Sunday night game round-up: The Boston Celtics edge Atlanta Hawks in overtime thriller

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HAWKS (4) 95, CELTICS (5) 104 OT (Series tied 2-2)

The Boston Celtics protected home court and tied their first-round playoff series with the Atlanta Hawks at two games apiece after a thrilling overtime victory at TD Garden.

The home side dug deep and battled to a win despite Paul Millsap posting a playoff career-high 45 points to go along with 13 rebounds and four blocks for the Hawks.

Isaiah Thomas followed up his 42-point showing in game three with 28 points in this encounter including the last five points in overtime. The All-Star came up clutch for the men in green with a big time three-pointer that effectively won the game as the home side outscored the visitors 12-3 in the extra five minutes.

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The overtime loss doesn't come as a surprise to fans of Atlanta with the team going 0-5 in overtime during the regular season and having not won an OT game in more than two years. 

Apart from Thomas, the Celtics had big production from Marcus Smart who added 20 points off the bench and took on the responsibility of guarding Millsap down the stretch after head coach Brad Stevens gave him that assignment.

Jonas Jerebko also added big buckets from behind the arc going 3-of-6 and ended with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds. Evan Turner also recorded 17 points for the home side.

For the Hawks, Millsap aside, it was a horrible shooting night for their big players. Al Horford shot just 2-of-8 for five points and point guard Jeff Teague couldn't get much to fall as he went 4-of-18 from the floor including 3-of-10 from downtown. He did, however, hit a clutch shot from deep late in the fourth quarter.

With the series now finely poised, it will return to Atlanta for game five on Tuesday.

CAVALIERS (1) 100, PISTONS (8) 98 (Cavaliers advance 4-0)

The Cleveland Cavaliers became the first team in the Eastern Conference to advance to the second round after sweeping the Pistons behind an impressive second half showing by Kyrie Irving.  

The All-Star tied his playoff career-high of 31 points - 20 of which came in the second period - and hit a number of big three-point shots late in the game to get the Cavs over the line.  

LeBron James had a great all-around game as he added 22 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in the victory and didn't mind deferring to Irving in crunch time as the point guard took over.

J.R. Smith continued his impressive shooting from three-point range, going 5-of-7 for 15 points and Kevin Love, despite not shooting the ball well, impacted the game in other ways and recorded another double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds. 

The Pistons may have lost out to a superior team but they gave a very good account of themselves in the series and can count themselves unlucky to have not taken a single game in the series as they matched the Cavs for much of it. 

On the night, Marcus Morris (24 points) and Tobias Harris (23 points and 11 rebounds) had big games as they tried to avoid elimination. 

Andre Drummond had 17 points and 11 rebounds as Stan Van Gundy's men fall at the first hurdle. 

Cleveland will face the winners of Atlanta and Boston in round two.

WARRIORS (1) 121, ROCKETS (8) 94 (Warriors lead the series 3-1) 

The Golden State Warriors overcame the Houston Rockets in game four to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series, but the victory came at a price with Stephen Curry suffering a fresh injury.

The MVP slipped awkwardly late in the second quarter and suffered a sprained right knee and didn't return for the second period. 

In his absence, the Warriors put on a third quarter clinic to blow the game wide open after the Rockets put up a fight in an even opening period which saw them head into the break tied at 56.

The Dubs outscored the home side 41-20 in the third to put the game beyond the reach of Houston who couldn't continue their impressive play from the first half.

After breaking numerous records in the regular season, the Warriors added another in the postseason as they scored an NBA playoff record 21 three-pointers.

Klay Thompson had the hot hand, hitting 7-of-11 from deep for his game-high 23 points and Draymond Green was also in fine form from the three-point line hitting 4-of-6 on the way to his 18 points to go along with eight rebounds and six assists.

Andre Iguodala was also huge for the road team as he contributed 22 points off the bench on 9-of-11 shooting as the defending champions rallied without their star player.

For Houston, it was a demoralising defeat after performing so well in the first half on both ends of the floor. Dwight Howard had his best game of the series and ended the game with 19 points and 15 rebounds.

Michael Beasley came up big for the home team with 17 points off the bench in the first period before tailing off after the break. James Harden was three rebounds shy of a triple-double as he finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists, but he didn't have the best of shooting nights, going 4-of-13 from the floor.

The Rockets, in comparison to the Warriors, had a poor night from three-point range, shooting just 18.5 percent which resulted in the heavy defeat. Golden State shot 51.7 percent from the field and 52.5 percent from downtown.

SPURS (2) 116, GRIZZLIES (7) 95 (Spurs advance 4-0)

The San Antonio Spurs have cruised into the second round of the playoffs after a sweep of the shorthanded Memphis Grizzlies in a series in which they won every game by double-digits. 

The Spurs became the first team in the Western Conference to advance and will patiently await the winners of the Thunder and the Mavericks.

Once again the Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs in scoring with an efficient outing of 21 points on just 6-of-10 shooting from the field. LaMarcus Aldridge contributed 15 points and Tony Parker added 16 in what was another routine win for Gregg Popovich's men.

For the depleted Grizzlies, Lance Stephenson had a game-high 26 points off the bench on11-of-19 shooting and Zach Randolph and Matt Barnes added 15 points apiece with veteran Vince Carter having 14.

Dave Joerger's team - who used an NBA record 28 players in the season - fought in every game but just did not have enough to compete with a strong Spurs unit. 

"It wasn't a fair fight," Popovich admitted post-game. 

But the Spurs did what they had to do and will enjoy a few days of rest before doing battle in the second round.

San Antonio Spurs
Southwest Division
Western Conference
Central Division
Eastern Conference
Southeast Division
Houston Rockets
Detroit Pistons
Boston Celtics
Atlantic Division
Cleveland Cavaliers
Pacific Division
Golden State Warriors
Atlanta Hawks
Memphis Grizzlies

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