Lakers wash out Blazers

Posted: Monday, April 22, 2002

LOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant scored 34 points, and Shaquille O'Neal had 25 points and nine rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers began their quest for a third consecutive title by beating the Portland Trail Blazers 95-87 Sunday.

The win was the 17th in the last 18 playoff games for the Lakers, whose 15-1 record in the last year's postseason was the best ever.

Derek Fisher added 12 points for the Lakers. Robert Horry, whose status had been in question due to bleeding beneath his abdomen, played 30 minutes without any apparent problems. He had four points and four rebounds and played his usual good all-around game.

Mavericks 101, Timberwolves 94

DALLAS -- Steve Nash's shot from just inside midcourt at the end of the third quarter sparked a 12-0 run that put Dallas ahead for good.

Nash, who'd been fighting fatigue and a balky back, showed no signs of pain as he had 21 points and six assists. Dirk Nowitzki's left ankle also was no problem as he had 30 points and 15 rebounds.

Celtics 92, 76ers 82

BOSTON -- Paul Pierce scored 31 points and Antoine Walker added 20 as Boston defeated Philadelphia despite Allen Iverson's return from a one-month injury absence.

Iverson was tentative at times because of a heavily wrapped left hand, scoring just five of his 20 points after the first quarter.

Pistons 85, Raptors 63

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The slowdown pace was effective for the Pistons and ugly for the Raptors.

Ben Wallace had 19 points, 20 rebounds, three blocks and three steals as the Detroit Pistons beat Toronto 85-63 Sunday night in Game 1 of their best-of-five first-round series.

The Pistons and Raptors combined for just 25 points in the first quarter as Detroit led 16-9, tying the NBA playoff record for fewest combined points in the first quarter.

The Raptors managed only 11 points in the third quarter and fell behind by as many as 29. Toronto shot just 29.9 percent and had its lowest point total in three postseason appearances.

Detroit pulled away by outscoring Toronto 23-11 in the third quarter to take a 65-45 lead into the fourth. The game was never close in the final quarter.

Antonio Davis led the Raptors with 15, and Jerome Williams added 11 against his former team.

Detroit, which hasn't won a playoff series since 1991, is leading a series 1-0 for the first time since that same year -- the season following their back-to-back championships.

Jerry Stackhouse scored 20 points and reserve Corliss Williamson added 14 against his former team.

Wallace, who won the Defensive Player of the Year award Saturday by a record-breaking margin, was playing his first playoff game. He matched his season-high with 19 points, and was one short of his career-high.

The Pistons and Raptors showed why their series may have been relegated to cable TV during their record-tying first quarter.

The teams matched the total produced by Utah (11) and Portland (14) in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals on May 20, 1999.

The Raptors missed 17 consecutive shots before Hakeem Olajuwon made a baseline jumper at the end of the quarter to keep the Raptors from breaking the record for fewest points by one team in a quarter.

The ugly start followed a tasteless display by the sold-out crowd at The Palace before the game when O Canada, the Canadian national anthem, was met with a steady stream of boos. The crowd included a couple thousand Toronto fans, who were decked out in Raptors gear and were waving Canadian flags.

When Toronto made a 12-2 run midway through the second quarter to cut its deficit 29-28, the crowd chanted ''USA, USA!''

The Pistons led 42-34 at halftime.

Notes: Utah set the record for fewest points in the first quarter with eight against the Lakers on May 8, 1988. ... Toronto's previous low in any quarter was 12 points. ... Pistons guard Dana Barros appeared in his first playoff game since the 1993 Western Conference finals. His nine-year absence from the postseason was the longest among active NBA players.

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