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NBA Postseason Wrapup -- 4/18/10

UNDATED (AP) -- The Dallas Mavericks ended the regular NBA season on a roll, and they've carried that momentum into the playoffs.

Dirk Nowitzki opened the playoffs in a high gear, making 12 of 14 shots and scoring 36 points to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 100-94 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

Ex-Wizards Caron Butler scored 22 points and Brendan Haywood added 10 in their playoff debut for Dallas.

The Mavs came into the playoffs on a five-game winning streak, having won eight of their final 10 games in the regular season.

---> In other NBA playoff series openers:

- The top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers began defense of their NBA championship title with a convincing 87-79 victory over the young, eighth-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder. Kobe Bryant scored 21 points on 6 of 19 shooting after missing four of the final five regular season games to rest his swollen right knee and broken right index finger. Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 24 points, under the 30.1 average of the NBA's youngest-ever scoring champion.

- The Orlando Magic topped the Charlotte Bobcats 98-89. Jameer Nelson scored 24 of his 32 points in the first half. Magic superstar Dwight Howard was in foul trouble, and was held to five points and seven rebounds in 28 minutes. But Howard contributed nine blocks.

- Portland took the opener of its series in Phoenix, 105-100. Point guard Andre Miller led the way with 31 points and eight assists. LaMarcus Aldridge added 22 points. Marcus Camby had a big night on the boards with 17 rebounds and helped hold Suns star Amare Stoudemire to 18 points.


NEW YORK (AP) -- The NBA suspended Boston star Kevin Garnett for Tuesday night's Game 2 against Miami after Garnett hit the Heat's Quentin Richardson in the head with an elbow with 40 seconds left in Boston's 85-76 win in Game 1 on Saturday night.

The altercation occurred near Miami's bench while Boston's Paul Pierce lay on the floor with an apparent right shoulder injury. Garnett said he wanted to make room for Pierce as Heat players stood nearby. During the confrontation, Garnett and Richardson exchanged words.

The league also fined Richardson $25,000.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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