CHICAGO (AP) — Avery Bradley scored 23 points, and the hot-shooting Boston Celtics pounded the Chicago Bulls 105-83 to win their first-round series 4-2 on Friday night.
The top-seeded Celtics simply torched Chicago to finish off a tougher-than-anticipated series and advance in the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Boston regrouped after dropping the first two games at home and will meet Washington in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Game 1 is Sunday.
Bradley finished one point shy of a playoff career high he set in Game 5. He nailed three 3-pointers and the Celtics hit 16 of 39 from long range.
Gerald Green scored 16 and Isaiah Thomas had 12 before heading home to Washington state for his sister Chyna's funeral on Saturday. Her death in a car accident the day before the playoff opener dealt a blow to the Celtics. But Boston rallied around its star player and regrouped when it looked like the series might slip from reach.
Jimmy Butler led Chicago with 23 points. But the Bulls never really found their rhythm over the final four games with point guard Rajon Rondo sidelined by a broken right thumb.
CLIPPERS 98, JAZZ 93
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Chris Paul scored 29 points and Los Angeles forced a Game 7 in their first-round series against Utah.
The Clippers will host the only do-or-die game of the first round Sunday, with the winner advancing to face the Golden State Warriors.
Los Angeles began to edge away in the third quarter and appeared to be in control when Austin Rivers capped a 9-2 run with a step-back 3-pointer that pushed the lead to 91-77 with 3:58 remaining.
He hit another with 1:29 left to make it 96-86, but Gordon Hayward scored seven straight to bring the Jazz within three before Joe Johnson missed a 3-pointer in the waning seconds.
WIZARDS 115, HAWKS 99
ATLANTA (AP) — John Wall scored 42 points, Bradley Beal added 31 and Washington withstood a furious comeback to close out Atlanta, winning the opening-round playoff series 4-2.
The Hawks fell behind by 22 early in the third quarter before making a game of it down the stretch. But the home team never led, and Wall stymied the rally with huge plays at both ends of the court.
Wall's block of Dennis Schroder's layup kept the Hawks from closing within a single point, and Wall hit every big shot in the closing minutes. He scored 19 points in the fourth quarter, ensuring that Washington picked up the first road victory by either team in the series.
The Wizards advanced to face top-seeded Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Celtics closed out the Bulls 4-2 with a 105-83 victory in Chicago.
Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 31 points, and Schroder had 26.