There were four Game 5s on the NBA Playoffs schedule Wednesday night and we saw three teams move on to the second round and three others get early vacations. Let’s get right to it …
Surprise, Trae Young leads the way for Hawks
OK, it’s not really a surprise as Young has been leading the Hawks all season long. Young scored 26 points, had nine assists, and added four rebounds as Atlanta eliminated the New York Knicks 103-89, winning the first-round series 4-1.
Although Julius Randle had 23 points and 13 rebounds for the Knicks, the Hawks outscored the Knicks in every quarter except the first.
While the Hawks move on to Round 2 to face the top-seeded 76ers, the surprising Knicks, who ended up with a No. 4 seed in the East, will spend their offseason addressing their need at starting point guard.
Stat of the game: Clint Capela was a model of efficiency – he was 6 for 7 from the floor and 2 for 2 from the free-throw line for 14 points and grabbed 15 rebounds (10 defensive).
Quote of the game: Trae Young on Hawks’ Round 1 win: “I know there are a lot of shows in this city and I know what they do when the show is over.”
Hawks advance to Eastern Conference semis for first time since 2016
No Joel Embiid? No Problem!
The Philadelphia 76ers did something this season that they didn’t do last year. They got out of the first round of the NBA Playoffs, and they did it without their big man, Joel Embiid.
With the 129-112 victory, the 76ers wrapped up the series in five games and will now face the Atlanta Hawks in Round 2.
After being challenged by Ben Simmons to score 30 points before the game, 76ers point guard Seth Curry went out and did just that, scoring a playoff career-high 30 points.
Curry wasn’t the only one cooking for the 76ers. Six players on Philly’s roster scored in double figures, including Simmons, Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey.
Sixers head coach Doc Rivers needed all the fire power imaginable after news surfaced early Wednesday that All-Star Embiid was scratched from Game 5’s lineup with a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee that he suffered in Game 4 in Washington.
Philly shot 51.2% from the field and won the rebounding battle with the Wizards 40-38.
Stat of the game: With no Embiid, the Sixers had a new “Big 3” Wednesday night. Curry (30 points), Harris (28 points) and Simmons (19 points) combined for 78 of the Sixers’ 129 points, shooting a combined 57.7% from the floor (26 of 45).
Quote of the game: Doc Rivers on winning without Embiid: “Ben was incredible. Tobias was incredible. Seth, what can you say but everyone else was good. Tyrese came in, Furk gave us a big lift. I thought Dwight Howard in the second half was huge. It was what you would call an 'all-hands-in' team win for sure.”
Mitchell leads the way as Jazz eliminate Grizzlies
The Utah Jazz reversed the course of last season’s disappointment in the NBA bubble. The Jazz advanced to Round 2 after defeating the Memphis Grizzlies 126-110.
All-Star Donovan Mitchell guided Utah’s win by nearly totaling a triple-double. The Louisville product finished the game with 30 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.
Stat of the game: 47. That’s the only number you need to know. The Jazz scored 47 points in the first quarter which propelled them to a 20-point lead by the time the quarter ended. The Jazz never looked back after that.
Quote of the game: Rudy Gobert on Mitchell: “Having guys that work so hard and want to win is how you build a championship identity, and I think he has that, as we saw tonight. He’s getting better every single year, so it’s fun to be a part of. I’m excited to see what’s going to happen next.”
Dallas Takes Back the Series Lead with Game 5 Win in LA | Mavs Live
Doncic’s 42 points propel Mavs over Clippers
There’s no place like home … unless you’re the visiting team in this series.
Strange, but true, the road team has won every game so far as the Mavericks defeated the Clippers in Los Angeles 105-100 behind Luca Doncic’s near triple-double (42 points, 8 rebounds and 14 assists) to take a 3-2 series lead back to Dallas.
Turnovers were not the Clippers’ friend:12 in Wednesday’s game. The third quarter was also a struggle with Dallas outscoring Los Angeles 33-21.
Paul George kept the Clippers in the game with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Kawhi Leonard and Reggie Jackson both scored 20 for Los Angeles.
Stat of the game: 5-0. The road team has won every game this series, making it only the third time in NBA Playoffs history that the road team won the first five games, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Quote of the game: Leonard on Wednesday’s loss: "We [are] definitely disappointed in the loss. But we have confidence in ourselves to go out and get another win. We are just focused on the next one and see what we can do better."
Here’s what to watch for tonight
Lakers at Suns (10:30 p.m. ET, Bally Sports Arizona)
It’s now or never for the reigning NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.
Is this the Lakers’ last game of the season? Will Anthony Davis play?
The Lakers fell into a 3-2 series deficit to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday behind Devin Booker’s 30 points.
Nuggets at Blazers (8 p.m. ET, TNT)
The Nuggets carry a 3-2 series lead heading into tonight’s Game 6 game against the Blazers.
While Damian Lillard has been otherworldly for the Blazers and Nikola Jokic has been spectacular all series for the Nuggets, the key for either team will be what their other players do.
I think it will come down to rebounding. Whichever team wins the rebounding battle tonight will win the game.