ORLANDO, Fla. - Chauncey Billups scored 25 points, Richard Hamilton added 19, and the Detroit Pistons overcame a lackluster fourth quarter to beat the Orlando Magic, 97-93, yesterday and sweep their first-round series.
The Pistons won the first three games of the best-of-seven series handily, but the finale was much more difficult - mostly because Detroit went cold to start the final period.
The Pistons were ahead, 78-69, early in the fourth but missed 11 of 13 shots and found themselves trailing by five, 85-80, with about three minutes remaining.
But Detroit took control down the stretch.
Cavaliers 98, Wizards 92
WASHINGTON - Undermanned Washington rallied from a 17-point third-quarter deficit but again could not finish the job in the final period as Cleveland held on take a three-games-to-none lead in the first-round series.
LeBron James had his best game of the series with 30 points, nine assists and six rebounds for the Cavaliers, who are one game away from sweeping a playoff series for the first time in franchise history. Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 24 points and eight rebounds, but the most glaring statistic was the Wizards' 6-for-20 shooting in the fourth quarter.
The Cavaliers led by seven after Ilgauskas' jumper with 2 minutes, 45 seconds to go, but the Wizards were back within three after Etan Thomas made one of two free throws with 37 seconds left. Cleveland responded with the big basket - James fed Sasha Pavlovic for an open three-pointer that pushed the lead to six with 25 seconds to play.
Spurs 96, Nuggets 91
DENVER - Tim Duncan had 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker sliced through Denver's defense in San Antonio's victory. The Spurs took a two-games-to-one series lead.
Parker led San Antonio with 21 points and Ginobili added 19, but two old pros iced the game.
Jazz 98, Rockets 85
SALT LAKE CITY - Deron Williams poured in 25 points and Utah took command in the third quarter and downed Houston to even their playoff series at two games each.
Magic's Hill may quit. Seven-time all-star Grant Hill, whose career has been slowed by a recurring ankle injury, is contemplating retirement. . . . LeBron James, watching the NFL draft in the locker room, was interested when the Cleveland Browns traded up into the first round to take Brady Quinn, a projected high pick who went at No. 22. "He lost a lot of money," James said.