The one team that really had to win — the New York Knicks — staved off elimination despite losing point guard Baron Davis.
The other team, which would have merely preferred to win — the Chicago Bulls — played shorthanded and fell behind in its series 3-1.
The Celtics also went up 3-1 in their series after a blowout win at home against the Atlanta Hawks, and the Lakers return to Los Angeles with a 3-1 lead in their series with the Denver Nuggets.
Here are the recaps from the games that took place Sunday, May 6. Be sure to check out more of our in-depth Associated Press recaps and previews.
Philadelphia 76ers 89, Chicago Bulls 82
PHILADELPHIA — Jrue Holiday busted out of a game-long slump with consecutive 3-pointers that stretched a one-point lead into seven and helped the 76ers beat the Chicago Bulls 89-82 on Sunday and take a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference playoff series. Read the complete story here.
New York Knicks 89, Miami Heat 87
NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony scored 41 points, Amare Stoudemire had 20 points and 10 rebounds in his return from a cut hand, and the New York Knicks snapped an NBA-record 13-game postseason losing streak by beating the Miami Heat 89-87 on Sunday in Game 4 of their first-round series. Read the complete story here.
Boston Celtics 101, Atlanta Hawks 79
BOSTON — By the time Avery Bradley, who is recovering from a dislocated shoulder, sank a free throw to give the Boston Celtics a 37-point lead early in the third quarter, Paul Pierce was done for the night. Ray Allen went to the bench soon after to rest his ailing right ankle.
He grabbed a seat near Kevin Garnett, who is about to turn 36 and played 42 minutes in the previous game — surpassing 50,000 total minutes in the regular season and playoffs in his 17-year NBA career.
"We had a lot of things going on on our bench today with bodies," coach Doc Rivers said Sunday night after the Celtics coasted to a 101-79 victory over the Atlanta Hawks to take a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven playoff series. "The whole game I kept looking down there (to see if) there were enough guys to put in the game." Read the complete story here.
Los Angeles Lakers 92, Denver Nuggets 88
DENVER — Kobe Bryant scored 22 points, Andrew Bynum added 19, and the Los Angeles Lakers' stars got plenty of help from their supporting cast in a 92-88 win over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night for a 3-1 lead in their first-round playoff series. Read the complete story here.