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Jazz take 301 lead on Nuggets

| April 26, 2010 9:00 PM

Carlos Boozer had 31 points and 13 rebounds, Deron Williams added 24 points and 13 assists, and the Utah Jazz held off a late charge to beat the Denver Nuggets 117-106 on Sunday night at Salt Lake City for a 3-1 lead in their Western Conference playoff series.

Carmelo Anthony finished with 39 points and led the Nuggets back within range late in the fourth quarter, but Denver never caught all the way up and lost for the third straight time in the series.

Game 5 is Wednesday in Denver, where the Nuggets will need to win at home to stay alive.

The Jazz controlled the first three quarters, seeming quicker and more determined than Denver while chasing down loose balls and firing up the fans with every hustle play. The frustrated Nuggets battled foul trouble, losing Chauncey Billups while trying to rally in the fourth quarter.

Denver trailed by 18 entering the final period but was able to get within 113-106 on back-to-back 3-pointers from Anthony, but that was as close as it could get.

C.J. Miles scored 21 and Wesley Matthews added 18 points for Utah. The Jazz led by as much as 20 and had the Nuggets off balance until Anthony led a surge early in the fourth.

Cavaliers 121, Bulls 98: LeBron James had 37 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, Antawn Jamison added 24 points and visiting Cleveland beat Chicago to go up 3-1 in their first-round series.

The Cavaliers led by 10 at halftime after scoring 38 in the second quarter and broke it open with a 37-point third, putting them in position to close it out at home on Tuesday.

James was at it again after scoring 40 and 39 the previous two games, connecting whenever he wanted and from wherever he wanted. He was 6 of 9 on 3-pointers, including a jumper from just inside midcourt at the end of the third that made it 99-76.

Chicago got 21 apiece from Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, who also pulled down 20 rebounds, but the Bulls are on the verge of their second straight first-round exit after a thorough beating by the Eastern Conference’s top seed.

Heat 101, Celtics 92: Dwyane Wade set franchise playoff records with 46 points, 30 in the second half, and Miami staved off elimination by beating visiting Boston in Game 4 of an Eastern Conference first-round series.

Quentin Richardson scored 20 points and Michael Beasley added 15 for the Heat, who still trail the best-of-seven 3-1.

Rajon Rondo led the Celtics with 23 points. Game 5 is Tuesday in Boston.

Spurs 92, Mavericks 89: George Hill scored 29 points, helping host San Antonio overcome a miserable night from Tim Duncan and take a 3-1 lead over Dallas in its first-round series.

The Spurs have won three straight since coach Gregg Popovich criticized some of his players and they’ve put the No. 2 seed Mavs on the edge of their third first-round exit in four years.

Game 5 is Tuesday night in Dallas.

Dirk Nowitzki and Caron Butler had 17 apiece for Dallas, the NBA’s best road team during the regular season. But the Mavs couldn’t leave San Antonio with a win, and they have to push the series to a Game 6 to earn another shot.

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