Celtics sweep Pacers out of playoffs, Warriors and Raptors roll on
By Agence France-Presse
The Boston Celtics swept their way past Indiana, while the Golden State and Toronto registered road victories over Orlando and the Los Angeles Clippers to take commanding leads in their first round playoff series on Sunday.
Gordon Hayward scored a team-high 20 points as the Celtics defeated Indiana 110-106 on Sunday to complete a first-round NBA playoff sweep of the host Pacers.
Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson steered the Warriors to victory over the Clippers 113-105, and Kawhi Leonard put on a show as the Raptors routed Orlando 107-85, putting division winners Golden State and Toronto up 3-1 in their series and on the brink of advancing to the next round.
Here’s the deal for the Magic and the Clippers. There have been 11 teams to successfully rally from a 3-1 series deficit in a best-of-seven series, and of those, only three pulled it off by winning a game seven on the road which is what they would have to do.
The Celtics captured their first best-of-seven series sweep since 2011 and advanced to a second-round matchup with either the Milwaukee Bucks or Detroit Pistons.
“Any time you 4-0 a team, you feel great,” Hayward said. “We’re going to heal up a little bit and be ready for the next round.”
The Bucks, who had the NBA’s best regular-season record, own a 3-0 series edge on Detroit and can complete a sweep of their own on Monday.
Hayward came off the Boston bench to lead seven double-figure scorers, hitting 7-of-9 shots from the floor and all three of his 3-point attempts.
Marcus Morris, another reserve star, scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Celtics, who won despite poor shooting from top stars and 16 turnovers.
Kyrie Irving went 4-of-13 from the floor, 0-of-4 from 3-point range, and finished with 14 points and seven assists while Al Horford was 4-of-19 from the floor, 1-of-6 on 3-pointers, with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
“It was a scrappy series, defensive series, physical series,” Hayward said. “Proud of our team for fighting. We fought through it. It was a great team win.”
The Celtics led 73-72 entering the fourth quarter but the Pacers had taken an 82-80 edge when Boston unleashed a critical 15-3 run to seize command.
Elsewhere, Durant scored 33 points and the Warriors who held on to beat the Clippers.
“We came in with that mindset to put our foot on the throttle and not let go,” Thompson said. “We let go in game two and we won’t do that the rest of the playoffs. I really believe that.”
After winning both games in Los Angeles, the Warriors can wrap things up in game five on Wednesday in Oakland.
Thompson scored 27 of his 32 points in the first half for the Warriors. Stephen Curry had an off night shooting 3-for-14, including 1-of-9 from 3-point range, and finishing with 12 points.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored a season-high 25 points for the Clippers. Danilo Gallinari scored 16 after a scoreless first quarter.
Lou Williams came off the bench to score 12 and Patrick Beverley also had a dozen and a team-high 10 rebounds in the loss.
The Warriors have led by at least eight points after the first quarter in every game of the series.
In Orlando, Leonard scored 34 points and the Raptors beat the Magic.
Pascal Siakam and Norman Powell each scored 16 for the Raptors, who can advance with a home win in game five on Tuesday.
Aaron Gordon scored 25, Evan Fournier scored 19 and Nikola Vucevic added 11 for the Magic, who committed 17 turnovers that became 21 Toronto points.
And now the Magic’s season and the Clippers are squarely on the brink.