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Orlando, LA advance in NBA playoffs

BOSTON (AP) — Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu helped dethrone the defending champion Boston Celtics on Sunday night and gave Orlando a chance to bring a crown to the Magic Kingdom.

Howard had 12 points, 16 rebounds and five blocked shots, and Turkoglu had 25 points with 12 assists in Game 7 on Sunday night, leading Orlando into the Eastern Conference finals, 101-82.

Orlando trailed for just 36 seconds and built a lead it couldn’t squander to earn the right to play LeBron James and the Cavaliers for a spot in the NBA finals. Game 1 is Wednesday in Cleveland.

Lakers 89, Rockets 70

LOS ANGELES (AP) — All is well again in La-La Land. The real Los Angeles Lakers showed up, and in a Game 7, no less.

With Pau Gasol dominating on both ends of the court, the Lakers emphatically silenced the doubters and the Houston Rockets, winning the decisive final game of the Western Conference semifinals 89-70 on Sunday.

Playing with emotion, Gasol scored 21 points and grabbed 18 rebounds. The Lakers looked like the conference’s top-seeded team, not the maddeningly inconsistent one that was pushed to the limit by the undermanned, smaller Rockets.

Trying to reach the NBA finals for the second straight year, the Lakers host the opener of the conference finals against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night.