Down by 15, 76ers throw Pistons in reverse, win

The Baltimore Sun

Forget a sweep. The Detroit Pistons have a much different challenge on their hands.

Second-seeded Detroit lost its Eastern Conference playoff opener, 90-86, last night to the visiting Philadelphia 76ers, who calmly took over after trailing by 13 at halftime and 15 in the third quarter.

Andre Miller scored 20 points and Willie Green had a career playoff-high 17 as Philadelphia showed unlikely poise from a team that entered the postseason with a losing record, a young nucleus and no playoff resume.

The Pistons, who have advanced to five straight conference finals, hadn't lost a Game 1 in the first round since 2003 against Orlando.

After the Sixers trailed 62-47, Green made two baskets during a 10-0 run that sparked a comeback.

Miller gave Philadelphia the lead midway through the fourth quarter for the first time since late in the first.

Jason Maxiell drew a charge on the ensuing possession that set up a chance for Detroit to tie it, but Tayshaun Prince's jumper was short. Andre Iguodala (career playoff-high 16 points) sandwiched three free throws around Rasheed Wallace's miss near the basket to seal the win.

Lakers 128, Nuggets 114 -- Pau Gasol established career playoff highs with 36 points and eight assists, and he also had 16 rebounds and three blocked shots as host Los Angeles took command in the third quarter and beat visiting Denver. Gasol, the 7-foot Spainard acquired from Memphis on Feb. 1, shot 14-for-20 from the field and 8-for-8 from the foul line. He was 0-12 in three previous postseasons. Kobe Bryant scored 18 of his 32 in the final eight minutes to keep top-seeded Los Angeles safely ahead. Carmelo Anthony (Towson Catholic) had 30 points and 12 rebounds for the Nuggets. Denver's Allen Iverson also scored 30 before he was ejected on back-to-back technical with 2:10 left.

Celtics 104, Hawks 81 -- Ray Allen scored 18 and Kevin Garnett had 16 as the two newcomers who led Boston to the NBA's best record sparked the host Celtics to victory in their playoff opener against Atlanta. Garnett stopped a 14-3 Hawks run with a jumper, starting a six-point Boston surge that made it 35-27 in the second quarter. And Allen scored 10 straight Celtics points midway through the third that extended a 13-point lead to 67-48 with 5:39 left in the period.

Magic 114, Raptors 100 -- Dwight Howard had 25 points and 22 rebounds and Jameer Nelson scored 24 to help host Orlando beat Toronto in its playoff opener. Howard, who also had five blocked shots, scored six straight points in a 10-0 fourth-quarter run that sealed Orlando's first playoff win since 2003.

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