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NBA Finals Begin Saturday


The National Basketball Association playoffs get under way Saturday with the reigning champion Detroit Pistons hosting Philadelphia and three other games on the schedule.

In Detroit, Pistons' coach Larry Brown hopes to find a way to contain Philadelphia team leader Allen Iverson, who averaged nearly 31 points a game in the regular season. Brown coached Iverson at Philadelphia before leaving for Detroit.

The Houston Rockets - led by star shooter Tracy McGrady and Chinese center Yao Ming - take on Germany's Dirk Nowitski and the Dallas Mavericks. Indiana veteran Reggie Miller looks for his first NBA title in an 18-year career when the Pacers face Boston. Sacramento plays Seattle.

Sunday, the New Jersey Nets face Shaquille O'Neal and the Miami Heat while Washington plays the Chicago Bulls. Denver takes on two-time champion San Antonio and Memphis plays the top-seeded Phoenix Suns.

The first round is a best of seven games format over 16 days. The NBA finals are not scheduled to begin until June 9.