- The Washington Times - Monday, April 20, 2009

From combined dispatches

76ERS 100, MAGIC 98: Andre Iguodala waited for the clock to tick down, took a few dribbles to his right and let go a high-arching jumper. Swish! Orlando was stunned, its fans silenced.

For Philadelphia, it was the sweet sound of stealing homecourt advantage.

Iguodala made a 22-foot jumper with 2.2 seconds remaining, and the Sixers rallied from an 18-point deficit to beat Orlando in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series Sunday.

He then stood at halfcourt waving his hands as teammates joined him to celebrate.

“We won one more game than people thought we would win,” Iguodala said. “I was pretty amped up.”

Iguodala had 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and Louis Williams scored 18 to help the Sixers beat the Magic for the first time in four tries this season - and when it mattered most. Hedo Turkoglu’s fadeaway 3-pointer missed at the buzzer, and Magic fans stood in disbelief before filing out quietly.

Iguodala had missed two free throws with about a minute left before more than redeeming himself with the game-winning shot.

“He really made up for it, didn’t he?” Sixers coach Tony DiLeo said, smiling. “He’s like our secret weapon.”

Dwight Howard had a career playoff-high 31 points and 16 rebounds, and rookie Courtney Lee scored 18 for the Magic. It was the biggest lead the Magic blew all season, topping the loss on Oct. 31 to Memphis when they were ahead by 15 points. Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Wednesday night in Orlando.

“I was very surprised at the effort,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “I was surprised not only for our lack of intensity defensively, but I was really surprised with our lack of focus.”

LAKERS 113, JAZZ 100: Pardon Phil Jackson’s lack of enthusiasm for how Los Angeles played in the second half. It piled up 62 points on Utah in the first half, then got outscored over the final 24 minutes.

“It wasn’t a coach’s delight, that’s for sure,” he said.

But his players sure liked the outcome, a victory over the Jazz in the teams’ playoff opener.

Kobe Bryant scored 24 points, Trevor Ariza added 21 and Pau Gasol had 20 as the Lakers pretty much had their way against the eighth-seeded Jazz. They led by 22 points at halftime and then answered resoundingly both times Utah got within nine in the second half.

“They kept knocking on the door, and we just never let them in,” Bryant said.

Allowing a Phil Jackson-coached team to win Game 1 of any series doesn’t bode well for the opposition. Jackson’s teams have never lost a playoff series after winning Game 1, going 41-for-41 with Chicago and the Lakers.

“We had a very difficult time,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. “We gave up 62 points in the first half, and it’s virtually impossible to beat this team giving them an edge.”

Carlos Boozer led the Jazz with 27 points, and Deron Williams added 16 points and a career playoff-high 17 assists. Both were in foul trouble, with Boozer getting his third just before halftime when Williams already had two.

“I didn’t shoot the ball too well,” Williams said. “I did a good job getting in the lane and distributing the basketball. I just couldn’t finish.”

HAWKS 90, HEAT 64: This is why Atlanta wanted to start the playoffs at home.

With Josh Smith delivering one rim-shaking dunk after another and plenty of teammates chipping in, the Hawks made Miami look like a one-man team, running Dwyane Wade and the Heat ragged for a blowout victory in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference playoff series.

Wade scored 19 points - 11 below his NBA-leading average - and only one other Miami even reached double figures as the Hawks tied a franchise record for fewest points allowed in a playoff game. Wade spent much of the night on his backside or complaining to the referees, his frustration growing as the Hawks turned the opener to the best-of-seven series into a laugher before halftime.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide