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Hamilton hits 40; Bucks bid farewell
By TIMES WIRES
Published May 4, 2006
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Richard Hamilton played like he desperately wanted a break.
The guard with the face mask had a playoff-career high 40 points Wednesday night and the Detroit Pistons tied a franchise-playoff scoring record in the first quarter in a 122-93 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 5.
Rasheed Wallace scored 22 and keyed an 18-2 run after halftime for the two-time defending Eastern Conference champions, who won the best-of-seven series in five games.
Detroit will play the winner of the Cleveland-Washington series. The Pistons will take a day off and have at least a couple of practices before resuming their goal of winning a second title in three years.
"We really wanted to take care of business at home," Hamilton said. "It was important for us to get some rest, and watch the other teams beat each other up."
Michael Redd of the Bucks scored just two while Detroit pulled away with a dominating opening quarter in which they scored 39. Redd finished with 23.
Wallace made a 3-pointer - off Hamilton's assist - to put the Pistons ahead for good midway through the first quarter. Those points were the first of 11 straight for Detroit, and sparked a 21-2 run that provided a cushion large enough to let the Pistons coast to the victory.
CAVALIERS 121, WIZARDS 120 (OT): Like another No. 23 before him, LeBron James saved his finest moment for the biggest one. James muscled through traffic and dropped in a layup with 0.9 seconds left in overtime as host Cleveland moved closer to the second round of the playoffs. With the Cavs down by one, James, who finished with 45 points, took an inbounds pass with 3 seconds to go. After sliding past Antawn Jamison, James knifed inside of Michael Ruffin, Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood. He rose in the lane and softly dropped in his layup, sending a sellout crowd of more than 20,000 into a frenzy.
"I had enough room on the baseline," said James, who added seven rebounds and six assists. "If I wore an 18 or 19 size shoe I wouldn't have made it. But I wear a 16 and was able to tightrope that baseline to get a layup."
Arenas, who matched James bucket for bucket and had 44 points, was way off with a desperation heave at the buzzer.
The best-of-seven series, which has been bogged down by whining from both teams and some questionable officiating, returns to Washington for Game 6 on Friday night.
Larry Hughes scored 24, Eric Snow had 18, including six in overtime, and Flip Murray added 12 for the Cavaliers, who blew a seven-point lead late in regulation and nearly gave up their home-court advantage for the second time in the series.
SUNS GUARD SUSPENDED: The NBA suspended Phoenix guard Raja Bell for one game for throwing Kobe Bryant to the floor in the fourth quarter of Tuesday night's playoff game against the Lakers. That means the Suns will be without Bell, the principal defender against Bryant, for Game 6 tonight in Los Angeles. In a news release, the NBA said Bell was suspended for "excessive and unnecessary contact." After Wednesday's workout, Bell repeated that throwing Bryant down was wrong but explained that Bryant's rough play - and Bell's bruised cheek as a result - led to the foul.
MAVERICKS: Forward Dirk Nowitzki was fined $15,000 and assessed a flagrant foul penalty two for a foul against Memphis' Pau Gasol in Monday's final of Dallas' first-round sweep.
OBITUARY: Harold "Bunny" Levitt, 96, who played for the Harlem Globetrotters and was famous for accurate free-throw shooting, died Sunday in Ocala of natural causes, his wife said.