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Thursday, 26 April 2007 23:20
NBA Headline News

 SCOREBOARD
Friday, April 27
Chicago at Miami (8 p.m. EDT). The defending NBA champions trail the Bulls 2-0 in this Eastern Conference opening-round series.

STARS
Thursday
-Kobe Bryant, Lakers, scored 15 of his 45 points in the fourth quarter and Los Angeles rallied for a 95-89 win over Phoenix.
-Carlos Boozer, Jazz, had 22 points and 12 rebounds to lead Utah past Houston 81-67.
-Tayshaun Prince and Chauncey Billups, Pistons. Prince scored 23 points and Billups added 21 and Detroit defeated Orlando 93-77.

BACK IN IT
The Los Angeles Lakers avoided going down by three games to Phoenix in their Western Conference first-round series by rallying from 17 points down to win 95-89 Thursday night. But the odds remain against the Lakers, since only 11 of 193 teams in NBA history have come back from an 0-2 deficit to win a best-of-seven series.

GROUNDED
Utah held Houston without a field goal for 10 minutes in the second half while beating the Rockets 81-67 on Thursday night in Game 3 of their playoff series. The Rockets won the first two games at home, but were sloppy on the road during the first playoff game in Utah since 2003. Houston had 19 turnovers to Utah's 11 and was just 21-for-64 from the floor (32.8 percent).

THREE'S THE CHARM
Detroit took a three games to none lead in its first-round series with Orlando after a 93-77 victory on Thursday night. The Pistons had lost their last six Game 3s when leading 2-0 and have their first 3-0 series lead since their championship season in 1990. No team in NBA history has ever won a playoff series after trailing 3-0.

IN OR OUT?
Jason Kidd missed the New Jersey's practice Thursday because of a strained left knee and will be a game-time decision for Friday's third game against Toronto. Kidd was hurt early in Game 2 while attempting to draw an offensive foul.

SEARCH IS ON
Memphis owner Michael Heisley said he interviewed Larry Brown on Thursday about the coaching vacancy with his young team, but other candidates are also being considered. Heisley is looking for a new coach for a franchise that went from the playoffs to the NBA's worst record at 22-60 in one season. Coach Mike Fratello was fired in December and replaced on an interim basis by Tony Barone Sr.

CLOSE CALL
Golden State guard Monta Ellis was selected the NBA's Most Improved Player on Wednesday, edging Sacramento's Kevin Martin in the closest voting in the award's history. Ellis, a second-year pro who joined the Warriors straight out of his Mississippi high school, received 47 first-place votes and 352 points from a panel of sports writers and broadcasters. Martin received 44 first-place votes and 349 points.

SPEAKING
``He's the one guy on our team that people don't talk about. He's kind of a silent assassin.'' - Detroit coach Flip Saunders on Tayshaun Prince, who scored 23 points in the Pistons' 93-77 win over Orlando in Game 3 of that first-round series.
 

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