Two series mercifully ended as playoff heavyweights delivered final knockout punches while one veteran squad refused to say no mas in a potential elimination game.
Spurs 103, Lakers 82
San Antonio moved one step closer toward an NBA Finals appearance - and put Los Angeles out of its misery by sweeping the Lakers. Arguably the Western Conference favorite following Russell Westbrook's injury, the Spurs won each game in the series by at least 11 points and the last two by an average of 26.
Player of the game: Tony Parker paced five double-figure scorers with 23 points including 15 in the first half as the Spurs led 52-34. The All-Star point guard averaged 22.5 points and 6.5 assists in the series.
Turning point: Seeing as the Spurs never trailed, could we say the opening tip? Fine, let's focus on the second quarter when a 17-5 run put San Antonio up 47-29. Gary Neal started the spurt with a 3-pointer and scored eight of his 11 points in the quarter.
Stats and stuff: Any minor hopes of a second half rally ended for the Lakers when Dwight Howard was ejected early in the third quarter for arguing. In possibly his final game for the Lakers, the upcoming free agent scored seven points. Pau Gasol led Los Angeles with 16 points, but committed five of the team's 21 turnovers. ...Upcoming free agent DeJuan Blair and Kawhi Leonard each scored 13 points while Tim Duncan had 11 for the Spurs. ...According to the Associated Press, the Spurs only trailed for less than five minutes combined in the entire series. ... In addition to determining with re-signing Howard is the right move, during the offseason the Lakers must decide how best to solve their luxury tax concerns with trading Gasol or amnestying Kobe Bryant/Ron Artest standing as the leading options.
Next: San Antonio faces the winner of the Warriors-Nuggets series. Entering Sunday night, Golden State held a 2-1 lead.
Heat 88, Bucks 77
No Dwyane Wade, no problem for top-seeded Miami, which closed out the first-round series with a fourth straight double-digit win. The Heat have won eight straight playoff games dating back to last year.
Player of the game: LeBron James finished with 30 points on 13 of 20 shooting, eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals. In the second half, James made 8 of 11 attempts for 18 points.
Turning point: After the Bucks rallied from an 11-point deficit to trail 69-67 with under nine minutes remaining, Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers hit back-to-back 3-pointers. Allen's second 3-pointer of the quarter gave Miami an 83-72 lead.
Stats and stuff: With Wade sitting out because of a sore right knee, Allen scored 16 points, Udonis Haslem had 13 and Chris Bosh 10. ...Monta Ellis paced the Bucks with 21 points while his backcourt partner Brandon Jennings finished 1 of 7 from the floor for three points. After scoring 26 points in the series opener, the upcoming free agent tallied 27 over the final three games. ...Ellis sank 10 of 20 shots, but the Bucks others starters finished a combined 9 of 36.
Next: Miami faces the winner of the Nets-Bulls series. Chicago leads 3-1.
Celtics 97 Knicks 90 OT
Boston might break up the Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett combo when the season is over. Because the Celtics survived blowing a 20-point second-half lead, their season is not over yet.
Player of the game: The recipient of an elbow to the nose from J.R. Smith in the previous game, Jason Terry smashed New York with nine of his 18 points in overtime. The veteran guard made 7 of 10 shots and had four assists with zero turnovers.
Turning point: Tied at 88 with 1:32 remaining in the extra session, Terry drained a 3-pointer before closing the game with a fade away jumper, two free throws and a layup. Playing without the suspended Smith, the Knicks missed six of eight shots in overtime and shot 34.1 percent from the field.
Stats and stuff: Pierce led the Celtics with 29 points while Jeff Green tacked on 26. Garnett had 13 points and 17 rebounds. ...Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 36 points, but getting there required taking 35 shots. He missed 25 of them. ...Celtics coach Doc Rivers tightened the rotation, sticking primarily with six players. Jordan Crawford was not of them. The ex-Wizard scored three points in seven minutes. Over the four games, he is shooting 33 percent (7 of 21) from the field.
Next: Game 5 is in New York on Wednesday (Time TBD)