ATLANTA (AP) -High-flying Josh Smith scored 27 points to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 102-93 victory over Boston on Saturday night that breathed life into their long-shot playoff hopes, cutting the Celtics' lead in the opening-round series to 2-1.
Atlanta earned its first playoff win since May 16, 1999, a Game 5 clincher over the Detroit Pistons. The Hawks were swept by New York in the next round, then spent nine long years trying to get back to the postseason.
Joe Johnson added 23 points and Mike Bibby - who riled up the Boston faithful with his comments about ``fair-weather'' fans - bounced back from two dismal games by doling out eight assists. Showing much better ball movement and a willingness to run with the Celtics, the Hawks improved from 10 assists in Game 2 to 28 on Saturday.
Kevin Garnett led Boston with 32 points, but the NBA's youngest playoff team had him kneeling over, looking totally exhausted, by the end of the game. Game 4 is Monday in Atlanta.
Lakers 102, Nuggets 84
DENVER (AP) - Kobe Bryant scored 22 points and Los Angeles took a 3-0 lead in its first-round series against flustered Denver.
Game 4 is Monday night, and the Nuggets are going to have to get more out of their All-Star duo of Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson if they hope to take the series back to the Staples Center.
Anthony and Iverson were miserable from the floor, shooting a combined 10-for-38 and finishing with 16 and 15 points, respectively.
Los Angeles took an 83-64 lead into the fourth quarter and never looked back. Luke Walton added 15 points off the bench for Los Angeles, and Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher each scored 14.
Magic 106, Raptors 94
TORONTO (AP) - Rashard Lewis had 27 points and 13 rebounds, Dwight Howard added 19 points and 16 boards, and Orlando beat Toronto to take a 3-1 lead in its first-round playoff series.
Jameer Nelson scored 12 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, while Hedo Turkoglu had 18 points and nine rebounds for the third-seeded Magic.
Chris Bosh set a career playoff-high with 39 points and added 15 rebounds for the Raptors, who face elimination in Game 5 on Monday night at Orlando. T.J. Ford had 12 points and 13 assists for the Raptors.
Lewis went 10-for-19 from the field. The Magic made four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and finished 11-for-29 from beyond the arc.
Jazz 86, Rockets 82
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Deron Williams scored eight of his 17 points in the fourth quarter and the Jazz beat the Rockets for a 3-1 series lead.
Mehmet Okur added 14 points and 18 rebounds, grabbing the biggest board of the game when Williams went 0-for-2 from the line with 7.3 seconds left and Utah only ahead by two.
The Rockets host Game 5 Tuesday and need a win to keep the series going.
Houston cut a 16-point third quarter deficit to a point and made a great push at the end after Shane Battier and Rafer Alston made 3-pointers in the final minute to get the Rockets back within two. Kyle Korver answered with two free throws for Utah to make it 84-80 with 12.5 seconds left, then after Carl Landry putback an offensive rebound, Williams had a chance to seal it for the Jazz.
He missed both attempts, but Okur was there for the offensive rebound and hit both free throws with 5.5 seconds to go.
Tracy McGrady, who is 0-6 in playoff series, scored 23 points to lead the Rockets. Only four came in the fourth quarter.
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