Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge each scored 25 points, and the Portland Trail Blazers staved off elimination in the playoffs with an 88-77 victory over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night in Portland.
The Rockets, who have not advanced out of the first round of the playoffs in six tries since 1997, hold a 3-2 advantage in the series going into Thursday night’s game back in Houston.
•Mavericks oust Spurs: Dirk Nowitzki scored 31 points and the Dallas Mavericks won a playoff series for the first time since 2006, eliminating the San Antonio Spurs in five games with a 106-93 victory in San Antonio.
•Celtics outlast Bulls: Paul Pierce made three straight jumpers in the final 77 seconds of overtime and the Boston Celtics held on to beat the visiting Chicago Bulls 106-104 to take a 3-2 lead in their best-of-7 playoff series.
•Magic take 3-2 lead: The Orlando Magic are going back to Philadelphia with a chance to close out the 76ers. Dwight Howard made sure of it.
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 visiting Sixers and gave Orlando a 3-2 series lead.
•Three coaches fined: The NBA fined three coaches for publicly criticizing referees during the playoffs. Houston’s Rick Adelman, Portland’s Nate McMillan and Boston’s Doc Rivers all were penalized $25,000.
Hurricanes stun Devils
The Carolina Hurricanes stole their thrilling first-round series from the New Jersey Devils in the final 80 seconds in Newark, N.J.
Jussi Jokinen and Eric Staal scored in a 48-second span late in the third period and the Hurricanes stunned the Devils 4-3 in Game 7 of their first-round series.
Carolina next plays Boston.
•Caps complete comeback: Thanks to sage old Sergei Fedorov and a monumental comeback, the Washington Capitals are headed to the second round of the NHL playoffs for the first time in more than a decade.
Fedorov beat Henrik Lundqvist with 4:59 left and the Capitals edged the visiting New York Rangers 2-1 in Game 7, becoming the 21st team in NHL history to win a series after trailing 3-1.
Cardinals release James
Arizona granted running back Edgerrin James’ wish to be released and cut cornerback Rod Hood and defensive end Travis LaBoy. The moves clear salary cap space for Arizona, which wants to sign new deals with linebacker Karlos Dansby, safety Adrian Wilson and receiver Anquan Boldin.
•Chargers sign Sproles: San Diego Chargers running back Darren Sproles has signed the $6,621,000, one-year contract he was tendered as the team’s franchise player.
•Jets release Favre: Brett Favre has been released from the reserve-retired list by the New York Jets, making the quarterback free to sign with any team if he decides to come out of retirement.
•Ticket story false: Washington Redskins draft pick Cody Glenn admitted he lied when he told reporters that his suspension at Nebraska last season was for selling football tickets.
Glenn told the AP he made up the story about selling his tickets, which would have been a violation of NCAA rules. The fifth-round pick said he wanted to satisfy reporters and get them to quit asking him about the suspension.
David Poole, a Charlotte Observer and ThatsRacin.com reporter who became one of the country’s leading authorities on NASCAR, died of a heart attack.
Poole, 50, had just returned from last week’s race at Talladega, Ala.
Meanwhile, Bob Oates, a longtime sportswriter for the Los Angeles Times who covered 39 consecutive Super Bowls, died Monday at his home in Los Angeles of age-related causes, said his son, Bob Jr. He was 93.
•Armstrong returns: Lance Armstrong will compete in the Tour of the Gila in Albuquerque, N.M. It will be the seven-time Tour de France champion’s first race since breaking his collarbone in a crash last month.
•Tyus will stay: Forward Alex Tyus has decided to remain with the Florida basketball program, changing his mind about 10 days after announcing plans to transfer.
•Mystery solved: Florida’s top veterinarian, Dr. Thomas J. Holt, blamed the deaths of 21 elite polo horses on an overdose of a common mineral (selenium) that helps muscles recover from fatigue.
The horses from the Venezuelan-owned Lechuza Caracas team began collapsing April 19 at the International Polo Club Palm Beach before a championship match. Some died at the scene, others hours later.
•Cheaters caught: The IOC is still uncovering drug cheats eight months after the Beijing Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee said that six athletes have been nabbed by retesting their blood samples for CERA, an advanced version of the blood-boosting hormone EPO.
The IOC did not identify the athletes.
•No fans allowed: All nine Mexican first-division football games this weekend will be played behind closed doors in hopes of stemming the spread of swine flu.
•New coach for Prince George: The Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League have hired Dean Clark as their new head coach. The 45-year-old Clark, a former CHL coach of the year, agreed to a five-year contract.
•Sounders breeze: Sebastian LeToux, replaced in the starting lineup last week, had two goals and two assists to lead the Seattle Sounders FC to a 4-1 win over Real Salt Lake in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play-in game in Seattle.