Trae Young sensational, Sixers fall apart
Philaelphie Sixers – Atlanta Hawks : 106-109
Atlanta leads 3-2
You could almost call it professional misconduct. Seeded in the East, first in the regular season, more experienced and more complete on paper, the Sixers were again surprised by the Hawks on Wednesday night (106-109). Despite 39 points from Joel Embiid. Despite the home advantage. Despite a 26 point lead during the game.
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Even just over 4 minutes from the final siren, Philadelphia’s odds of victory were estimated at 97%. Because there were still 10 steps ahead (102-92) in favor of Doc Rivers’ men. Then the Sixers fell apart again. They mentally cracked. “We were too relaxed“Confided Ben Simmons. Too relaxed perhaps. Too fragile too. The Australian missed 10 free throws and finished with 8 points in 36 minutes. Unable to support Embiid in scoring.
Only two Sixers players scored baskets in the second half: Embiid and Seth Curry, author of 36 points in total. When Trae Young felt the tide changing, he broke loose. The young man, who discovers the playoffs and multiplies high-ranking performances, quite simply broke his personal best by slamming 39 points too. Among his many points, three shots that concluded the monstrous comeback of Atlanta.
The Hawks, also led by veteran Lou Williams, decisive in the money time, converted 16 of their 22 attempts in the fourth quarter. A 19-40 passed in 12 minutes to finally narrowly win.
So that’s Trae Young and his teammates just one small victory away from the Conference finals. Impressive. They will also have the advantage of going to try and seek this qualification in front of their audience. The Sixers are obviously not yet eliminated and they can rely on their first thirty minutes of play to reassure themselves and convince themselves that they remain the strongest on this series. On the other hand, they are still well, far from behaving like favorites for the title.
Paul George and the Clippers as bosses
Utah Jazz – Los Angeles Clippers : 111-119
Los Angeles leads 3-2
It took a great Paul George in the absence of Kawhi Leonard, injured knee and possibly even the victim of a cruciate ligament rupture. It took “Playoffs P”, the alter-ego that he himself had created to describe a more successful player in the playoffs. And this player was present to wear the Clippers like a chef on the Jazz floor on Wednesday night. Author of 37 points, 16 rebounds and 5 assists, PG led Los Angeles to a great victory against Utah (119-111).
Except it actually took more than a top All-Star to win against the seeded team in the West. Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris got it. The two additional players have increased their level of play to register 25 and 22 points respectively.
Behind the scoreboard in the first period, the Californians calmed the crowd (hot and noisy!) By taking the upper hand after returning from the locker room. A third quarter time much better controlled by the men of Tyronn Lue (32-18) to suddenly return to the front. But the public pushed Bojan Bogdanovic (32 pts) and his teammates. Quin Snyder’s men managed to pick up at 4 points. But without ever taking control of the game.
While the situation was tense, it was Reggie Jackson who first played the pyromaniac firefighter by stringing together a three-point and a drive to the circle to put the Clippers away. George then took over. Conversely, the end of the Jazz match was catastrophic. A succession of bad choices. Much like the shooting selection of their designated star, Donovan Mitchell, whose three shots in the final minutes ended with two airballs and a huge brick on the board.
Even without their best player, the Clippers were able to exploit the weaknesses of their opponents, by constantly removing Rudy Gobert – 17 points, 10 rebounds but 0 block – from the basket in defense. Now they are in a very good position to reach the next lap. They will especially cross their fingers that the news is finally reassuring on the side of Kawhi Leonard.
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