first OT, led the Suns with 33 points.
Cavaliers 93, Wizards 86 - LeBron James scored 32 points, making two tough shots in traffic down the stretch as host Cleveland opened the playoffs with an intense win over Washington.
Determined to shut up trash-talking Washington guard DeShawn Stevenson, who had called him "overrated" last month, James took a physical pounding. But he led the Cavaliers to their seventh straight postseason win over the Wizards, who had their chances in the fourth quarter but missed 10 straight shots and scored just 2 points in the final 4:39.
James scored 20 points - most of them on layups - in the second half to lead the defending Eastern Conference champions.
Resting a bothersome back, James sat out the early part of the fourth quarter. But once he returned, he came through as usual. With the game on the line, he twice got to the basket and scored over Wizards defenders, who had spent much of the game knocking him to the floor.
James expected a physical game, and he got one - not that he minded. "I was built for this," he said. "I'm not 6-9, 260 pounds to shoot jumpers all night."
With the score tied at 84, James knifed his way down the lane and hit a layup with 1:37 remaining. Following a miss by Gilbert Arenas (team-high 24 points), James powered past Stevenson and dropped in a floater with 55 seconds left.
Delonte West (16 points) made four free throws in the final 15.1 seconds to seal Cleveland's win.
Hornets 104, Mavericks 92 - Chris Paul had 35 points and 10 assists in his first career playoff game as host New Orleans beat Dallas going away.
David West scored 23 points, and Tyson Chandler had 10 points and 15 rebounds.
Jazz 93, Rockets 82 - Andrei Kirilenko (21 points), Deron Williams (20 points, 10 assists), and Carlos Boozer (20 points, 16 rebounds) helped Utah contain host Houston in their series opener.