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                ***** NBA Previews from The Sports Network *****
                             Wednesday, April 23rd
                              (All times Eastern)
 
 
 (7) CHARLOTTE BOBCATS (0-1) AT (2) MIAMI HEAT (1-0), 7 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Miami Heat will try to take a commanding 2-0 lead
 over the Charlotte Bobcats in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals when the
 teams meet for Game 2 Wednesday night at American Airlines Arena.
 
 The two-time defending NBA champions took Game 1, 99-88, on Sunday.
 
 LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were their future Hall of Fame selves in Game 1.
 The pair combined for 50 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
 
 James made four of Miami's 11 3-pointers and finished with 27 points and nine
 rebounds, while Wade added 23 points and five assists.
 
 The duo shot 18-of-32 (56.3 percent) from the field, and Miami received key
 contributions off the bench from James Jones and Chris Andersen, with Jones
 chipping in 12 points and Andersen adding eight points and 10 rebounds while
 limiting Al Jefferson on the defensive side.
 
 "Besides starting off slow in the first and second quarters I thought we
 played a pretty good game," Wade said. "Now we're going to go look at
 adjustments we can make and figure out how we can be better in Game 2."
 
 Jefferson has become the story of this series.
 
 He started strong on Sunday, but was hobbled after suffering a strain to his
 left plantar fascia in the first quarter.
 
 "When it first happened I was in a lot of pain, but as the game went on it
 eased up," Jefferson said, adding he received a shot at halftime but would be
 fine for the remainder of the playoffs. "It's just something I have to play
 through."
 
 And Jefferson left no doubt on Tuesday when speaking with the media.
 
 "I'm suiting up," Jefferson said. "It'll take more than that to make me sit
 down."
 
 He still logged 18 points and 10 rebounds on Sunday ,while Kemba Walker's 20-
 point effort led the club.
 
 This would appear to be a one-sided matchup on paper. The Heat have won the
 last two titles and appeared in the Finals three seasons ago. They earned the
 No. 2 seed with another great regular-season run.
 
 The Bobcats are making their second playoff appearance in franchise history
 and entered the series having dropped 16 consecutive regular-season games to
 their fellow Southeast Division rivals.
 
 But Charlotte was game on Sunday.
 
 The score was even, 59-59, before James hit from behind the arc late in the
 third quarter, and the four-time league MVP beat the buzzer with another 3-
 pointer to send the Heat into the fourth with a 72-65 advantage.
 
 The Heat pulled away for good early in the final stanza, as Jones and Wade
 each connected from long range during a 13-1 surge that extended Miami's lead
 to 87-70 lead under 6 1/2 minutes to play.
 
 The closest Charlotte got down the stretch was the final score.
 
 Heat guard Mario Chalmers is questionable for Wednesday with a bruised knee.
 If Chalmers can't go, Norris Cole or Toney Douglas would get the start.
 
 Game 3 will be Saturday night in Charlotte.
 
 
 (8) DALLAS MAVERICKS (0-1) AT (1) SAN ANTONIO SPURS (1-0), 8 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The San Antonio Spurs fought off a valiant effort from
 the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of their Western Conference quarterfinal and
 will go for a 2-0 series lead Wednesday night when the two long-time rivals
 clash at AT&T Center.
 
 On Sunday afternoon, the Spurs trailed 81-71 with 7:45 to play, but closed the
 game on a 19-4 run. They finished with a 90-85 victory and a 10-game winning
 streak against their Texas neighbors.
 
 "Made some stops, that generates offense. We needed it," San Antonio's All-
 Star guard Tony Parker said of the run.
 
 San Antonio couldn't buy a 3-pointer as Manu Ginobili was the only Spur to
 convert one in Game 1. He went 3-of-6 from 3-point range, but the Spurs went
 just 3-of-17 (17.6 percent) as a team. It shot a blistering 43.3 percent (42-
 of-97) from downtown in four games against Dallas this season.
 
 The difference on Sunday was Tim Duncan. The future Hall of Famer finished
 with 27 points and seven rebounds.
 
 "We got killed on threes in the first four outings this year," Mavericks
 forward Dirk Nowitzki said. "We stayed home a little more on 3-point shooters,
 but you've got to give them something, and Duncan in there is obviously still
 solid."
 
 Parker posted 21 points, six assists and four rebounds for the top-seeded
 Spurs, who finished with the NBA's best record at 62-20. Ginobili finished
 with 17 points and six rebounds, while Kawhi Leonard registered a double-
 double with 11 points and 10 boards.
 
 Devin Harris led Dallas with 19 points, followed by 11 apiece from Nowitzki,
 Monta Ellis and Brandan Wright. Vince Carter chipped in 10 off the bench.
 
 The late-game run was sparked by, of course, Duncan.
 
 He banked in a turnaround and then put in a runner to begin the surge before
 Tiago Splitter tied the game at 81-81 with a layup with 4:54 remaining.
 Consecutive Parker baskets gave the Spurs their first lead since it was 50-49
 when there was 8:14 left in the third.
 
 Wright split a pair of foul shots to pull Dallas within 86-82 with 2:05 on the
 clock, but it never got any closer. Splitter sunk two foul shots at the other
 end and the Mavericks missed three of their final four shots from the field.
 
 "It's obvious that we did a lot of great things," Dallas head coach Rick
 Carlisle told the team's website. "We built a lead, but 7 1/2 minutes is a
 long time in an NBA game and you've got to be able to sustain. We've got to
 work on getting another lead in Game 2 and then closing."
 
 The Spurs received some good news on Tuesday when Gregg Popovich was named
 Coach of the Year. He became the third coach to earn the honor three times,
 joining Pat Riley and Don Nelson.
 
 "I feel very honored for a whole lot of reasons," said Popovich. "First, there
 were so many coaches that did such a great job this year. To be singled out is
 pretty humbling.
 
 "When you win an award, it comes down to the players. They've been
 unbelievable for me. Without their play, diligence and professionalism, I
 know this wouldn't happen."
 
 Game 3 will be Saturday evening in Dallas.
 
 
 (5) PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (1-0) AT (4) HOUSTON ROCKETS (0-1), 9:30 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Houston Rockets will try to even their Western
 Conference quarterfinal series with the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday
 night when the teams play Game 2 at the Toyota Center.
 
 Portland snatched Game 1, 122-120, in overtime on Sunday night in Houston
 thanks to amazing heroics from its two All-Stars.
 
 Damian Lillard finished with 31 points, nine rebounds and five assists and
 LaMarcus Aldridge turned in a monster performance with 46 points and 18
 rebounds before fouling out in the extra session. Aldridge's 46 points set a
 Blazers' franchise record for points in a postseason game.
 
 Down nine with less than five minutes to go in regulation, the Blazers
 employed the "hack-a-Howard" strategy.
 
 Dwight Howard, a 54.7-percent foul shooter, made his first two attempts, but
 missed the next four as the Blazers rallied with the next 11 points to tie the
 game on Aldridge's two from the line with 2:46 left.
 
 James Harden got a tough jumper to fall just inside the final minute of
 regulation for a 102-99 lead and Aldridge cut it to one with a pair of free
 throws 13 seconds later.
 
 Jeremy Lin missed a runner on the other end, but Howard grabbed the rebound
 and was fouled. This time, Howard came through for his team and knocked down
 both free throws for a 104-101 edge.
 
 Lillard, however, buried a game-tying trey. On the inbounds pass, Lillard ran
 his defender Patrick Beverley into a brutal screen which sent him to the deck.
 Lillard then got Terrance Jones to bite on a pump fake before knocking down
 the triple.
 
 After Harden made it 106-104 with seven seconds left, Wesley Matthews
 attempted a three from the time out, but it drew iron. Lillard was there for
 the rebound, but his tip-in didn't fall. Aldridge, though, cleaned up that
 miss and tied the game again with 2.9 seconds left.
 
 Harden couldn't get a tough look from the corner to go as the horn sounded,
 sending the game into overtime.
 
 The Rockets scored the first six points of the bonus period thanks to three-
 point plays from Howard and Lin. Aldridge and Nicolas Batum, though, hit back-
 to-back treys and Matthews knocked down two free throws to give the Blazers
 their first lead since late in the first half.
 
 The teams traded blows until Lin blew by his defender and got a layup to fall
 for a 118-116 lead with 53 seconds left. Lillard, however, used a three-point
 play on the ensuing trip to put Portland in front.
 
 Garcia and Howard split from the stripe before Lillard made the go-ahead free
 throws.
 
 "That was a tremendous game. Obviously when we fouled Dwight he missed some of
 the free throws, that was a turning point," said Blazers coach Terry Stotts.
 "They came out and scored the first six in OT, but we responded. We had to win
 one here, we did it, but we're not satisfied. Tonight is behind us, we have to
 keep going."
 
 Howard and Harden both finished with 27 points while Howard pulled down 15
 rebounds. Chandler Parsons added 24 and Lin chipped in 14 off the bench. Jones
 registered a double-double with 12 points and 13 boards.
 
 Beverley injured his knee, but it wasn't as bad as originally diagnosed. He's
 expected to play Wednesday night.
 
 "Woke up at home, tried to put some weight on it, felt good. Squatted and felt
 good, one-legged jump felt good," said Beverley. "I did this all at home. I
 just have an ability to heal quicker than others I guess."
 
 Game 3 will be Friday night in Portland.
 
 04/23 10:16:57 ET

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