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Monday, 28 April 2008 23:34
NBA Headline News

 SCOREBOARD
Tuesday, April 29
Phoenix at San Antonio (9:30 p.m. EDT). The Spurs attempt to close out the Suns after a blowout loss in Game 4.

STARS
Monday
- Dwight Howard, Magic, had 21 points and 21 rebounds as Orlando advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in 12 years, beating Toronto 102-92.
- Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, Lakers. Bryant scored 31 points and Gasol had 21 as Los Angeles beat Denver 107-101 to complete a first-round sweep
- Joe Johnson and Josh Smith, Hawks. Johnson scored 35 points and Smith added 28 in Atlanta's 97-92 victory over Boston.

SWEEPS
Kobe Bryant scoring 14 of his 31 points in the final 5 1/2 minutes, leading the Lakers to a 107-101 win over Denver and a sweep of their first-round series. It was Los Angeles' first sweep of a playoff series since beating New Jersey in the 2002 NBA finals. Next up for L.A. is the Utah-Houston winner.

MOVING ON
Orlando improved to 4-0 all-time in Game 5s at home, eliminating Toronto 102-92 Monday night to reach the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Magic will play the winner of the Detroit-Philadelphia series.

STEPPING DOWN
Hall of Famer Pat Riley resigned as Miami coach Monday, but remains team president. Erik Spoelstra, a 37-year-old assistant, will replace Riley and become the NBA's youngest current coach. The Heat finished with the NBA's poorest record (15-67) and, by far, the worst of Riley's 25-year career.

GROUP EFFORT
Joe Johnson scored 35 points - 20 in the fourth quarter - and Josh Smith added 28 points and seven blocks for Atlanta, which surprised Boston again Monday night, 97-92 to even the best-of-seven series two games apiece.

FINED
Boston forward Paul Pierce and Washington guard DeShawn Stevenson were each fined $25,000 by the NBA for making ``menacing gestures'' in playoff games this weekend.

NO FOUL
Dallas' Jason Kidd won't be suspended for his flagrant foul on New Orleans' Jannero Pargo in Sunday's game. The Mavericks try to avoid elimination Tuesday night in Game 5.

AWARDS
Orlando forward Hedo Turkoglu has been selected the NBA's most improved player. Turkoglu, who received 380 points and 61 first-place votes, averaged a career-high 19.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5 assists per game. Memphis swingman Rudy Gay was second with 167 points and 23 first-place votes, while Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge was third with 128 points and nine first-place votes.

SPEAKING
``I don't take anything from anybody. The message was, 'We're right here. Even if we lose, it's not going to be easy.''' - Atlanta center Zaza Pachulia after a confrontation with Boston's Kevin Garnett during a 97-92 Hawks victory Monday night that tied the Eastern Conference series 2-2.
 

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