|Mike Bibby shoots over Ray Allen [AFP]|
The Atlanta Hawks forced an improbable Game 7 of their NBA playoff series against the heavily favoured Boston Celtics, with Joe Johnson hitting a crucial late 3-pointer to clinch a 103-100 victory.
Marvin Williams led the Hawks with 18 points despite missing most of the fourth quarter with a knee injury. Kevin Garnett paced the Celtics with 22 points.
The deciding game is Sunday in Boston. The home team has won every game in the surprisingly close series between the teams that ranked first and eighth in the Eastern Conference.
Cavaliers 105, Wizards 88
In Washington, LeBron James compiled 27 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists for his third career playoff triple-double, giving Cleveland a 4-2 series victory and a place in the second round.
Wally Szczerbiak added a career playoff-best 26 points and reserve Daniel Gibson had 22, combining for 10 of Cleveland’s 11 3-pointers.
James also picked up a technical foul, one of three called in a fittingly rough finale to a series that featured plenty of trash talk, hard fouls, one ejection and one suspension, Washington’s Darius Songaila was barred from Friday’s game for hitting James in the face in Game 5.
Caron Butler finished with 18 points and nine rebounds for the Cavaliers.
Jazz 113, Rockets 91
In Salt Lake City, Utah beat Houston to win the series 4-2 and knock the Rockets out of the playoffs in the opening round for the second straight year.
Deron Williams scored 13 of his 25 points in the decisive third quarter for the Jazz, who were determined to avoid a Game 7 in Houston, site of their embarrassing 95-69 loss in Game 5.
Instead, the Jazz are headed to Los Angeles and open the second round against the Lakers on Sunday.
Tracy McGrady scored 40 for the Rockets, but could not beat the Jazz by himself and fell to 0-7 in playoff series.