Denver Nuggets’ first NBA MVP Nikola Jokic had an evening to forget. Not only was he ejected from the fourth game in their Conference Semifinal Playoff with the Phoenix Suns, but the Suns capitalised on his absence to claim the 4-0 series win they needed to move into the Western Conference Final.
Leading the series 3-0 after their win in Denver on the Frida evening, the Suns produced another excellent display, led by the redoubtable Chris Paul, to claim a 125-118 victory.
That win moves them into the Western Conference Final, where they will face either the Utah Jazz or he Los Angeles Clippers.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) June 14, 2021
Bright Suns Open Up Big Lead After Three
It is somewhat unusual to suggest that losing their NBA MVP for the season helped the Nuggets, but that was what seemed to happen in this game.
The Suns took an early six point advantage in the first quarter, extended it to eight at the half and then led by 13 at the end of the third quarter.
It was near the end of this third quarter that Jokic was called for a personal foul for catching Cameron Payne in the face with a wild swing at the ball.
After a review, the Serbian was adjudged to have committed a foul 2 and was ejected from the game.
However, that only served to ignite the Nuggets who outscored the Suns by six in the final quarter, but they never really got close enough to the Suns to close the gap.
Chris Paul and Devin Booker combined for 71 points, 11 assists and 14 rebounds as the pair produced some scintillating basketball for the Suns, who will certainly be a tough opponent for either the Jazz or Clippers in that Western Conference Finals series.
Clippers Call The Tune In LA To Down Jazz
Who their opponent will be is not yet known as the Utah Jazz hit some flat notes as they went down 132-106 in the third game of their series against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers take a 26 point victory vs. the Jazz in Game 3.
We got ourselves a series‼️ pic.twitter.com/u0nd92WPeP
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 13, 2021
The Jazz still lead the series 2-1 after winning both their home games, but this was a big win for the Clippers, who outscored the Jazz heavily in both the second and fourth quarters to set up a 132-106 victory.
Unsurprisingly, it was Kawhi Leonard who led the way with 34 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists for the Clippers, ably supported by Paul George who landed 31 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds.
Donovan Mitchell top scored once again for the Jazz with 30 points, but it was certainly something of an off night for the West’s top seeded team.
The fourth game in the series takes place later this evening and it is a crucial one. A win for the Clippers levels the series, but if the Jazz strike back, then they need just one win from the final three games to take the series win and the opportunity to face the Suns in the Western Conference Final.
Bucks Battle Back To Tie Series With Nets
Another stellar performance by Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Milwaukee Bucks to a 107-96 victory over the Brooklyn Nets in the fourth game of their series.
THE GREEK FREAK 🤯 🤯 🤯 pic.twitter.com/dTu0xjAfzd
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) June 13, 2021
That series is now tied at 2-2 as the two teams head back to Brooklyn for Game 5 on Tuesday.
Despite holding a slender advantage in the first quarter, this was an off-night for the Nets offense as only Kevin Durant with 28 points and Kyrie Irving with 11 hit double figures for the Nets in the game.
However, it was an ankle injury sustained by Irving in the first quarter that has Nets fans most worried as his future in the playoffs is now in serious doubt and with James Harden still injured, the Nets now face going up against the Bucks in Game 5 without two of their star trio.
With Irving out, the Bucks wrestled control of the game in the second quarter, taking a five-point lead into the half. They extended that to 12 in the third quarter and then in the fourth they kept the Nets at arm’s length to claim a second victory in a row to level the series.
Giannis’ 34 points, 12 rebounds and 3 assists played a key role in that win with Khris Middleton adding 19 points, 8 assists and.4 rebounds. However, it was their all-round defensive performance for the second game running the ultimately led them to victory.
This sets up a mouth-watering game 5 in prospect in Brooklyn on Tuesday evening.
Current NBA Conference Playoff Semifinal Series Standings
- Phoenix Suns 4-0 Denver Nuggets (Suns progress to Western Conference Final)
- Utah Jazz 2-1 Los Angeles Clippers
- Philadelphia 76ers 2-1 Atlanta Hawks
- Brooklyn Nets 2-2 Milwaukee Bucks
The action continues today with the Hawks taking on the 76ers in Game 4 of their series, while this is followed later on in the evening by Game 4 of the Clippers against the Jazz.