Last night there were four games played. All of them were Game 5's. Three of them were close-out opportunities and one was the pivotal 2-2 series breaker. Impressive performances from some and disappointing performances from others.
Washington Wizards vs. Philadelphia 76ers
The beginning of last night's action was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was another close-out opportunity for the Philadelphia 76ers after losing Game 4 in Washington D.C. on Monday night. No Joel Embiid for the Sixers as he has a small meniscus tear in his right knee. The question, now became, could Washington take another game from Philadelphia with Embiid out?
In the 1st half, the Washington Wizards had a chance to do so. Very competitive in the 1st half as the Sixers took a two-point lead into the locker room at 65-63. The 2nd half, however, the 76ers put the Wizards away. Philadelphia went on in the 2nd half and outscored Washington by 15 points.
With a 129-112 victory in Game 5, the Philadelphia 76ers finished off the Washington Wizards without MVP candidate, Joel Embiid. Seth Curry stepped up big for the Sixers, scoring 30 points to lead the team. Tobias Harris added 28 points with 9 rebounds, and 6 assists. Ben Simmons gave Philly a triple-double with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists.
Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 32 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. Russell Westbrook had 24 points, 8 rebounds, and 10 assists. Rai Hachimura stepped up with 21 points, but it was Philly's night. The Washington Wizards take a first-round exit and winning their Play-In game over Indiana.
Philadelphia moves on to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Atlanta Hawks vs. New York Knicks
Staying in the Eastern Conference, another Game 5 took place. This one was held at the famous Madison Square Garden in New York City. Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks were looking to put away Julius Randle and the New York Knicks in their own building.
Well that's what Trae Young and the Hawks did at MSG. After a competitive 1st half as usual which the Hawks led 52-47. And as usual in all of the Hawks wins this series, the 3rd quarter proved to be the difference. Outscoring the Knicks, 22-15 in the 3rd quarter gave the Hawks a 74-62 leading going to the 4th quarter.
Trae Young, the star of the series, finished as the star of the series with a 36-point, 9-assist performance at Madison Square Garden as a took a bow after hitting a late minute 4th quarter 3-pointer. The Hawks move on to the East Semis.
Disappointing way for the Knicks to go out. Julius Randle had 23 points and 13 rebounds in the losing effort. RJ Barrett had 17 points, but Derrick Rose had his worst game this series with only 6 points.
Next up for Atlanta is the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
East Semis: 5. Atlanta Hawks vs. 1. Philadelphia 76ers
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Utah Jazz
Switching over to the Western Conference as the East is set for the Semifinals. Salt Lake City, Utah is the site as the top seed in the league looked to close-out their series. The Utah Jazz at home for Game 5 to put away the Memphis Grizzlies and they did.
The Jazz put Memphis away early and the Grizzlies had no answer. Dropping 47 points in the 1st quarter showed that Jazz was not playing around last night. Donovan Mitchell led the way with 30 points, 6 rebounds, and 10 assists. Ruby Gobert added 23 points and 15 rebounds. Sixth Man of the Year, Jordan Clarkson, dropped 24 points off the bench as the Jazz win 126-110 in Game 5.
The Jazz are first team in the West to advance to the Semifinals. After dropping Game 1 by holding Spida Mitchell, Jazz won four straight with Mitchell back.
Frustrating way to end their season for the Memphis Grizzlies, but they are a young team that can only get better with Ja Morant, Dillion Brooks, and Jared Jackson Jr.
The Jazz await the winner of the Dallas Mavericks/Los Angeles Clippers series. That series is the last one to recap from last night.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Los Angeles Clippers
The night cap of last night was in the City of Angeles. A series that is tied 2-2 where home-court advantage doesn't exist apparently. A series that is resembling the 1995 series between the Houston Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs. Game 5 at Staples Center was not different.
Luka Doncic still deal with that neck injury, gave the Los Angeles Clippers in ESPN.s Kendrick Perkins word, "A Texas-sized Feast in Game 5. " Dropping 42 points with 8 rebounds and 14 assists, Luka gave Clipper fans more reason to be very concern.
Tim Hardaway Jr. looks to love LA as well as he showed up last night with 20 points and 7 rebounds to help Luka and Mavs get their third consecutive victory in LA this series, 105-100. Which is a shame on the Clippers part as Luka and Hardaway Jr. were the only two Mavs to score in double-figures.
But speaking of those Clippers, they had five players score in double-figure and still lost. Paul George led the Clippers with 23 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, and was a +18 in the plus/minus department. Kawhi Leonard had 20 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and was a -8 in the plus/minus. Why is the "best player" on the court a -8? Shooting 36.8% from the field and 14% from three, WHY? This series is exposing Kawhi Leonard in a bad way.
Not only did he struggle in Game 5 shooting wise, but he never in series took the challenge of guarding Luka Doncic to stop him from torching the Clippers.
Kawhi Leonard supposed to be the best player on the player because of his two-way play on both ends, but Luka is the best player on the court in this series for a second consecutive post-season.
Now the Clippers are down 3-2 and have to win another game in Dallas on Sunday. Dallas, on the other hand, will be trying to do what the Houston Rockets did in 1995 against the Spurs and win the first home game of the series and put the Clippers out of the playoffs.