It looked certain we would have a deciding Game Seven in one of the NBA Conference Playoffs Round 1, however in the end, no game went the distance after an intriguing weekend of Finals action.
We already knew half the teams that were through after the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors and Minnesota Bucks confirmed their places in the next round last week.
However, with the remaining games all delicately poised at 3-2 heading into the weekend, it was the teams leading that secured their place in the next round at the first attempt.
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Raptors Blown Away By Embiid And Co
The fifth team into the next round were the Philadelphia 76ers and they did so in style with a
132-97 demolition of the Toronto Raptors in Game 6, earning a 4-2 series win.
After what was a tight first half that saw both teams separated by just a point in the 76ers favor, the Sixers moved through the gears in the second half and the Raptors had no answer.
Toronto scored just 36 points in the entire second half, the 76ers managed 37 in the third quarter alone and added 33 more in the fourth, outscoring the Raptors 70 points to 37 in the last two quarters.
Joel Embiid top scored with 33 points, Maxey added 25 and James Harden a valuable 22 points and 15 assists.
The win meant that the 76ers now face top seeds Miami Heat in the semifinals, with that series starting on Wednesday evening.
Suns Bright Second Half Showing Leaves Pelicans In Shade
The next team to progress came in the next game as the Phoenix Suns, the top ranked team
in the Western Conference defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 115-109 , coming back from a 10-point half time deficit to clinch the win.
Chris Paul was the key with 33 points, while Deandre Ayton added 22 in what was a very strong second-half performance by the Suns who seemed to get stronger as the game wore on.
Had Zion Williamson been fit to play for the Pelicans, then this may have been a different story, but the New Orleans star will rehab through until next season and hope to be ready to kick off the next campaign in New Orleans.
The Suns moved on to the next round where they would face the winners of the series between the Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks.
Mavericks Edge Jazz To Claim Series
In what was a back and forth game, the Dallas Mavericks edged out the Utah Jazz 98-96 to
clinch their series 4-2 and send the Jazz home early from the NBA Playoffs once again.
It was the first playoffs series win for the Mavericks since 2011 and it was a nervy affair, requiring a superb third quarter comeback, where the Mavericks outscored the Jazz 36-19 to lay the foundation for their victory.
Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson contributed 24 points each for the Mavericks, for whom Dwight Powell could only manage 11 minutes, with Spencer Dinwiddie proving a solid replacement scoring 19 points himself.
Donovan Mitchell scored 23 points for the Jazz in reply in what could have been his last game in Utah with the guard linked with a trade to another team this summer.
Grizzlies Bear Their Claws To Take Down Timberwolves
30 points from Anthony Edwards and 24 more from Jaden McDaniels wasn’t enough for the Minnesota Timberwolves as they went down to a 114-106 defeat to the impressive Memphis Grizzlies.
In what was a real team effort in a back-and-forth contest, Brandon Clarke (17), Ja Morant (17), Jaren Jackson Jr (18) all made significant contributions with Jackson Jr also contributing 14 rebounds.
Dillon Brooks and Desmond Bane top scored for the Grizzlies, netting 23 points apiece.
After establishing a 10-point lead going into the final quarter, the Timberwolves were steamrollered by the Grizzlies who scored 18 more points in the final quarter to win comfortably in the end and set up a series with the Golden State Warriors
Conference Semi Finals Underway
And yesterday saw two Conference Semifinal series get underway with the Minnesota
Bucks making a very solid start with a 101-89 win over the Boston Celtics. Giannis starred once again for the Bucks with a triple triple with 13 rebounds, 12 assists and 24 points in the game.
Jrue Holiday added 25 points himself as the Bucks found a way to unlock a Celtics defense that had been the cornerstone of their success late in the regular season and playoffs.
In the other game, the Golden State Warriors overcame Draymond Green being ejected from the game to land a narrow win over the Memphis Grizzlies by a 117-116 scoreline.
It was Jordan Poole, who has been in sensational form for the Warriors over the last couple of months who married his playmaking ability with some outstanding points scoring, hitting 31 points and 9 assists as the Warriors won by the narrowest of margins.
Tonight, sees the other two semifinals get underway with the Heat and 76ers and Suns and Mavericks going head to head in the first game of their respective series.
Latest NBA Betting
The latest odds from PointsBet Sportsbook see the Golden State Warriors as the +260 favourites to win the NBA Finals, with the Suns +300, Bucks +450 to repeat their success of last season and the Celtics and Heat both at +550.
Then the odds drift sharply to the Mavericks and 76ers at +2000 and lastly the Grizzlies are at +2500.
FEATURED IMAGE – SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – APRIL 28: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks drives past Royce O’Neale #23 of the Utah Jazz during the first half of Game 6 of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs at Vivint Smart Home Arena on April 28, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)