Thu, Apr 30, 2009 - Page 20 News List

NBA: Nowitzki leads Mavs to series win

REUTERS , NEW YORK

Jason Terry, right, of the Dallas Mavericks falls on Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs during their NBA Playoff game on Tuesday in San Antonio, Texas.

PHOTO: AFP

The Dallas Mavericks completed a surprise series victory over the higher-ranked San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday, while the Rockets’ bid for a second-round berth was grounded when Houston lost to the Portland Trail Blazers.

The sixth-seeded Mavericks rode Dirk Nowitzki’s 31-point performance to a 106-93 Game Five victory in San Antonio to claim their best-of-seven Western Conference series by a 4-1 margin.

Houston, who could have joined the Mavericks in the second round with a win, lost 88-77 at Portland but still lead the series 3-2.

In other games, the Boston Celtics overcame the stubborn Chicago Bulls 106-104 in overtime and the Orlando Magic cruised to a 91-78 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, giving both winning teams 3-2 advantages in their Eastern Conference match-ups.

In San Antonio, Nowitzki hit 11-of-17 shots for game scoring honors but the German forward received plenty of support as the Mavericks turned back San Antonio’s two-man tandem of Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.

Duncan finished with 30 points and Parker added 26 points and 12 rebounds, but the remainder of the team had just 37 points.

Dallas backed up Nowitzki with five other players in double figures as the Mavs advanced to the second round for the first time in three years. They will play the winner of the Denver-New Orleans series in the conference semi-finals.

“We’re not finished yet,” Dallas’s Jason Terry told reporters after completing a 19-point effort.

Birthday boy Josh Howard added 17 and center Erick Dampier contributed 11 points and 12 rebounds.

“This is our best basketball of the year,” Dampier said. “That’s a big key for us, to be playing well at the right time.”

San Antonio, who were without Manu Ginobili, failed to make it past the first round for the first time since 2000.

“They’re a better team than we are right now,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “We made runs, but every time we got back into the game, they made more big shots. That’s why they won the series.”

In Boston, Paul Pierce’s jumper with 3.4 seconds to play in overtime earned a narrow victory for the Celtics.

Pierce, who had 26 points, made three successive jumpers in the final 77 seconds. He had earlier sent the game into overtime with another jump shot with 10.5 seconds to play in regulation.

Rajon Rondo paced Boston with 28 points and 11 assists. Glen Davis added 21 points and Kendrick Perkins provided 19 rebounds and 16 points.

Ben Gordon had 26 points for Chicago, who host Game Six today.

In Orlando, Dwight Howard delivered 24 points and a career-playoff best 24 rebounds to help the third-seeded Magic dominate the Sixers.

Rashard Lewis also had 24 points for Orlando, while Andre Iguodala paced Philadelphia with 26.

Game Six is scheduled for Philadelphia today.

In Portland, the Trail Blazers went on a 15-0 fourth-quarter run to stop the Rockets.

Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge both scored 25 points for Portland.

Luis Scola led the Rockets with 21 points, while Yao Ming added 15 points and 12 rebounds.

The series moves back to Houston for Game Six today.

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