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Dublin: 4°C Friday 5 March 2021

Celtics and Wizards set up Conference semi-final as Clippers stay alive

Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics topped the Bulls 105-83 on Friday, while the Wizards were 115-99 winners.

Boston Celtics star Isaiah Thomas.
Boston Celtics star Isaiah Thomas.

THE BOSTON CELTICS and Washington Wizards reached the Eastern Conference semi-finals, while the Los Angeles Clippers avoided elimination from the NBA playoffs.

Boston and Washington took care of their opponents — the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks — to advance to the next round with 4-2 series wins. They will now face each other.

Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics topped the Bulls 105-83 on Friday, while the Wizards were 115-99 winners. The Utah Jazz had a chance to answer the call but lost 98-93 to the Clippers after a valiant comeback attempt in game six. Utah and Los Angeles are now deadlocked at 3-3 in the Western Conference.

Things looked dark for the Celtics after losing the opening two games of the first-round series. Thomas was also dealing with the tragic death of his youngster sister but the All-Star guard and the Celtics never gave up.

Avery Bradley scored 23 points and Thomas added 12 before heading home to Washington for his sister’s funeral on Saturday.

The Bulls were led by Jimmy Butler and his 23 points in Chicago. Dwyane Wade has enjoyed a storied NBA career, but the wily veteran was not up to the task in game six, scoring just two points on one of nine shooting in 19 minutes of action.

NBA: Playoffs-Washington Wizards at Atlanta Hawks Wizards point guard John Wall. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Wizards point guard John Wall scored 42 points on 16 of 25 shooting with eight assists and four steals. Wall either scored 29-plus points or recorded a double-double in every game this series. He did both (32 points, 14 assists) in Game 1.

Wizards team-mate Bradley Beal had 31 points. Paul Millsap and Dennis Schroder recorded 31 and 26 points respectively for the beaten Hawks. The Wizards and Celtics will go head-to-head in the semi-finals, staring in Boston on Sunday.

Chris Paul scored a team-high 29 points for the Clippers with eight assists and three rebounds to force a game seven. DeAndre Jordan added 13 points and 18 rebounds. The Jazz trailed by eight points entering the fourth quarter, but cut Los Angeles’ lead to just three points late in the game.

Paul saved the day for Clippers fans by draining two free throws with a second left on the clock to ice the game. Game seven is in Los Angeles on Sunday, with the winner advancing to face the Golden State Warriors.

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