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Archive for Wednesday, May 14, 2008

NBA Roundup: Detroit clinches series

New Orleans crushes San Antonio

Detroit guard Richard Hamilton (32) drives against Orlando guard Keith Bogans (10) during the first half of Game 5. Detroit defeated Orlando, 91-86 to clinch the series on Tuesday in Auburn Hills, Mich.

Detroit guard Richard Hamilton (32) drives against Orlando guard Keith Bogans (10) during the first half of Game 5. Detroit defeated Orlando, 91-86 to clinch the series on Tuesday in Auburn Hills, Mich.

May 14, 2008

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— The Detroit Pistons missed 64 percent of their shots and had a rookie filling in for an All-Star at point guard.

It didn't matter.

Detroit set an NBA playoff record with just three turnovers and made just enough shots and stops to advance to their sixth straight Eastern Conference final with a 91-86 victory Tuesday night over the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of the second-round series.

Richard Hamilton scored 31 points and made victory-sealing free throws, and Tayshaun Prince had a key block to help Detroit eliminate Orlando.

The Pistons are the first franchise to play in six conference finals in a row since the Los Angeles Lakers did it from 1984-89.

"Now we expect to do this," Hamilton said. "We're supposed to be here."

The Pistons will have a break before facing the Boston Celtics or Cleveland Cavaliers, and that will help Chauncey Billups, who missed his second straight game with a strained right hamstring.

"It's good to get this over with," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "Now we get a chance to rest."

Detroit overcame an awful shooting night by making free throws, taking care of the ball and pestering the Magic.

The Pistons were 28-of-32 at the line and didn't turn the ball over once after the first quarter even though Rodney Stuckey was filling in for Billups.

Orlando made just 16 of 28 free throws and had a playoff-high 21 turnovers, which turned into 34 points for Detroit.

Hornets 101, Spurs 79

New Orleans - David West and the New Orleans Hornets sure looked happy to be at home.

West had career playoff highs of 38 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots, lifting New Orleans to a 3-2 series lead.

New Orleans looked impressive in winning the first two games at home but stumbled in San Antonio. Back in the Big Easy, the Hornets cruised again.

"We've proved all season long we're one of the better teams in the NBA," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "We had every reason after Games 3 and 4 to fold, but again, being with these guys, they've showed this type of resilience all season, so I'm not surprised."

Chris Paul had 16 of his 22 points in the second half and added 14 assists for New Orleans, which has never advanced past the second round of the playoffs.

Manu Ginobili led San Antonio with 20 points, and Tony Parker had 18. The Hornets held Tim Duncan to 10 points, though Duncan was a force on the glass with 23 rebounds.

"They did a great job of crowding the paint and also getting back to our shooters," Duncan said. "They were very physical on the post. I didn't shoot the ball very well and those opportunities kind of turned into them running it back at us."

Guarded mostly by Tyson Chandler, Duncan was 5-of-18 shooting, but Chandler left the game early in the fourth quarter with a bruised left foot.

Game 6 will be Thursday night in San Antonio, where the Spurs are 5-0 in the postseason.

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