Trail Blazers advance; Heat, Pacers force deciders

The Portland Trail Blazers advanced to the Western Conference semi-finals after wining their first round match against the LA Clippers 4-2, while the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers both forced deciders in their matches.

The Trail Blazers’ match against the Clippers proved to be a nervy affair for all involved, with the lead changing hands seemingly with each attack.

With a minute left on the clock the TBs had seemingly wrapped things up but a late pair of free throws by Jamal Crawford leveled matters at 103-all.

However, the Clippers were unable to force the match into Game 7 after Mason Plumlee restored Portland’s two-point lead with two successful free throws with 14 seconds left on the clock.

Damian Lilliard scored 28 points for Portland while Austin Rivers added 21 for the Clippers.

The Trail Blazers take on the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors in the semi-finals, with Game 1 taking place on Sunday.

In Charlotte, Dwyane Wade scored 10 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter as Miami Heat forced their Eastern Conference first round play-off against the Hornets into a decider after triumphing 97-90.

Luol Deng was 9 of 14 from the field and finished with a handy 21 points, while Goran Dragic contributed 14 points and dragged down seven rebounds for the visitors, who will play host to Game 7 on Sunday.

Kemba Walker scored 37 points in a losing cause for the Hornets.

The Indiana Pacers battled back from a slow start in their Eastern Conference play-off match against the Toronto Raptors to win 101-83 and force the series into Game 7.

The Raptors had the better of the early game, outscoring the hosts 22-20 in both the first and second quarters. However, the second half of the match signaled a complete role reversal, thanks largely to the 24 points Paul George and George Hill combined for, as the hosts outscored the Canadin outfit 61-39 in that period.

George, in particular, was the key man throughout, completing a 21-point 11-rebound double-double which also featured six assists.