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.