NBA Playoff roundup

Prince powers Pistons to win

Detroit gets even by beating 76ers

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Associated Press / April 28, 2008

The Pistons squashed all that chatter about heading home with a series deficit.

Tayshaun Prince scored 23 points and made all but one shot from the field, and Detroit played with a purpose and dominated the second half to beat the 76ers, 93-84, last night in Philadelphia, tying the best-of-seven Eastern Conference playoff series at 2-2.

The Sixers pumped up the crowd when they played season highlights set to Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'." Then Detroit guaranteed its season won't unexpectedly cut-to-black.

All the euphoria the Sixers created after a 20-point win in Game 3 only grew as they raced to a 14-point first-half lead. The younger, faster, confident Sixers were taking it to the aging, slumping Pistons yet again.

Then those 59-win Pistons showed up in the third quarter. They haven't reached five straight Eastern Conference finals by losing two straight road games to the seventh seed in the first round.

That combined 4-for-14 first half from Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace? Forgotten after they drilled consecutive 3-pointers. Prince - 11 for 12 from the floor - followed with a baseline layup to cap an 11-0 spurt early in the third and gave the Pistons their first lead of the game, 47-46.

Wallace, perhaps fired up after he was T'd up in the final seconds of the first half, hit two more 3s that whipped a 14-point deficit all the way around to a 60-53 lead.

The Pistons picked up the defensive pressure and forced seven turnovers in the third. Detroit played like the 76ers did in Game 3, with active hands in the lane and pressure up top that rattled the upstart home team.

Wallace finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Richard Hamilton bounced back from a 1-for-10 first half to finish with 18 points.

Cavaliers 100, Wizards 97 - LeBron James had 34 points and 12 rebounds, and dished the ball to Delonte West for a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 5.4 seconds left, helping visiting Cleveland get past Washington to take a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference playoff series.

After Cleveland's 30-point victory in Game 2, and Washington's 36-point margin in Game 3, these teams that know each other so well finally produced a gem of a game. Cleveland led by 15 in the third quarter, but Washington came back, with Gilbert Arenas capping the rally.

He made two free throws with 57 seconds left to get Washington within 2 points, and after James missed a jumper, Arenas's 8-foot fadeaway with 28 seconds remaining made it 97-all. James dribbled out the clock before finding West, whose career playoff-high 21 points included five of Cleveland's 13 3-pointers.

Arenas, who built a reputation for clutch late-game performances before having two operations on his left knee, then tried to pull Washington even at the buzzer, but badly missed a 3 try over West.

Saddled by foul trouble, James was hardly as aggressive late as he was early. When he dunked following a Wizards turnover to make it 51-41 late in the first half, James already was up to 22 points - his total for Game 3.

Still, little came easily, and his simmering feud with Washington guard DeShawn Stevenson nearly bubbled over late in the second quarter.

James drove to the basket, and Stevenson came from behind and swiped a hand out, missing the ball but clipping the Cavs' star in the head. James's burgundy headband came off and went flying, while Stevenson fell to the court. James kept his balance and stepped toward Stevenson, who got up and stepped toward James.

They exchanged words, but that was it, before teammates stepped in to separate the pair. Stevenson was called for a flagrant foul, and after James went 1 for 2 at the line, he made a 3.

"There's been some extracurricular activities going on outside and inside this series," James said, "but I've been able to stay focused."

Suns 105, Spurs 86 - Boris Diaw had 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists in one of the best playoff performances of his career, and host Phoenix averted a sweep with a rout of San Antonio.

Raja Bell scored 21 of his 27 points in a dominant first half to help Phoenix bring a one-sided end to the defending NBA champions' nine-game playoff winning streak. The Suns were 11-0 in the regular season when Bell scored at least 20.

Phoenix still trails the first-round series, 3-1. No NBA team has come back from 0-3 to win a series.

Steve Nash and Leandro Barbosa scored 15 apiece for the Suns. Shaquille O'Neal had 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Tony Parker, who scored a career-high 41 in Game 3 and was averaging 33 in the series, led San Antonio with 18 points and Manu Ginobili scored 10.

Phoenix led by 21 after one quarter, by as many as 24 in the second and by 30 in the third.

Nash's 15-footer gave the Suns a 79-49 lead with 5:50 left in the third. With Parker and Duncan on the bench, San Antonio cut it to 22 late in the quarter, but it was 93-65 entering the fourth.

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