Orlando advances past Toronto
The Associated Press
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Dwight Howard had 21 points and 21 rebounds and Orlando advanced to second round of the playoffs for the first time in 12 years, beating Toronto 102-92 on Monday night to close out the series in five games.
It was Howard’s third game with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in the first-round series.
Raptors forward Chris Bosh, who posted career playoff highs of 39 points and 15 rebounds at Toronto on Saturday, had 16 points and nine rebounds.
The Magic will play the winner of the Detroit-Philadelphia series, which is tied 2-2, in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
T.J. Ford and Carlos Delfino both scored 14 points for the Raptors.
Keith Bogans and Jameer Nelson each hit a 3-pointer and Howard added a layup as the Magic used an 8-0 run over a 3:13 span to open a 92-82 lead.
Nelson scored 19 points for Orlando and Rashard Lewis had 18 points and 13 rebounds.
Hawks 97, Celtics 92
ATLANTA (AP) — Joe Johnson scored 35 points — 20 in the fourth quarter — and Josh Smith added 28 points and seven blocks for Atlanta, which evened the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.
Game 5 is Wednesday night in Boston.
The Hawks, who had the worst record (37-45) of any playoff team, overcame two double-digit deficits to beat a team that won an NBA-leading 66 games during the regular season.
After Smith’s jumper put the Hawks ahead to stay 81-79, Johnson scored nine straight points to keep the Celtics on the ropes.
Smith made two free throws with 26 seconds remaining for a 93-87 lead. Johnson finished off the Celtics by making two more foul shots with 14 seconds left.
Ray Allen led Boston with 21 points, and Kevin Garnett added 20.
Lakers 107, Nuggets 101
DENVER (AP) — Kobe Bryant scored 14 of his 31 points over the final 5 1/2 minutes to lead Los Angeles to a sweep of their first-round series.
Pau Gasol added 21 points in the Lakers’ first sweep of a playoff series since whitewashing New Jersey in the 2002 NBA finals, the last time they won it all.
J.R. Smith scored 26 points for the Nuggets, who became the first 50-win team to ever be swept in the first round of the playoffs.
The Lakers will meet the winner of the Utah-Houston series, which the Jazz lead 3-1, in the Western Conference semifinals.
Bryant scored nine straight points to give the Lakers a 97-96 lead. Luke Walton’s wide-open 3 gave the Lakers a 100-96 lead with 2:37 left.
Marcus Camby’s first points since the series shifted to Denver came on a 3-pointer with 33 seconds left, cutting the Lakers’ lead to 103-101, but Gasol dunked and Bryant added two free throws with 18 seconds left.