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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Spurs, Pacers, Suns Sweep Openers

NEW YORK -- San Antonio, Indiana and Phoenix wasted no time getting to the second round of the U.S. National Basketball Association playoffs. The Chicago Bulls look like they are on the verge of joining them.

The Spurs, Pacers and Suns wrapped up their first-round series Tuesday night by sweeping the best-of-five sets, but each will have to wait for an opponent.

After being sent home early in three of the last four years, San Antonio survived a rough-and-tumble series with Denver, winning 99-95.

"It's a small sprint,'' said Spurs guard Avery Johnson, whose team has home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. "We won the first sprint, but we know we have three more.''

With a 105-89 victory over Atlanta, Indiana swept its first-round opponent for the second year in a row and will meet the winner of the Cleveland-New York series.

Playing at home, Chicago seized its opportunity, taking a 2-1 lead with a 103-80 romp over Charlotte.

Phoenix advanced to the second round for the fourth straight season with a 117-109 victory over Portland.

In Wednesday's games, the Magic play the Celtics at Boston Garden, and the Jazz visit the Rockets at the Summit. Both series are tied 1-1.

The Rockets will be without guard Vernon Maxwell. The team placed him on indefinite leave of absence Tuesday. Maxwell quarrelled with coach Rudy Tomjanovich after game one of the series and missed game two after complaining of a hamstring pull

The guard has already been suspended by the league this season for punching a fan, then he missed eight games because of anemia.

Spurs 99, Nuggets 95. In a game marred by five technicals, the ejection of Denver coach Bernie Bickerstaff and a trash-throwing outburst by fans, San Antonio withstood a fourth-quarter comeback by the Nuggets.

Down by 12 at the end of the third period, Denver tied the game on Dale Ellis' 3-pointer with 37.1 seconds left. But Sean Elliott hit a driving layup with 33 seconds to play, and his free throw with 2.7 seconds to go sealed the win.

David Robinson and Avery Johnson had 24 points apiece for the Spurs, who will play the winner of the Seattle-Los Angeles Lakers series, which the Lakers lead 2-1.

After Bickerstaff was ejected just before the half, fans at McNichols Arena pelted the court with debris.

Suns 117, Trail Blazers 109. Charles Barkley again showed his ability to almost singlehandedly put away a playoff opponent in Game 3.

Last year, he had 56 points to complete the Suns' first-round sweep of Golden State. This time, he got loose for 47 against the Trail Blazers.

"Once you get off to a hot start, you feel it,'' Barkley said. Barkley was 16-for-26 from the field, including four 3-pointers, and grabbed 12 rebounds.

Rod Strickland had 21 points and 12 assists for Portland.

Pacers 105, Hawks 89. After sweeping Orlando in the first round last season, the Pacers did the same thing to Atlanta.

Reggie Miller scored 32 points to finish the series with 95. He scored 12 of his points in a decisive 26-5 second-half run.

Now Indiana awaits the outcome of the Cleveland-New York series. The Knicks have a 2-1 lead going into Thursday's game at Gund Arena.

Bulls 103, Hornets 80. Michael Jordan scored 25 points, and his double-teaming of Alonzo Mourning helped contain the Charlotte center.

Mourning, dominating in Game 2 with 23 points and 20 rebounds, was missing in action most of Game 3. He had two points and one rebound in the first half and finished with 13 and seven.

Jordan scored 13 of his points during a 19-4 run that allowed the Bulls to take command.

(For weekend results, see Scorecard.)