- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 29, 2008

From combined dispatches

Hawks 97, Celtics 92

ATLANTA — Forget about a Boston sweep. The Hawks are headed back to Beantown all tied up with the mighty Celtics.

Joe Johnson scored 35 points — 20 in the fourth quarter — and Josh Smith added 28 points and seven blocks for Atlanta, which surprised the Celtics again last night to even the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.

A Game 5 that many never expected to happen is now on — tomorrow night in Boston.

The Hawks, who had the worst record (37-45) of any playoff team, overcame two double-digit deficits to beat a team that won an NBA-leading 66 games during the regular season.

The credit for this Atlanta stunner goes largely to Johnson, who took control in the final quarter. After Smith’s jumper put the Hawks ahead to stay 81-79, Johnson scored nine straight points to keep the Celtics on the ropes.

The knockout came when Paul Pierce drove to the hoop and left it short, then tumbled over a cameraman alongside the basket. When the Boston star finally climbed back to his feet, he had a look of disbelief — which pretty much sums up the way the Celtics are feeling about this series.

Smith went to the other end and made two free throws with 26 seconds remaining for 93-87 lead. Johnson — appropriately enough — finished off the Celtics by making two more foul shots with 14 seconds left.

Ray Allen led Boston with 21 points, and Kevin Garnett added 20.

Magic 102, Raptors 92

ORLANDO, Fla. — Dwight Howard had 21 points and 21 rebounds as Orlando advanced to second round of the playoffs for the first time in 12 years, beating Toronto to close out their series in five games.

It was Howard’s third game with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in the series.

Raptors forward Chris Bosh, who posted career playoff highs of 39 points and 15 rebounds at Toronto on Saturday, had 16 points and nine rebounds. Bosh was frustrated down low by Howard, shooting 7-for-19 and picking up a third-quarter technical foul after the Magic star powered past him for a layup.

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