Nelson's keeping promise

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. --- Shortly after going down 3-1 in the second round, Orlando point guard Jameer Nelson said the Magic would go on the road and beat Detroit to extend the series.


"What am I supposed to do, guarantee a loss?" Nelson asked Monday. "We've got to win the game. We have the confidence that we can do it. I believe it."

Meanwhile, Detroit might be without Chauncey Billups when it plays host to Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinal. But Billups has shown plenty of progress on his strained hamstring.

"He's had no setbacks, and he comes in every morning feeling better," Destroit strength and conditioning coach Arnie Kander said.

LAKERS-JAZZ: Los Angeles star Kobe Bryant tweaked his back early in Sunday's 123-115 overtime loss at Utah that tied the Western Conference series 2-2.

"It's pretty sore right now," Bryant said. "It's tight. ... I don't know how I made it through the game, to be honest with you."

The teams play Game 5 in the best-of-seven series Wednesday night at Staples Center.

HORNETS-SPURS: New Orleans looked tense, stressed and sometimes lost on offense in its 100-80 Game 4 loss at San Antonio.

Yet New Orleans coach Byron Scott had other concerns heading into tonight's fifth game of this deadlocked second-round series.

"We've got to understand defense is what got us to this particular point," Scott said.

BULLS: Chicago still is searching for a new head coach. The next interview could be Avery Johnson . Or broadcaster Mark Jackson , or a hot assistant such as Boston's Tom Thibodeau or Detroit's Michael Curry . This season, the Bulls were expected to contend in the East but fell into the lottery.

GETTING DEFENSIVE: Kevin Garnett and Bryant were selected to the NBA All-Defensive Team , along with Marcus Camby , Bruce Bowen and Tim Duncan .



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