Knicks 88, Celtics 80
The New York Knicks held off a furious second-half rally by the Boston Celtics to eventually close out the series on their home court, four games to two. The Celtics knocked a 26-point fourth-quarter deficit down to just four with four minutes to play, but could never get over the hump and take the lead.
Avery Bradley and Jeff Green led the Celtics comeback, turning defense into offense as the Knicks went cold on the perimeter. After the Knicks saw their lead dwindle to four, Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith combined to lead the Knicks on a 10-2 run to put away the win.
The Knicks jumped out to a 24-10 lead in the first quarter and appeared on their way to rolling into the second round, but the game turned into a grind as the Celtics tried to find their footing. The second half played much more to the Knicks' preferred pace until they went cold for a five-minute stretch in the fourth quarter.
Anthony made just one of six three-pointers but led the Knicks with 21 points. Iman Shumpert showed up strong with 17 points and six rebounds. Jeff Green led the Celtics with 21 points. Boston veterans Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce could have an interesting offseason depending on the direction the team decides to take. Both finished their season at home with KG scoring 15 points and grabbing ten rebounds, while Pierce added 14 points.
The Knicks advance to the Confernce Semifinals where they will face the Indiana Pacers starting with Game 1 on Sunday afternoon.
Grizzlies 118, Clippers 105
Zach Randolph and Mike Conley paced the Grizzlies with 23 points each in the series-clinching win on their home floor. Along with plenty of back and forth action, the chippy series boiled over down the stretch as there were seven technicals whistled in the game.
Chris Paul scored 28 points with eight assists for the Clippers but also picked up a pair of technical fouls to get ejected after the game was decided late in the fourth quarter. Paul ran into Marc Gasol and added a little punch to the stomach to earn the ejection. Soon after Paul was tossed, Randolph picked up a pair of technical fouls to earn a trip to the locker room which he made with a skip in his step.
The Grizzlies move on to the Conference Semifinals where they will face the Oklahoma City Thunder starting with Game 1 on Sunday.
Thunder 103, Rockets 94
The Oklahoma City Thunder went on the road and closed out the Houston Rockets in Game 6 on Friday to win their first-round series, 4-2.
Kevin Durant has been trying to carry the Thunder to the second round since OKC lost Russell Westbrook to a knee injury. He did his part with 27 points, six assists and eight rebounds. But Durant had some help this time around with Kevin Martin coming off the bench to pitch in 25 points. Derek Fisher also reprised his role as a big-time playoff performer by knocking down a trio of three-pointers and giving the Thunder a big lift.
The Thunder took control of a tight game early in the fourth quarter with a 14-4 run. Martin and Fisher both made three of five three-pointers for the game including a pair from Fisher in the fourth quarter to get the Thunder rolling toward a double-digit lead.
Houston's leading man, James Harden, finished his season against his former team with 26 points and seven assists.
The Thunder open up their Conference Semifinals matchup on Sunday, hosting Game 1 against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Pacers 81, Hawks 73
The Indiana Pacers snapped a 13-game losing streak in Atlanta by beating the Hawks and clinching their first-round series in the process.
The Pacers earned the 4-2 series win by being the first road team to win in the series. In the previous two games in Atlanta, the Pacers fell behind big early as their second unit struggled in the second quarter. In Game 6, the Pacers and Hawks both struggled to do much in the second quarter, but a 6-0 close to the half gave the Pacers a 37-29 lead.
The Pacers took a 17-point lead to the fourth quarter but the Hawks didn't go away quietly, instead rallying to knock the lead down to four points. But the Pacers league-leading defense stepped up and held the Hawks scoreless over the final two-plus minutes of the fourth quarter while putting away the win at the free throw line.
The Pacers advance to take on the New York Knicks in the Conference Semis starting with Game 1 on Sunday afternoon.