Kevin Garnett had 28 points and 14 rebounds, hitting a jumper to give Boston the lead with 31 seconds left in Game 6 on Thursday night, as the host Celtics beat the Atlanta Hawks, 83-80.

Boston advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the fifth straight year. The Celtics will play the 76ers on Saturday.

Paul Pierce had 18 points, seven assists and five rebounds for Boston despite playing with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee.

Clippers seek to close

The stubborn Memphis Grizzlies aren't the only obstacles in the Los Angeles Clippers' path to closing out a rare playoff series victory. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are banged up heading into Friday's Game 6, and Caron Butler continues to play with a broken left hand.

The Clippers said Griffin and Paul would be game-time decisions.

The Clippers could have earned some much-needed rest with a win in Game 5 Wednesday night. Instead, they lost 92-80, forcing the series back home to Staples Center. The Clippers lead the best-of-7 series 3-2. They last won a playoff series in 2006, and won only one before that - in 1976, when the franchise was called the Buffalo Braves.

Columbus wants a team

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman has sent an overture letter to NBA commissioner David Stern that Ohio's capital city would love to have an expansion or relocated team play in its downtown arena with the NHL's Blue Jackets.

Coleman cited the publicly-owned Nationwide Arena and the city's largest-in-the-state metropolitan population of nearly 2 million. He also wrote Columbus had a strong economic climate featuring 15 Fortune 1000 companies.

Andersen targeted

Denver Nuggets reserve center Chris "Birdman" Andersen has been excused indefinitely from all team-related activities after Douglas County 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 confirmed that the search took place Thursday. Andersen has not been arrested and Hanavan said no arrest warrant has been issued. Hanavan declined to release details, including the nature of any pending charges, citing an ongoing investigation.

- Associated Press