The more the NBA playoffs clear up, the muddier they become.

This much is clear: Both of the No. 3 seeds swept, both of the No. 2 seeds are ahead 2-1 going into tonight's games, both of the No. 5 seeds are in the second round and both of the No. 1 seeds are tied 2-2 with the No. 8s.This much is muddy: Although four teams have advanced to the second round, none of them know who their opponent will be.

The surprisingly close matchups between the No. 1s and No. 8s moved to fifth games after Thursday night. Atlanta, first in the Eastern Conference, defeated Miami 103-89, while Denver, eighth in the West, outlasted Seattle 94-85 in overtime.

Meanwhile, Utah joined Indiana in upsetting a fourth seed as the Jazz beat San Antonio 95-90.

Seattle, 0-4 at Denver this season and winners of 14 consecutive games at home, will play host to the Nuggets on Saturday, while Atlanta plays at home Sunday against the Heat.

No No. 8 seed has ever beaten a No. 1 seed in a playoff series.

Along with Utah and Indiana, Chicago and Phoenix also are assured of second-round berths. New York and Houston will take 2-1 leads into road games tonight at New Jersey and Portland.

Nuggets 94, SuperSonics 85, OT

Bryant Stith and LaPhonso Ellis each scored six points in overtime, accounting for all of Denver's scoring in the extra period.

Ellis had 27 points and 17 rebounds, Stith finished with 15 points and Dikembe Mutombo added 10 points, 16 rebounds and eight blocked shots for the Nuggets, who outscored the SuperSonics 12-3 in overtime.

"I've told our guys since the first game that if we can get to a fifth game, anything can happen," Nuggets coach Dan Issel said. "I'm sure Seattle will be glad to get back to their home court, but we're not conceding anything to them."

The Sonics were led by Detlef Schrempf and Gary Payton with 20 points each, while Shawn Kemp had 16 points and 13 rebounds.

"We have our work cut out for us," Seattle coach George Karl said. "We knew this would be a tough five-game series. This is just the beginning of a long process. The championship is still our goal. In Game 5, if we play serious basketball, we will find the answers."

Hawks 103, Heat 89

Miami, bidding for its first playoff series victory as well as the first win by an eighth seed, couldn't win at home against Atlanta, which got a season-high 29 points from Mookie Blaylock.

Blaylock, 9-for-41 from the field in the first three games of the series, made six of 10 3-pointers and all nine of his free throws for Atlanta, which held the Heat to 37 percent shooting.

"In my mind, it shouldn't have gone this long," Atlanta's Kevin Willis said. "Give Miami credit. They came out and took it to us. But we're a good team. Our backs were to the wall and we came out and got it done."

Sunday's winner advances to the Eastern Conference semifinals against Indiana. If Miami wins, it will pair two teams that never before advanced to the second round of the playoffs.

"I know our team will come out like fire," the Heat's John Salley said. "We play hard at home, but even harder on the road."

Danny Manning finished with 26 points for the Hawks, while reserve guard Bimbo Coles led the Heat with 18 points.

Miami rallied from a 59-46 deficit in the third quarter by holding Atlanta scoreless for 5:15, closing the margin to 59-57. But the Heat got no closer.


Additional Information

Denver jinx

Seattle, which has won 14 straight home games, has lost all four of its games in Denver this season, including two playoff games.