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Ex-Wildcat Terry helps Dallas dump San Antonio

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO – Ex-Arizona Wildcat Jason Terry galloped down the court after a big shot and Josh Howard skipped along the sideline after another. For what the Mavericks were about to pull off, they might as well have danced.

For the first time since 2006, Dallas is moving past the first round. And for the first time since 2000, San Antonio isn’t.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 31 points Tuesday night in his first breakout game, and the No. 6-seeded Mavs won a playoff series for the first time in three years by eliminating the Spurs in five games with a 106-93 win.

“(We) went through a lot this year, a very turbulent year,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “Injuries. Ups, downs, emotional stuff, and we really stuck together.”

The Mavs advance to the Western Conference semifinals to play either Denver or New Orleans. The Nuggets lead that series 3-1 and can finish it off Wednesday at Denver.

For Tim Duncan, who scored 30, it’s the first time in his career he couldn’t lead the Spurs past the opening round.

“They had more firepower than us. They played better than us,” Duncan said.

Howard rang in his 29th birthday with 17 points. His biggest gift to the Mavs: a momentum-changing 3-pointer with 4:20 left in the third, which he celebrated by skipping down the sideline and razzing the crowd. When Jason Kidd hit another 3-pointer at the buzzer in the third, his teammates jumped from their seats. Terry finished with 19 points.

Gunner Pierce lifts Celtics

BOSTON – Kevin Garnett was in street clothes. Ray Allen fouled out. The Boston Celtics’ Big Three was down to one, and Paul Pierce was ready. The MVP of last year’s NBA finals scored 26 points, hitting one jumper to tie the game at the end of regulation and three more in the final 77 seconds of overtime to help the Celtics beat Chicago 106-104 and take a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven playoff series.

“I just thought when Ray fouled out it was time for me to really step up,” said Pierce, who scored 12 points in the 10 minutes after Allen left the game. “Better late than never.”

Rajon Rondo scored 28 points with 11 assists and eight rebounds. The Celtics could finish the Bulls off in Chicago on Thursday in Game 6; if not, Game 7 would be Saturday in Boston.

Ben Gordon scored 26 and Joakim Noah had 11 points and 17 rebounds for Chicago, but Brad Miller missed the potential game-tying free throws with 2 seconds left in OT after Rondo fouled him to prevent an easy layup.

Orlando’s Howard has 24 rebounds

ORLANDO, Fla. – Dwight Howard did so much damage to the Philadelphia 76ers, he set off a coaching feud. Howard had 24 points and a career playoff-high 24 rebounds, a dominating performance that powered the Magic to a 91-78 victory over the Sixers and gave Orlando a 3-2 series lead.

Philadelphia coach Tony DiLeo said Howard should have been called for 3 seconds in the lane several times and asked the NBA to look into an elbow from Howard on Samuel Dalembert. Orlando coach Stan Gundy defended Howard, saying, “Let’s just play the games.”

Portland stays alive vs. Houston

PORTLAND, Ore. – Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge each scored 25 points, and Portland staved off elimination in the playoffs with an 88-77 win over Houston. The Rockets, who have not advanced past Round 1 in six tries since 1997, hold a 3-2 advantage in the series going into Thursday’s game in Houston.

Ex-Wildcat Terry helps Dallas advance in playoffs

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