Australian Joe Ingles stars for Utah Jazz against LA Clippers to lock up NBA series
Joe Ingles influential as Jazz defeat Clippers
Joe Ingles had a monster game to lead the Utah Jazz to a seven-point victory over the Los Angeles Clippers and lock up their NBA play-off first-round series at 2-2.
The Australian, playing point guard, had 11 assists and eight points including two key three pointers late in the fourth quarter of the 105-98 win in Salt Lake City – in which Dante Exum played his first minutes in the series.
The Clippers lost power forward Blake Griffin with a toe injury during game three and the Jazz’s All-Star Gordon Hayward was forced to leave the court with food poisoning after just nine minutes of game four, but Utah welcomed back centre Rudy Gobert from a leg injury.
Meanwhile, LeBron James has scored 33 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer late in the fourth quarter as Cleveland completed a four-game sweep of Indiana in their NBA play-off opening-round series.
The Cavaliers scored the final six points of the game against the Pacers to win 106-102 and advance to the second round of the eastern conference.
For James, it was his 21st consecutive first-round play-off game victory, breaking Magic Johnson’s record of 20 set in the mid-1980s.
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James’ three-pointer gave Cleveland a 103-102 lead, and Kyle Korver made two free throws with 19.1 seconds left for a 105-102 lead.
Paul George missed a potential game-tying three-pointer with one second left, and James got the rebound and was fouled. He made one of two free throws for the final score.
Kyrie Irving added 28 points, Deron Williams scored 14 and Kevin Love had five points and 16 rebounds for Cleveland.
Lance Stephenson led Indiana with 22 points, Myles Turner had 20 and George finished with 15 on only five-of-21 shooting.
Boston have won their second road game in a row in Chicago to tie their first- round play-off series at two-all, with Isaiah Thomas scoring 33 points for the Celtics.
Boston blew a 20-point lead but Thomas led a third-quarter run that put the Celtics back on top after the Bulls briefly went ahead.
Gerald Green made four four-pointers on his way to 18 points, helping the top- seeded Celtics return the favour in Chicago after dropping the first two games at home.
Al Horford added 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Jimmy Butler carried the Bulls with 33 points and nine assists.
Nene scored 28 points, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams added 18 each as Houston beat Oklahoma City to take a 3-1 lead in their western conference first-round series.
The Rockets won 113-109 to give themselves a chance to close out the series on Tuesday (Wednesday AEST) at home in game five.
Houston’s James Harden was just five of 16 from the floor and missed all seven of his three-point attempts to finish with 16 points.
Russell Westbrook had 35 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists for the Thunder but he was just five of 17 from the field in the second half.
Westbrook had a triple-double in the first half, making him just the second player in NBA history to record three consecutive playoff triple-doubles. Wilt Chamberlain did it in four consecutive games in 1967.