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Bet on the NBAIn Thursday night's NBA action, the Hawks upset the Magic, the Lakers finally got past the pesky Hornets, and the Mavericks finished off the Trail Blazers.

All of the winners last night advance to the second round of the playoffs, set to begin early next week. Let's take a look at last night's games and see where each of these teams go from here.

The Atlanta Hawks had a 3-1 series lead over the Orlando Magic before the Magic got a blowout in Game Five in Orlando. The Hawks obviously made the right adjustments, coming back in Game Six to keep the Magic at bay the entire game. While it was a very tight game through all four quarters, the Hawks were able to maintain just a slight lead and escape with a win. Atlanta will now go on to face the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

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The Los Angeles Lakers should be happy with their two recent blowouts of the New Orleans Hornets, as they began looking like the defending champions once more. The Hornets stole a couple games due to lazy Lakers playing and brilliant performances from Chris Paul. But the Hornets were still overmatched in most other areas of the game, and fell to the Lakers last night 98-80. The Lakers take on the Mavericks next in the Western Conference semifinals.

The Dallas Mavericks pulled out a relatively close 103-96 win over the Portland Trail Blazers to close out their series in six games. Portland stubbornly refused to roll over and the game was within one point late in the fourth quarter. But the Mavs took over and built the lead back up. Portland did not have the time to catch up again and the game was out of reach. The Mavericks will next try to eliminate the defending champion Lakers in order to reach the conference finals.

From entering the season as a possible NBA Finals contender to being eliminated in the first round by a lower seed, the Orlando Magic must be disappointed in how their series turned out. But the Lakers and Mavericks both overcame some sloppy playing early in the playoffs to finish their series' strong, and now these No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in the West will meet in the second round of the playoffs.

 

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