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NBA playoffs roundup

76ers rally to shock Pistons in Game 1

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Associated Press / April 21, 2008

Andre Miller scored 20 points and Willie Green had a career playoff-high 17, helping the Philadelphia 76ers stun the Detroit Pistons, 90-86, last night in Game 1 of their first-round series at the Palace at Auburn Hills, Mich.

Sixers forward Reggie Evans smiled when told the Pistons were relaxed and shooting the breeze with former teammate Flip Murray during breaks in the game.

"That's good," Evans said.

Rasheed Wallace took the blame for the loss - despite having 24 points and nine rebounds and matching a franchise playoff record with seven blocks - but didn't think blowing a big lead had anything to do with talking to Murray.

The Eastern Conference's second-seeded team was expected to beat the seventh-seeded Sixers by double digits and did lead by 15 midway through the third quarter.

But Philadelphia refused to follow the script. After the Sixers trailed, 62-47, Green made two baskets during a 10-0 run that sparked a comeback.

"That kind of swung the momentum," Miller said.

Miller gave Philadelphia a lead midway through the fourth quarter for the first time since late in the first. After Chauncey Billups missed three of four free throws and a layup in two-plus minutes late in the game, he made two from the line to pull the Pistons within 1 point with 45 seconds left.

Detroit's Jason Maxiell drew a charge on the ensuing possession, giving the home team a chance to avoid an upset.

The Pistons set up a play that created an open shot for Tayshaun Prince, but his jumper was short. After Andre Iguodala made one of two free throws with 11 seconds left, Wallace missed a shot near the basket that would have tied it at 88.

"I'm going to put this one me," Wallace said. "There's no excuses. The last bunny, that was a bucket I should've made. I'm going to take this one on the chin."

Iguodala made two free throws with seven seconds left to seal the win.

Lakers 128, Nuggets 114 - Pau Gasol established playoff highs with 36 points and eight assists and had 16 rebounds as Los Angeles took command early in the third quarter and beat visiting Denver.

Gasol, a 27-year-old forward/center acquired from Memphis Feb. 1 after spending 6 1/2 seasons with the Grizzlies, was 0-12 in three previous postseasons.

Kobe Bryant scored 18 of his 32 points in the final eight minutes to keep Los Angeles, the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, safely ahead. Carmelo Anthony had 30 points and 12 rebounds for the eighth-seeded Nuggets. Allen Iverson also had 30 points before picking up two technical fouls with 2:10 remaining, calling for immediate ejection.

The Nuggets should have it known wasn't going to be their day when several players were stranded on the Santa Monica Freeway for about a half-hour when the team bus broke down on the way to the game.

The Nuggets' second bus, which left the team hotel about 30 minutes after the first one, stopped to pick up the players. The entire team made the rest of the trip to the arena, arriving 90 minutes before game-time.

Magic 114, Raptors 100 - Dwight Howard had 25 points and 22 rebounds and blocked five shots as Orlando defeated visiting Toronto in the opener of their first-round series. Jameer Nelson added 24 points for the Magic.

Howard scored 6 straight points in a 10-0 fourth-quarter run that sealed Orlando's first playoff win since 2003.

The Raptors, who trailed by 20 points after the first quarter, drew within 5 with 10:24 left in the fourth on two quick 3-pointers by Jason Kapono and an Anthony Parker jumper. But Toronto went scoreless for the next 3:16.

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