NBA Playoffs Round Up: Cavs sweep Pacers, Rockets beat OKC despite Westbrook’s triple-double
Defending champions the Cleveland Cavaliers claimed a series sweep of the Indiana Pacers, while the Houston Rockets moved within a game of the second round in the NBA playoffs.
Postseason specialist and four-time MVP LeBron James led the Cavaliers to a 106-102 win against the Pacers in Sunday’s game four.
James hit the go-ahead three-pointer with just over a minute remaining as the Cavs advanced to the Eastern Conference semi-finals via a 4-0 sweep.
The Rockets are poised to join the Cavs in the next round after overcoming the Oklahoma City Thunder 113-109.
While James Harden struggled, Nene scored 28 points to give the Rockets a commanding 3-1 lead in the first-round series.
The Boston Celtics and the Utah Jazz tied their series’ at 2-2 apiece following respective wins against the Chicago Bulls (104-95) and the Los Angeles Clippers (105-98).
LEBRON LOVES THE PLAYOFFS
With 33 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocks, James guided the Cavs into the next round.
It was James’ 21st consecutive win in the first round of the playoffs – breaking a tie with Michael Cooper, Magic Johnson and James Worthy for the longest streak in the NBA’s current postseason format.
James is also 52-0 in the playoffs when his team hold a double-digit lead heading into the fourth quarter.
It was a still a nervy outing for James and the Cavs, who surrendered a 13-point advantage and saw the Pacers take a 102-100 lead with less than two minutes remaining.
Awaiting the Cavs are the Milwaukee Bucks or the Toronto Raptors.
Lance Stephenson had 22 points for the Pacers, while Paul George posted 15 of his own.
NENE SHINES AS HARDEN STRUGGLES
Harden’s radar was off but Nene took centre stage in Oklahoma City.
While Harden was five-of-16 from the field for 16 points, Nene led the high-flying Rockets on the road.
Nene made all 12 of his shots as he collected 10 rebounds for the Rockets, who can seal the Western Conference series at home on Tuesday.
Thunder guard Russell Westbrook scored 35 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists, bringing up his triple-double by half-time.
ADAMS AND THE THUNDER MIX THINGS UP
Steven Adams gets creative for the #AssistOfTheNight! pic.twitter.com/y1zoW8IHb1
— NBA (@NBA) April 24, 2017
Big time Bron.#DefendtheLand pic.twitter.com/UDURBA5R5F
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) April 23, 2017
THOMAS GETS CELTICS BACK ON LEVEL TERMS
Down 2-0 in the series, Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics now have all the momentum.
Isaiah put up 33 points as top seeds the Celtics claimed back-to-back wins over the Bulls in Chicago.
Gerald Green registered 18 points, while Al Horford contributed 15 points and 12 rebounds as the Celtics return to Boston on Wednesday looking to take a series lead for the first time.
The Bulls were led by Jimmy Butler’s 33 points and nine assists.
JOHNSON LEADS JAZZ
Joe Johnson inspired the Jazz with 28 points in game four.
Johnson scored 11 successive points during a crucial period in the final quarter as the Jazz tied the first-round matchup.
Chris Paul put up 27 points and 12 assists in the absence of Blake Griffin, who will sit out the remainder of the playoffs due to a toe injury.
The Clippers are back in Los Angeles for game five on Tuesday.
WARRIORS SEEKING SWEEP
Leading 3-0, the Golden State Warriors are back at the Portland Trail Blazers trying to wrap up the Western Conference series on Monday. The Milwaukee Bucks visit the Toronto Raptors, while the Atlanta Hawks host the Washington Wizards.