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Sixers, Celtics advance to second round

Philadelphia 76ers' Andre Iguodala dunks the ball in the second half of Game 6. His late free throws were the winning points. (Associated Press)
Philadelphia 76ers' Andre Iguodala dunks the ball in the second half of Game 6. His late free throws were the winning points. (Associated Press)

NBA playoffs: Andre Iguodala made the go-ahead free throws with 2.2 seconds left and Philadelphia rallied for a 79-78 victory over top-seeded Chicago in Game 6 on Thursday night, advancing to the second round of the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs for the first time since 2003.

The 76ers will face Boston, which beat Atlanta in six games, in the conference semifinals.

Omer Asik missed two free throws with 7 seconds left that would have given the Bulls a three-point lead. Iguodala grabbed the second miss, sprinted the length of the court, was fouled by Asik and made both free throws.

The Sixers are the fifth No. 8 seed to win a first-round series against a No. 1 seed.

Chicago lost star guard Derrick Rose to a knee injury in the series opener and center Joakim Noah didn’t play in the last three games because of an ankle injury.

• Celtics eliminate Hawks: Kevin Garnett had 28 points, including the jumper to give host Boston the lead with 31 seconds left, and 14 rebounds as the Celtics advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the fifth straight year by defeating the Atlanta Hawks 83-80 to win the series 4-2.

• Nuggets force Game 7: Ty Lawson scored 32 points, fellow spark plug Corey Brewer added 18 and the host Denver Nuggets forced a Game 7 in their first-round playoff series with a dominating 113-96 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Game 7 in the Western Conference series is Saturday in Los Angeles.

This will be the Nuggets’ first all-or-nothing playoff game since losing to Utah in Game 7 of the 1994 conference semifinals.

Kobe Bryant followed his 43-point outburst in Game 5 with 31 points in 31/2 quarters despite a sour stomach.

Earlier Thursday, the Nuggets announced reserve center Chris “Birdman” Andersen has been excused indefinitely from all team-related activities after Douglas County (Colo.) sheriff’s deputies searched his home as part of an investigation by the department’s Internet Crimes Against Children unit.

Sheriff’s spokesman Ron Hanavan said Andersen has not been arrested and no arrest warrant has been issued.

Derby-winning trainer in trouble

Horse racing: Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Doug O’Neill could face a suspension in California after one of his horses was found to have an elevated level of total carbon dioxide, an infraction for which he previously has been punished.

The California Horse Racing Board is considering the case, which involves “milkshaking,” the illegal practice of giving a horse a blend of bicarbonate of soda, sugar and electrolytes. The mixture is designed to reduce fatigue and enhance performance.

Speaking at Pimlico Race Course, where he is overseeing Derby winner I’ll Have Another in preparation for the May 19 Preakness, O’Neill adamantly denied the charge.

Sandusky defense wins mixed decision

College football: A judge gave Jerry Sandusky’s lawyers some of the information they sought through subpoenas, but did not enforce broad requests for all information related to accusers in the child sex-abuse case.

Judge John Cleland said the defense team will get access to documents regarding the former Penn State assistant football coach’s conduct from The Second Mile, a charity he founded for at-risk youths.

Sandusky, 68, faces 52 criminal counts for alleged sexual abuse of 10 boys over 15 years, charges he has denied.

Poulter, Laird share lead; Woods sputters

Golf: Ian Poulter ran off four birdies around the turn and birdied all the par 5s at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., for a 7-under 65 and a share of the lead with Martin Laird in The Players Championship.

There were 27 players who shot in the 60s, and more than half the field broke par.

Tiger Woods was not among them. He opened with a bogey and was never under par in a round of 74. He is in jeopardy of missing consecutive cuts for the first time in his career.

Olympic flame for London Games lit

Miscellany: The flame that will burn during the London Games was lit at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics in Greece, heralding the start of a torch relay that will culminate with the opening ceremony on July 27.

Cavendish wins stage; Phinney crashes: World champion cyclist Mark Cavendish won the fifth stage of the Giro d’Italia, while American Taylor Phinney crashed and Ramunas Navardauskas retained the overall lead.

Cavendish edged Matthew Goss of Australia to finish the 123-mile leg from Modena to Fano in 4 hours, 43 minutes, 15 seconds.

Phinney collided with Lucas Sebastian Haedo about 18 miles from the finish. Both got back on their bikes but struggled to join the front of the pack.

• Promoter says Kahn- Peterson rematch off: Amir Khan’s promoter has canceled the British boxer’s fight against Lamont Peterson because of the American’s recently failed drug test. The rematch for the WBA and IBF junior welterweight bouts was to have been on May 19.

USFL relaunching; Biletnikoff involved: A reincarnation of the USFL, with an entirely different business model, plans to kick off in March. It includes Hall of Fame receiver Fred Biletnikoff among its advisers.

Biletnikoff will consult on football operations for the league, which originally went out of business in 1987 after losing millions of dollars and, despite winning a lawsuit against the NFL, being awarded just $3 in indemnities. That version unwisely chose to challenge the NFL, while this one will be more of a developmental league.

The USFL is looking at a 14-game season from March until June in eight cities not yet chosen. Its players would then be free to join NFL clubs at their training camps.

All player and coach contracts will be owned by the league, with salaries not approaching anything the NFL offers.

U.S. beats Belarus in world hockey: Tampa Bay center Nate Thompson broke the tie at the end of the second period to help the United States beat Belarus 5-3 in a Group A game at the world hockey championships in Helsinki.


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