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SUNS, HAWKS ENJOY NBA COMEBACK DAY

SHARE SUNS, HAWKS ENJOY NBA COMEBACK DAY

A 2-1 series lead wasn't enough for Miami. A 15-point lead wasn't enough for Houston.

Sunday was Comeback Day in the NBA playoffs.The Atlanta Hawks, down 2-1 to the Heat despite being the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, avoided the upset bug that stung top-seeded Seattle in the West, beating Miami 102-91 Sunday to advance to the next round against Indiana.

Mookie Blaylock had 13 points, 18 assists, eight rebounds and four steals for the Hawks. With a loss, they would have joined the SuperSonics as the only No. 1 seeds ever to lose in the first round.

"He had a sensational game," teammate Kevin Willis said of Blaylock. "Defense, assists, he did it all. He was incredible."

The comeback by Phoenix in the opener of its conference semifinal was just as unlikely, with the Suns winning 91-87 at Houston.

Blaylock capped a late first-half surge that gave the Hawks a 54-44 lead with a desperation 3-pointer with 2.4 seconds left, hitting from just over the half-court line.

"We just wanted to go out and play our game," Blaylock said. "We went out a couple of times and played their game and the result was a win for them."

Willis had 24 points and 12 rebounds for the Hawks, who begin a best-of-7 series with Indiana on Tuesday. Denver, which pulled the upset of Seattle on Saturday, opens at Utah on the same night.

Miami, making its second playoff appearance in its six-year history, was led by Grant Long with 22 points.

Suns 91, Rockets 87

Kevin Johnson had nine points through three quarters, then scored 11 in the fourth as Phoenix won the opener of a Western Conference semifinal.

Houston's 39-21 first-half lead was cut to 45-37 by halftime. The Suns used a 15-4 run at the start of the third quarter to get back in the game and a 13-0 fourth-quarter surge to take the lead for good.

"I don't think they blew it," said Charles Barkley, who scored 21 points for the Suns. "They were going at a hellacious pace in the first half. We started making some shots and we were very lucky to be down only eight points at halftime."

Hakeem Olajuwon had 36 points and 16 rebounds for Houston.

The game featured a barrage of 3-pointers, with Phoenix (9-for-23) breaking the NBA playoff record of 20 attempts. The Rockets and Suns also combined for most 3-point attempts , breaking the playoff mark of 34 set by Houston and the Los Angeles Lakers in 1991.

The Rockets, who had the homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs following Seattle's loss, now have lost it in this series.

"It was a chess game and they've already got the queen," Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "It's bad if your guys don't play chess."