Philadelphia will face Miami in the semi-finals of the NBA playoffs. Phoenix and Dallas also reached the round of four in the West.
Philadelphia, Thursday’s winner of the Raptors (132-97), rendezvous with Miami in the Eastern Conference semifinals of the NBA playoffs, and Phoenix also made it to the West Quarter, with guidance from Chris Paul author of record efficiency in New Orleans (115-109).
Stomach scared of finding themselves back against the wall, Sixers? No, on the contrary, they completed the first round series (4-2) in Canada, on the contrary, chasing the shadow of doubt that hovered over their ability to finish the job, after advancing 3.0 and then leaving Toronto back to 3 -2. However, so far in the NBA, the team that won the first three games did not lose the next four.
Philly, by not allowing Toronto to draw 3-3, thus avoided a match with a cleaver and this potential predicament. Something to reassure Doc Rivers, who seemed annoyed in the final hours when we came to remind him of his responsibilities on the field, as he is the only coach to have made three eliminations after leading 3-1 in the playoffs.
Packing was a collegiate and good quality basketball, in the wake of Joel Embiid. The Sixers strongman, who suffered a torn ligament since Game Three and appeared waned in the next two rounds, was once again dominant on the inside (33 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks).
Sixers-Heat semi-final poster
The Cameroonian pivot added pain to his roster, as he involuntarily pushed over the right eye by his compatriot Pascal Siakam (24 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 interceptions), the Raptors were more aggressive on the ground. Slight cut without major damage.
Another reason for the 76ers’ satisfaction, the strong performance of James Harden (22 points, 15 assists) who heard Embiid’s call, urged him to play more aggressively after the previous game.
Fullback Tyrese Maxey also made a significant contribution with 25 points per bag (8 assists), the overall title proving to be remarkable (57.5%). All of these components will be required in Philadelphia to attempt the Miami Challenge, a finalist in 2020, guided by Jimmy Butler.
Mission also accomplished for Phoenix, Louisiana. The best team of the regular season had the last word in six games (4-2) against the Pelicans and it was the inevitable Chris Paul who uttered it.
The master of time and money all season, tipping matches in favor of the Suns when they were tight, ‘CP3’ once again demonstrated his expertise, scoring 10 of 33 points in the fourth quarter, to finish with an impressive 100% on shots (14/14) and assists 8.
Before him, no player had scored so many shots without missing the play-offs. And it was his shot in the middle of traffic that gave Suns oxygen at the last minute, after Larry Nance Jr. had just rounded “NOLA” by three units.
Back Devin Booker, after three away games due to a strained right hamstring, struggled to find the right tempo (13 points, on 5/12). But his teammates gave the floor, and the overall title hit 60%.
The Pelicans weren’t undeserving, like Brandon Ingram (21 points, 11 rebounds), without being able to build on their lead by ten lengths at the break. Enough to make their coach Willie Green shed a tear of emotion, he then consoled his counterpart Monty Williams, who was his assistant last year.
Dallas defeats Utah
The Suns will face the Dallas Mavericks, a Utah Jazz winner (98-96) who finally passed the first round, for the first time since 2011, the year they won their only title.
And there wasn’t much, in this case, a walk from Mike Conley, whose boot moved too much when braking, to spoil a decisive possession, followed by a failed attempt behind Bojan Bogdanovic’s arc. One too many, since the Utahs abused their practice, they shot 25.7% from distance.
What still frustrates Rudy Gobert. The Frenchman, who was able to play despite being stung by a bee from his hive in the nose, was still underused (10 points, on 3/6, 12 rebounds).
Dallas was even more adept, since leading 12 units in the break (53-41), raining award-winning Pandrilla (8/12) in the third quarter only to reverse the situation (77-72). And to keep score until the end, Luka Doncic (24 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds) followed past the 500-point playoff bar in 16 games. Only Michael Jordan has performed better in 14 games.