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Monta Ellis, J.J. Barea help Mavs push series vs. Rockets to 3-1 (April 27, 2015)
Associated Press [ Source: ESPN ]

Dallas Mavericks' Monta Ellis loses control of the ball after colliding with Houston Rockets' Corey Brewer, right, as James Harden and Pablo Prigioni (9) of Argentina watch in the first half of Game 4 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Sunday April 26, 2015, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

DALLAS -- Monta Ellis scored 31 points, J.J. Barea had 17 points and 13 assists in his first playoff start since boosting Dallas' run to the 2011 championship and the Mavericks avoided elimination with a 121-109 victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday night. Dallas cut Houston's lead to 3-1 in the first-round series.

Game 5 is Tuesday night in Houston.

The Rockets, trying to wrap up their first postseason series victory since 2009, missed 17 consecutive shots covering the second and third quarters.

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Bradley Beal steers Wizards into 2nd round with sweep of Raptors (April 27, 2015)
Associated Press [ Source: ESPN ]

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) is fouled by Toronto Raptors guard Louis Williams (23) in the second half of Game 4 in the first round of the NBA basketball playoffs, Sunday, April 26, 2015, in Washington. The Wizards won 125-94 to complete the first sweep of a seven-game series in club history, and advancing them to the second-round. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON -- When Paul Pierce headed to the sideline with the Wizards leading the Raptors by 23 points in the third quarter, making Game 4 -- and the series -- all but over, he saw a standing ovation and waved, requesting more noise.

With Pierce helping show his younger teammates how to win, Washington emphatically completed the first sweep of a seven-game series in club history. And just as Pierce had hoped, the Wizards won't need to pull out their passports again.

The Wizards finished off the Raptors in four games by winning 125-94 Sunday night to quickly close the first-round Eastern Conference series, getting 21 points and 11 rebounds from Marcin Gortat, and 14 points and 10 assists from John Wall.

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Game 4 could be LaMarcus Aldridge's last as a Blazer (April 27, 2015)
Baxter Holmes [ Source: ESPN ]

LaMarcus Aldridge. Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images

PORTLAND, Ore. – LaMarcus Aldridge has played 680 games in the NBA since he was drafted in 2006, all of them with the same team.

But Monday night could mark his final outing in a Portland Trail Blazers uniform if his team loses to the Memphis Grizzlies, who lead the first-round series 3-0 entering Game 4 at the Moda Center.

The All-Star power forward will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and is expected to be a top target for several teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs, according to's Marc Stein.

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Bulls working to fix turnover problem before Game 5 (April 27, 2015)
Nick Friedell [ Source: ESPN ]


CHICAGO -- After watching his team turn the ball over a season-high 28 times in a Game 4 defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks, even Mike Dunleavy, the easy-going veteran Chicago Bulls guard, sounded angry about what he had just witnessed.

"You got to give them credit," Dunleavy said of the Bucks' defense, before revealing where his frustration really stemmed from. "But for whatever reason ... we're not understanding the spacing and where we need to be and where we're coming from. After four games, it's like it's getting worse. It should be getting better. We'll take a look at the film again, but we either got to get it by now, or I don't know when it's going to happen because we have a bunch of guys who just want to hold the ball.

"We got plenty of guys that can make plays, make shots, so to sit there and hold the ball and let them strip you, just doesn't make sense."

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A swan song to build on for Celtics (April 27, 2015)
Jackie MacMullan [ Source: ESPN ]

A pair of second-half runs gave the Celtics hope in the second half of Game 4. But in the end, even after being swept, their fans recognized their efforts with a standing ovation.  Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images

I've been chronicling Boston sports for the better part of 34 years and assumed I'd seen just about everything, but something unfolded Sunday afternoon that I never imagined possible: a standing ovation for a team that got swept in the first round of the playoffs.

You know what? The Celtics deserved it.

Long after the buzzer sounded on a Game 4 rumble that enabled the Cleveland Cavaliers to advance (and simultaneously jam the breaks on this surprising Boston season), the appreciative capacity Garden crowd continued their resolute chant of "Let's go Celtics!"

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Ivan Johnson only had 6 points and 6 rebounds in Game 6. Sports5/Paul Ryan Tan

Talk ‘N Text import Ivan Johnson was quiet inside the Tropang Texters’ locker room after he failed to help his team clinch the PBA Commissioner’s Cup title series in Game Six on Sunday.

Numbers don’t lie and Johnson was a virtual non-factor as he had only six points and six rebounds.

“Tahimik siya kanina,” Talk ‘N Text forward Ranidel de Ocampo told in an exclusive interview.

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Chris Paul scores 34 as Clippers sink Spurs, even up series (April 27, 2015)
Associated Press [ Source: ESPN ]

Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Paul (3) celebrates after scoring against the San Antonio Spurs during the second half of Game 4 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Sunday, April 26, 2015, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

SAN ANTONIO -- Chris Paul had 34 points and seven assists, Blake Griffin added 20 points and 19 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the San Antonio Spurs 114-105 on Sunday to even their first-round series at two games apiece.

J.J. Redick scored 17 points for the Clippers and Austin Rivers provided an unexpected boost off the bench with a postseason career-high 16 points.

The Clippers, who bounced back from a 100-73 loss in Game 3, host Game 5 on Tuesday. This is the only series that is tied after four games.

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Wayne Chism of Rain or Shine. Sports5/Paul Ryan Tan

For Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao, less is more.

Less minutes, more players.

“We go into our short rotations,” Guiao said after winning Game 6, 101-93, against Talk N’ Text in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals.

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Cavs lose Love to injury but sweep Celts with 101-93 victory (April 27, 2015)
Associated Press [ Source: ESPN ]

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, left, looks for an opening around Boston Celtics forward Gerald Wallace, right, in the second quarter of a first-round NBA playoff basketball game in Boston, Sunday, April 26, 2015. The Cavaliers won 101-93 to complete a first-round sweep of the Celtics. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

BOSTON -- LeBron James dribbled out the final 20 seconds while players embraced as the Cavaliers completed a sweep of the Celtics.

It may have been the calmest, most congenial 20 seconds of a physical game that left two players with potentially serious injuries and Cleveland wondering if Kevin Love would be ready for the next round.

One thing is certain: Love was angry after Cleveland beat Boston 101-93, a game he left midway through the first quarter Sunday with a dislocated left shoulder.

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Ivan Johnson fouls Paul Lee. Sports5/Paul Ryan Tan

Talk 'N Text sorely missed the steady scoring of their import Ivan Johnson in Game Six of their finals series against Rain or Shine on Sunday night, failing to go for the kill after their 101-93 loss.

The burly reinforcement was limited to a measly output six points and six rebounds in 32 minutes of play, a far cry from his usual strong offensive performance for the Tropang Texters.

Johnson has not failed to score at least 15 points since assuming import duties for the team from the eliminations until the Game Six off-night, but teammate Ranidel de Ocampo simply shrugged off his subpar outing.

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