NEW ORLEANS: The Golden State Warriors became the first team to punch their ticket to the second round of the NBA playoffs on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) with a 109-98 victory over New Orleans.
The Warriors, with Stephen Curry again leading the way, completed a four-game sweep of the Pelicans in the best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series.
Golden State will next face either Portland or Memphis, who faced off later Saturday in game three of their series.
Portland was hoping a shift to their home court would signal a change of fortune after they dropped the first two games of the series in Memphis.
Curry scored 39 points, pulled down eight rebounds and handed out nine assists for the Warriors, who took a double-digit lead into the fourth quarter.
Although the desperate Pelicans managed to whittle the gap to as few as seven points, it was a vastly more comfortable affair than the Warriors’ game-three win, in which they overcame a 20-point deficit.
Klay Thompson scored 25 points and Draymond Green scored 20 of his 22 points in the first half.
Green also delivered 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Warriors, who posted their first sweep of a seven-game series since they won the 1975 NBA finals.
Pelicans star Anthony Davis contributed 36 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks and Eric Gordon chipped in 29 points in the defeat.
In Milwaukee, Jerryd Bayless made a buzzer-beating layup to lift Milwaukee to a 92-90 victory over Chicago that kept the Bucks alive in their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.
With the win, the Bucks pulled within 3-1 of the Bulls in the best-of-seven set.
It came down to quick action by Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd and crisp execution by Nets reserves Jared Dudley and Bayless.
The Brooklyn Nets did what they had to do to avoid falling in an 0-3 hole, using a big second half on their home floor to defeat the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks 91-83 and narrow the gap in their series to two-games-to-one.