Pacers on the brink while the Spurs battle back to level series.
The Miami Heat have secured their place in the Eastern Conference semi-finals after completing a series sweep of the Charlotte Bobcats.
LeBron James scored a game-high 31 points to help the Heat seal a 4-0 series win and having completed the job so comfortably, the two-time defending champions will now be given an extended rest ahead of the next round.
With the Brooklyn Nets tied with the Toronto Raptors 2-2, if that series goes the distance then that will take us up to Sunday, potentially giving Miami a week to recover and go again.
Chris Bosh added 17 points while Dwyane Wade had 15 as the Heat extended their winning streak over Charlotte to 20 games, although James was keen to point out that it was a good test to start the post-season.
However, it has been anything but simple for the top seeded Indiana Pacers, who dropped Game 5 at home to the Atlanta Hawks to fall 3-2 behind in their opening round series.
The Hawks used a 41-point second quarter to push the Pacers to the brink of elimination, with Mike Scott scoring all 17 of his points during the run to shock the hosts.
Atlanta used the decisive 30-6 run which included five 3s from Scott to take a commanding lead, and Indiana ultimately never recovered from it to lose home-court advantage again.
The task is now clear for the Hawks, win Game 6 at home and they are through to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2011, and while it will undoubtedly be a tense encounter, they have shown enough in the opening five games to suggest that they have what is required.
Over in the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs bounced back from the disappointment of losing out to Vince Carter’s buzzer-beater in Game 3 to level the series at 2-2 with a win on the road.
Despite blowing a 20-point lead in the third quarter, Boris Diaw hit a go-ahead 3-pointer for the last of his 17 points to secure the win, while Manu Ginobili had 23 points as the Spurs also made key stops on the defensive end.
In addition, a key factor in this game was Monta Ellis’ poor shooting night after the Mavs star went 6-of-20, while the Spurs bench, which had been quiet up to Monday night, outscored their rivals by 50-30.
Both Tim Duncan and Thiago Splitter had double-doubles for the Spurs, and having wrestled back home-court advantage, Game 5 is in San Antonio on Wednesday night.
Miami Heat 109-98 Charlotte Bobcats
Atlanta Hawks 107-97 Indiana Pacers
San Antonio Spurs 93-89 Dallas Mavericks