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76ers take out Heat to reach 2nd round

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Joel Embiid hoisted diminutive comedian Kevin Hart not unlike the way a parent would toss up a toddler. Embiid then pulled him in for a hug as confetti rained on the court, team flags waved around them and the promise of a rowdy late-night celebration was on deck.

Hart grabbed the mic and yelled, "Let's give it up for Joel Embiid!"

Believe it, Philly.

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Smart sparks Celts to 3-2 lead on Bucks

BOSTON (AP) Al Horford has been the Celtics' quiet leader this postseason, and Marcus Smart might be the kindling Boston was missing in back-to-back losses in Milwaukee.

The duo was reunited for Game 5, and together, they helped put the Celtics on the verge of closing out their first-round series.

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Westbrook gets fine, tech; no suspension

NEW YORK (AP) Russell Westbrook has been fined $10,000 and assessed a postgame technical foul for initiating a confrontation with Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert on Monday.

The league made the announcement Tuesday.

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Warriors again try to eliminate Spurs

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The San Antonio Spurs hope to take a second step on what would be an unprecedented journey in the NBA playoffs when they once again face elimination in Game 5 against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night.

No team has ever won a series in which it trailed 3-0, but the Spurs were able to stay alive at home with a 103-90 win in Game 4 on Sunday.

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Down 3-1, Thunder look to stave off Jazz

Oklahoma City was built this offseason around three All-Stars with the hopes of contending for the Western Conference crown.

The Utah Jazz started the year 18-26 without center Rudy Gobert. But Gobert returned and the Jazz rolled off 11 straight wins into Valentine's Day with the help of a surprise rookie of the year contender.

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Cavs confident with Pacers series evened

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Indiana Pacers are in no better position to pull off a historic upset in this first-round playoff series with the Cleveland Cavaliers than when they awoke Sunday morning.

The Pacers had a chance to put the Cavs, at the time reeling with playoff inexperience and the crushing weight of expectations with LeBron James, squarely behind the eight ball in this series by winning Game 4.

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Pressure on Raptors after Wiz tie series

TORONTO -- The Toronto Raptors appeared to have control of their first-round series against Washington Wizards when they won the first two games.

They also thought they had Game 4 within their grasp, and yet the series is tied 2-2.

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Rockets aim to close out Timberwolves

HOUSTON -- There was an undeniable inevitability in the Houston Rockets finally unleashing their full potential offensively, with the only legitimate ambiguity being exactly when it would happen.

That moment arrived without warning in the third quarter of Game 4, with Houston producing a 50-point outburst that staggered the Minnesota Timberwolves and gave the Rockets control of their Western Conference first-round playoff series. Houston used that eruption to propel it toward a 119-100 victory on Monday night at the Target Center, giving the Rockets a 3-1 lead in the series. It also gave Houston the opportunity to conclude the series at Toyota Center in Game 5 on Wednesday night.

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Nets name Prigioni asst., Splitter scout

NEW YORK (AP) The Brooklyn Nets have hired former NBA player and Argentine guard Pablo Prigioni as an assistant coach.

The Nets also announced Tuesday that former Spurs center Tiago Splitter was hired as a pro scout.

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Pelicans void improperly bought tickets

NEW ORLEANS (AP) The New Orleans Pelicans say they've voided around 2,500 playoff tickets that were purchased improperly during a pre-sale event for the second round of the NBA playoffs.

The club says the event was designed exclusively for season-tickets holders, but that codes provided for online purchases were shared with people who were not eligible for the promotion.

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