Blazers down Suns, 105-100
PHOENIX — Brandon Roy or no Brandon Roy, the Portland Trail Blazers give the Phoenix Suns fits.
Game 1 of their first-round playoff series was no exception, and the homecourt advantage the Suns worked so hard to get is history after Portland pulled away over the final 4 1/2 minutes to beat them, 105-100, last night.
Andre Miller scored 15 points in the fourth quarter and tied his career playoff high with 31 points as Portland made Phoenix the only home team to lose in a playoff opener.
"We have done this all season long," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 22 points and Nicolas Batum 18 for Portland in a game played in the methodical style the Blazers wanted. Jerryd Bayless also had 18 for the Blazers, 10 in the fourth quarter, but missed two free throws with 12.2 seconds left to give Phoenix a shot to tie. Steve Nash's 3-point try was well short, though, and Miller's two free throws iced the victory.
"We just didn't play well enough," Nash said. "I thought we were a shade of ourselves. We've got a lot of improving to do if we want to win the series."
Marcus Camby grabbed 17 rebounds for Portland, two off his career playoff best.
The Suns won 14 of their last 16, including the final eight at home.
"They were probably the hottest team in the league at the end of the season, but we're a pretty good road team ourselves," Camby said. "We came out here without our best player and guys stepped in and contributed real well."
Roy is out for the series after arthroscopic knee surgery, and the Blazers lost Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla earlier in the season. But Portland won two of three against the Suns, including a win at Phoenix when the Blazers didn't have Roy.
MAGIC 98, BOBCATS 89
ORLANDO, Fla. — Jameer Nelson scored 24 of his 32 points in the first half, and Orlando nearly blew a 22-point lead before beating Charlotte.
After missing the first three rounds of the playoffs last year recovering from right shoulder surgery, Nelson is healthy again and ready to redeem his NBA finals flop.
"In the finals, I wasn't myself," Nelson said. "Not making any excuses, I was out there, so I should have helped my team out a little better. But it feels great being able to help these guys, and not be out there in a suit cheering them on as much as I did last year."
Rashard Lewis added 19 points, and Dwight Howard had nine blocks but was limited offensively and in foul trouble for most of the second half.
Gerald Wallace had 25 points, and Stephen Jackson played through a hyperextended left knee to finish with 18 points in the Bobcats' first playoff game in franchise history.
MAVERICKS 100, SPURS 94
DALLAS — Dirk Nowitzki opened the playoffs in a high gear, making 12 of 14 shots and scoring 36 points to lead Dallas over San Antonio.
"Sometimes," Nowitzki said, "you have one of those nights where the basket is big."
Caron Butler scored 22 points and Brendan Haywood added 10 in their playoff debut for Dallas. Both were part of a major trade in February that turned a good Mavericks team into a much better one. They came into the playoffs having won eight of 10 and five straight.
The Spurs' Tim Duncan had 27 points and eight rebounds, Manu Ginobili scored 26, and Tony Parker had 18 points and four assists. George Hill started at point guard, but was scoreless with two turnovers in 18 minutes.