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Hawks defeat the Celtics in NBA action

Press Association logoPress Association 7/04/2017

The Boston Celtics lost further ground in the race for the Eastern Conference crown as they were beaten 123-116 by the Atlanta Hawks.

Twenty-four hours after a home loss to Cleveland saw the Cavaliers take control of the East, Boston dropped a second straight game as Paul Millsap scored 26 and Tim Hardaway Jr 23 for Atlanta.

The Hawks had lost nine of 11 prior to the game but the win moved them up to fifth in the conference.

The Chicago Bulls boosted their play-off hopes with a 102-90 win over the Philadelphia 76ers with Jimmy Butler collecting 19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

At the start of the night, the Bulls, Miami and Indiana all had 38-40 records as the three teams scrapped over the final two play-off places from the East.

With the Indiana Pacers beating the Milwaukee Bucks 104-89, it is now up to Miami to respond against the Toronto Raptors on Friday night (Saturday AEST).

The Portland Trail Blazers rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 105-98, keeping them in the last play-off place in the West.

Portland outscored Minnesota 25-11 in the fourth quarter, and are one game clear of the Denver Nuggets in the scrap for eighth place.

Bradley Beal scored 25 points including a crucial late three-pointer as the Washington Wizards beat the New York Knicks 106-103 to join Toronto for the third-best record in the West.

Elfrid Payton's 22 points and 11 assists helped the Orlando Magic to a 115-107 win over the Brooklyn Nets, the league's worst team.

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