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NBA - US Sports: Suns, Sixers and Mavs seal progress

Phoenix Suns, Philadelphia 76ers and Dallas Mavericks all secured their places in the second round of the playoffs on Thursday.

The Suns can be backed at 7/2 to win the NBA Championship outright, the Sixers are 14/1 and Dallas can be backed at 16/1.

Suns see off Pelicans

Phoenix claimed top seed in the Western Conference after finishing with a league-best 64-18 overall record and they were expected to comfortably brush aside first round opponents New Orleans Pelicans.

However, the Pelicans managed to take the series to six games and were level at 2-2 after four, but Phoenix won Games 5 and 6 to secure progress.

Suns guard Devin Booker returned after a three-game absence with a hamstring issue and managed 13 points, five rebounds and three assists in 32 minutes, while Chris Paul led the game in scoring with 33 points.

Phoenix will face fourth seeds Dallas in the next round after the Mavs wrapped up their own 4-2 series victory over Utah Jazz on Thursday.

Dallas trailed by 12 points at the halfway point but responded to claim a 98-96 victory.  Star man Luka Doncic was able to play for 42 minutes, the most he has managed in the playoffs this season, after missing the first three games of the series due to a thing problem.

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Sixers ease beyond Raptors

In the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia finally managed to complete a 4-2 series win over Toronto Raptors with a 132-97 blowout win on the road.

The Sixers had raced into a 3-0 series lead but Toronto responded with back-to-back wins.

Joel Embiid had 33 points and 10 rebounds for Philly, while James Harden managed 22 points and 15 assists and Tobias Harris made a key contribution with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

The Sixers will take on top seeds Miami in the next round after the Heat downed Atlanta Hawks 4-1 in their first round series.

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