NBA playoffs roundup


HOUSTON — Dwight Howard had 22 points and 14 rebounds, and Jeremy Lin came off the bench to score 21 points and help the Houston Rockets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 108-98 on Wednesday night to avoid elimination.

The Trail Blazers lead the first-round series 3-2 entering Game 6 on Friday in Portland.

A basket by Damian Lillard got the Trail Blazers within two points before James Harden stepped back and swished a 3-pointer to make it 103-98 with about three minutes left. The shot brought the crowd, which was clad almost completely in red shirts emblazoned with the words “Clutch City” on them, to its feet.

That started a 12-0 Houston run to close it out. Harden finished with 17 points and seven assists.

Houston finally slowed down LaMarcus Aldridge, limiting him to eight points, after he averaged 35.3 points in the first four games. Wesley Matthews led the Blazers with 27 points and Lillard added 26.

Lin got extended minutes on Wednesday night with Pat Beverley dealing with an illness. Beverley had five points in 21 minutes.

The Rockets led by as many as 17 points in the first half. Portland cut it to one point three times in the fourth quarter, but never went back on top.

Aldridge had just six points at halftime after sitting out about half of the first quarter after getting his second foul.

SPURS 109, MAVERICKS 103

SAN ANTONIO — Tony Parker had 23 points hours after the birth of his first child and San Antonio never trailed in a victory over Dallas on Wednesday night, taking a 3-2 lead in the first-round series.

Manu Ginobili had 19 points and Tiago Splitter added 17 points and 12 rebounds as San Antonio regained home-court advantage. Tim Duncan added 16 points and 12 rebounds and Kawhi Leonard had 15 points for the Spurs.

Vince Carter scored 28 points on 10-for-16 shooting from the field for Dallas. After averaging 16 points in the series’ first four games, Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki scored 26 points on 10-for-20 shooting.

Carter’s 3-pointer with 3 minutes left pulled Dallas within 98-94 but Parker followed a minute later with his only 3-pointer of the game.

Parker played on little sleep following the early morning birth of his son, Josh, with fiancee Axelle Francine.

Game 6 is Friday night in Dallas.

RAPTORS 115, NETS 113

TORONTO — Kyle Lowry scored a career playoff-high 36 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer after Toronto had blown a 26-point lead, and the Raptors took a 3-2 lead in their first-round series.

DeMar DeRozan had 23 points, Jonas Valanciunas scored 16 and Greivis Vasquez added 15 for the Raptors, who would advance to face Miami in the second round with a victory in Game 6 on Friday in Brooklyn.

Joe Johnson scored 30 points and Mirza Teletovic had 17 for the Nets, who scored 44 points in the fourth quarter but lost their final chance when Andray Blatche fired a pass well over Deron Williams’ head into the backcourt for a turnover.

Toronto led 94-72 on a 3-pointer by Vasquez with 11:23 remaining, but Brooklyn scored 15 of the next 18 points, including a four-point play by Alan Anderson, to make it 97-87 with 7:15 remaining.

Johnson later converted a three-point play, then made a 3 to tie it at 101 with 3:16 left.

Two free throws by Blatche and a 3 by Teletovic tied it at 106 with 1:23 left, but Lowry made a 3, then followed a layup by Blatche with a driving hook shot, putting the Raptors up 111-108 with 27 seconds remaining.

By wire sources