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Hawks shove Magic toward early exit

ATLANTA — For most of Sunday night, the Hawks struggled to make free throws and labored to put away the Magic. But with the game on the line at the line, Joe Johnson came through.

Jamal Crawford scored 25 for the Hawks and Johnson made four big free throws in the final 20 seconds to preserve an 88-85 victory over the Magic.

Atlanta has a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference series and can end it Tuesday in Orlando.

The Hawks made only 12 of 20 free throws, yet all was forgiven when Johnson knocked down the ones that mattered.

"That's what they get paid for. We rely on Joe and Jamal to get it done in tough situations," Hawks forward Josh Smith said. "They answered the bell again."

Running out of time and forced to go for a tying 3-pointer, the Magic set up a play for Hedo Turkoglu. But former Gator Al Horford knocked the ball away. Turkoglu got it back with only enough time to force one up. It missed badly.

Dwight Howard led the Magic with 29 points and 17 rebounds. His night was marred by eight turnovers, including a couple of walking calls when he tried to back in on the collapsing defense.

Gilbert Arenas scored 20, but no other Orlando player had more than 11. The Magic is shooting just 40 percent from the field in this series. Orlando shot only 39 percent (31-for-79) in this one, and rallied to reach that number.

"They're playing good defense. I'm not taking anything away from them. But we're getting good enough looks," Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said. "I don't know what to tell you about the shooting. I really don't."

Howard challenged his team to bounce back.

"I just told them," he said, "if they don't believe we can still win, stay in Atlanta."

Hawks 88, Magic 85

ORLANDO (85): Turkoglu 2-12 2-4 6, Bass 4-6 3-4 11, Howard 9-14 11-16 29, Nelson 3-12 0-0 6, Q.Richardson 3-5 0-0 7, Anderson 1-6 2-2 4, Redick 0-6 2-2 2, Arenas 9-18 1-1 20. Totals 31-79 21-29 85.

ATLANTA (88): Smith 4-10 1-4 9, Horford 6-15 2-2 14, Collins 1-2 0-0 2, Hinrich 6-11 0-0 14, Johnson 6-15 7-8 20, Williams 1-2 0-0 2, Crawford 10-18 2-6 25, Powell 1-2 0-0 2, Armstrong 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 35-75 12-20 88.

Orlando 17 20 24 24— 85

Atlanta 25 21 20 22— 88

3-Point GoalsOrlando 2-23 (Arenas 1-3, Q.Richardson 1-3, Redick 0-3, Anderson 0-4, Nelson 0-4, Turkoglu 0-6), Atlanta 6-15 (Crawford 3-6, Hinrich 2-3, Johnson 1-4, Smith 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsOrlando 53 (Howard 17), Atlanta 51 (Horford 12). AssistsOrlando 11 (Nelson 6), Atlanta 21 (Crawford 6). Total FoulsOrlando 21, Atlanta 26. TechnicalsSmith, Atlanta three second. A19,490.

Celtics sweep Knicks

NEW YORK — The Celtics never let this develop into the intriguing series that was expected. Instead, it was easy.

Kevin Garnett had 26 points and 10 rebounds, Rajon Rondo added 21 points and 12 assists, and the Celtics ousted the Knicks 101-89 to reach the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Celtics swept a series for the first time since a 3-0 victory over Indiana in 1992.

"It's what we expected coming in. We knew it wasn't going to be easy, obviously Games 1 and 2, but we found a way to put it away," Rondo said.

The Celtics had a 23-point lead cut to four in the fourth quarter but pulled away as Garnett scored 20 after halftime.

Carmelo Anthony had 32 points and nine rebounds, and Amare Stoudemire, who decided to play after his back felt better, finished with 19 points and 12 boards but shot only 5-for-20 from the field.

Celtics 101, Knicks 89

BOSTON (101): Pierce 5-18 2-2 13, Garnett 10-16 6-6 26, J.O'Neal 1-2 0-0 2, Rondo 8-12 5-11 21, Allen 5-13 2-2 14, Davis 6-8 2-2 14, Krstic 2-2 0-0 4, Green 2-7 1-1 5, West 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 40-81 18-24 101.

NEW YORK (89): Anthony 10-24 10-11 32, Stoudemire 5-20 9-12 19, Turiaf 1-2 1-3 3, Douglas 3-11 0-0 6, Fields 0-3 1-2 1, Jeffries 0-1 0-0 0, Walker 2-5 0-0 5, Sha.Williams 2-9 0-0 6, Carter 5-7 0-0 11, Mason 2-6 0-0 6. Totals 30-88 21-28 89.

Boston 29 26 27 19— 101

New York 23 15 34 17— 89

3-Point GoalsBoston 3-12 (Allen 2-6, Pierce 1-4, West 0-1, Green 0-1), New York 8-27 (Mason 2-5, Sha.Williams 2-5, Anthony 2-7, Carter 1-2, Walker 1-4, Fields 0-1, Douglas 0-3). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsBoston 61 (Garnett 10), New York 51 (Stoudemire 12). AssistsBoston 24 (Rondo 12), New York 19 (Carter 4). Total FoulsBoston 23, New York 25. TechnicalsWest, Stoudemire. Flagrant Fouls—Anthony. A19,763.

76ers not ousted yet

PHILADELPHIA — The sweep for the Heat was 95 seconds away. Miami held a six-point lead and had the Big Three on the court. All the 76ers had was their unwavering belief.

When they told Doug Collins in the huddle, "We're going back to Miami," his reply was simple.

"I'll be there with you," said the 76ers coach.

Lou Williams hit the go-ahead 3-pointer over a lunging Dwyane Wade with 8.1 seconds left and lifted Philadelphia to an 86-82 win to avoid a sweep.

His 3-pointer came 28 seconds after Jrue Holiday's 3-point shot that sliced the deficit to one. It was all part of a 10-0 closing run that sends the series to Game 5 Wednesday in Miami.

"D-Wade gave me a little room, and I was able to knock it down," said Williams, who scored 17. "We've always been a team that fought, all the way until the end."

76ers 86, Heat 82

MIAMI (82): James 11-20 9-11 31, Bosh 5-12 2-2 12, Ilgauskas 0-3 1-2 1, Bibby 0-6 0-0 0, Wade 9-21 3-4 22, Anthony 0-2 2-2 2, Chalmers 3-9 0-0 9, Jones 2-5 0-0 5, Howard 0-0 0-0 0, House 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-78 17-21 82.

PHILADELPHIA (86): Iguodala 5-13 4-4 16, Brand 6-11 3-4 15, Hawes 1-8 2-2 4, Holiday 4-11 0-0 10, Meeks 2-3 0-0 5, Young 1-4 0-0 2, Battie 0-2 0-0 0, Williams 6-14 3-4 17, Turner 7-13 2-2 17. Totals 32-79 14-16 86.

Miami 16 31 19 16— 82

Philadelphia 28 18 18 22— 86

3-Point GoalsMiami 5-23 (Chalmers 3-9, Jones 1-3, Wade 1-3, James 0-4, Bibby 0-4), Phi. 8-18 (Iguodala 2-4, Holiday 2-5, Williams 2-6, Meeks 1-1, Turner 1-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsMiami 43 (Wade 8), Phi. 58 (Brand 11). AssistsMiami 14 (James 6), Phi. 18 (Holiday 5). Total FoulsMiami 17, Phi. 18. TechnicalsJones, Young. A19,048.

Late Saturday: Serge Ibaka tied his career high with 22 points and the Thunder beat the host Nuggets 97-94 to give Oklahoma City a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. J.R. Smith nearly brought Denver back from 10 points down in the final 50 seconds when he hit two 3-pointers, but he air-balled a 29-footer in the final seconds that could have forced overtime.

Bulls-Pacers: Bulls star Derrick Rose had a walking boot on his left foot as a precaution a day after spraining his ankle in the first quarter of an 89-84 loss to Indiana. He played on and scored 15 but reported soreness Sunday. Rose, listed as day to day, did not speak to reporters, but his teammates said they expect him to play Tuesday.

Hawks shove Magic toward early exit 04/24/11 [Last modified: Monday, April 25, 2011 1:31am]

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