Hornets get back in series
New Orleans holds off Denver
In a relieved New Orleans locker room, Chris Paul and James Posey chatted about all the hard fouls, all the flying bodies that more than anything defined the Hornets' first win of this postseason.
"This is the fun part of the playoffs, all the contact, all the flagrant fouls," Paul said. "You never want anyone to get hurt, but after it's all said and done, you smile about it because that's the nature of the sport."
Playing a grueling 46 minutes and shaking off a hard foul committed against him, Paul had 32 points and 12 assists, helping the Hornets hold on for a 95-93 victory over the Denver Nuggets yesterday in New Orleans.
The Hornets cut Denver's lead in the series to 2-1.
Posey, who sprained his right knee in the first quarter but returned before halftime, had 13 points and 9 rebounds, none more important than his last, which came after Carmelo Anthony's jumper for the lead bounced out with under 5 seconds left.
Posey also played the last 4:39 with five fouls.
"I wanted to finish out the game, just be smart about it," Posey said. "The fouls I did commit, I felt were needed at the time - nothing easy, make them earn it at the free throw line."
The game was loaded with hard fouls; there were 58 personal fouls called in all, 29 on each team. Two players on each team fouled out - David West and Tyson Chandler for New Orleans, and Nene and Kenyon Martin for Denver.
Chandler, Posey and Denver's Chauncey Billups were called for flagrant fouls. J.R. Smith was called for a technical foul after he collided with Paul late in the third quarter, sending the point guard crashing to the court during a fast break.
Hornets coach Byron Scott also was called for technical foul when he argued with official Bennett Salvatore over the flagrant called on Posey, during which the forward grabbed Chris Andersen to stop him from scoring and Andersen fell.
Mavericks 99, Spurs 90 - Tony Parker came out as promised, aggressive and going right at the basket again. However, one spectacular half and a late surge by Parker couldn't save visiting San Antonio from reaching the brink of playoff elimination against Dallas.
Josh Howard scored 28 points, 7 in an early second-half spurt that put the Mavericks ahead to stay, as Dallas took a 3-1 series lead.
Parker had 31 of his 43 points by halftime, matching George Gervin's franchise playoff record for points in a half.
Without an incredible comeback, beginning in Game 5 in San Antonio Tuesday night, the Spurs will be eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2000.
Lakers 108, Jazz 94 - Kobe Bryant followed his worst shooting game in years by scoring 38 points to lead Los Angeles past Utah in Salt Lake City.
Bryant, who was 16 for 24, scored Los Angeles's first 11 points and once his teammates joined in, the Lakers overwhelmed the Jazz and moved within one win of advancing to the second round.
The Jazz won Thursday, holding Bryant to a 5-for-24 shooting night and 18 points.
Heat 107, Hawks 78 - Dwyane Wade finished with 29 points and eight assists, Jermaine O'Neal added 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Miami extended Atlanta's decade-plus road playoff drought.
The Heat coasted to a huge halftime lead before beating the Hawks to take a 2-1 lead in their series.
Atlanta missed 17 of its first 19 shots, and a 25-6 Heat run to end the first half pushed their lead to 50-29. The Hawks are 0-12 in road playoff games since May 8, 1997, losing all but one by at least 10 points.