Lakers, Spurs, Nets and Celtics advance to second round
Friday, May 2nd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
There will be no NBA games Saturday, a day that was reserved for four Game 7s that will not be necessary.
The Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, New Jersey Nets and Boston Celtics advanced to the second round of the playoffs Thursday night, each winning their series in six games.
Kobe Bryant scored 14 of his 31 points in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter, and Shaquille O'Neal had 24 points, 17 rebounds and nine assists as Los Angeles finished off Minnesota 101-85.
Tim Duncan had 15 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists for his second career playoff triple-double as San Antonio eliminated Phoenix 87-85.
Jason Kidd had a triple-double, Kenyon Martin scored 29 and Richard Jefferson 16 as the Nets downed the Milwaukee Bucks 113-101.
Paul Pierce had 27 points and Antoine Walker 21 for the Celtics, who opened an 18-point lead in the first quarter and coasted to a 110-90 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
The second round begins Monday night with Game 1 of the Nets-Celtics and Lakers-Spurs conference semifinals.
Three more first-round series could conclude Friday night as Philadelphia (leading 3-2) visits New Orleans, Dallas (ahead 3-2) plays at Portland and Orlando (up 3-2) hosts Detroit.
If any of those series is extended to a seventh game, it will be played Sunday.
Lakers 101, Timberwolves 85
At Los Angeles, Bryant outscored the Timberwolves 10-2 by himself to start the final period, shooting 5-of-5, and Devean George added four points to make it 83-65 with 8:19 remaining.
Another basket by Bryant and two free throws by O'Neal made it 87-65 with 7:04 to play. The only suspense after that was whether O'Neal would get a triple-double, which he didn't.
The three-time defending champion Lakers have won 13 straight playoff series under Phil Jackson, and Jackson-coached teams have won an NBA record 25 consecutive series.
````Phil's motivation does very well for us, so we wanted to come out and play hard and focused,'' O'Neal said.
Derek Fisher scored 16 points, Devean George added 12 points and eight rebounds and Robert Horry had 11 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
Kevin Garnett had 18 points and 12 rebounds and Troy Hudson also had 18 points for the Timberwolves, who were ousted in the first round for the seventh straight season.
Spurs 87, Suns 85
At Phoenix, Stephen Jackson and Manu Ginobili sank two 3-pointers apiece in a decisive 12-2 fourth-quarter run.
Tony Parker added 17 points, and Ginobili scored 12 by going on 4-of-7 3-pointers.
Joe Johnson's driving layup gave Phoenix its last lead, 71-69, with 6:10 to play. Then the 3-pointers began to fall for the Spurs.
Jackson made one to put the Spurs up for good, 72-71 with 5:54 to go. Ginobili, wide-open, made two, then Jackson sank another and it was 81-74 with 3:44 to go.
``The Suns were a great eighth seed,'' San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. ``If they had made their shots down the stretch, we would probably be playing a seventh game.''
Nets 113, Bucks 101
At Milwaukee, the Bucks were down 88-70 heading into the fourth quarter, and the best they could do from there was cut their deficit in half _ 99-90 on a basket by Gary Payton with 5 1/2 minutes left.
Martin, who picked up his fifth foul and took a seat early in the fourth quarter, had two crucial offensive rebounds on one possession, dishing to Kerry Kittles for a 3-pointer to make it 102-90 with 4:37 remaining.
Sam Cassell, the only remaining member of Milwaukee's ``Big Three'' that included Ray Allen and Glenn Robinson, had one of the worst playoff performances of his career with just five points as the Bucks trailed by as many as 22.
Celtics 110, Pacers 90
At Boston, the Celtics were 13-of-16 from the floor in the first quarter and made 14 consecutive shots in the first half to open a 23-point lead. They stretched it to 27 points in the third and never led by less than double digits after Tony Delk's 3-pointer made it 22-10 eight minutes into the game.
``It was awful good,'' Celtics coach Jim O'Brien said of the first 12 minutes. ``That was awful good basketball.''
Indiana has now lost in the first round three times under coach Isiah Thomas, who got little in this series from All-Star Brad Miller and future Hall of Famer Reggie Miller.
``I'm disappointed because I let the other 11 guys down,'' Reggie Miller said. ``No question about it: It was 100 percent my fault.