There were 3 NBA play-off games played last night starting in Detroit where Cleveland took another step towards sweeping the Pistons after they won 79-68 at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Despite a bad 3rd quarter when the Cavaliers scored only 9 points LeBron and co. got through the game thanks to a 4th quarter when they outscored the Pistons 26-15 to win by 11. LeBron James led the Cavs with 25 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists, just missing out on a triple double whilst shooting 9 for 19 from the field. Behind him Joe Smith came off the bench to make 6 of 8 of his field shots and 6 foul shots to score 19 and also grabbed 10 rebounds for a double double.
On the other side Rip Hamilton led the Pistons with a paltry 15 points while Rodney Stuckey was just behind with 12 as Cleveland shut out Detroit in a defensive game. With Detroit now just about out of the play-offs they’ll just hope to salvage some pride and win their last home game in a couple of days to avoid a 4-0 sweep.
In Philadelphia the 76ers took the lead once more in this series and kept their home court advantage with a 96-94 win over the Orlando Magic thanks to a strong first half that Orlando couldn’t come back from. The Sixers were up 11 points by half time and despite an good Orlando fight back they just couldn’t complete it and fell behind 2-1 in this series. Philly won this one thanks to a Thaddeus Young lay up with only 2 seconds left on the clock but despite hitting the game winner Young had a quiet game, scoring only 6 points off of 3 of 7 shooting. The big scorers in the Philadelphia team were Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller who scored 29 and 24 respectively. The 76ers will be confident that they can replicate this success and take their next home game in the series to make it 3-1 and in a tie winning situation. I don’t think anyone could see them not winning 1 of 3 games after that.
On the other side Dwight Howard, Orlando’s towering centre led with 36 points and 11 rebounds for a double double while Rafer Alston scored 17 to help out but Orlando were always battling from behind in this game and their last lead was with 7 minutes to go in the 1st quarter when the score was 11-10, after that Philadelphia just sprinted away with it and this is now set to be an upset unless Dwight and co. can win the next game in Philly.
Finally in Houston the home team again won thanks to a strong first half as the Rockets beat Portland in Texas to take a 2-1 series lead. Houston were also ahead by 11 points at half time before the ‘Blazers tried to fight back, unfortunately they just couldn’t finish it and the final score was 86-83 in a game not dominated by one player. The highest scorers were Brandon Roy and Ron Artest, who both had 19 points but apart from that there wasn’t anything to write home about. This wasn’t a game with one superstar but more of a team performance from both sides, Shane Battier dropped 16 while Yao Ming had a quiet night with only 7 points and 13 rebounds.
On the other side Rudy Fernandez came off the bench to score 17 including 5 3-pointers while Steve Blake had a productive night at point guard as he drilled 16 points and 10 assists for a double double. The Trail Blazers won’t want to lose the next game in Houston which would see them on the brink of a play-off exit at the first hurdle especially since seeing how they ended the regular season it would be a massive disappointment.
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