Last night saw two of the most one-sided games in this year’s NBA Playoffs take place, and after levelling their series just a couple of nights ago, it was a salutary lesson for both the Philadelphia 76ers and Dallas Mavericks of just how quickly fortunes can turn around in a series.
In contrast, the Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns both took big strides towards the Conference Finals and the Final Four with gargantuan wins that put them 3-2 ahead in their respective series.
In fact, so comfortable were both teams that both the Heat and Suns managed to rest players later in the game as they had opened up commanding leads in what were two one-sided games.
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76ers Melt In The Face Of Incessant Miami Heat
In the opening game of the night, the 76ers never recovered from a 12-point deficit in the
first quarter and alarmingly conceded a 20-point deficit in the final quarter to lose by a total of 35 points to the Miami Heat.
The Heat’s 120-85 victory was as emphatic as it sounds with seven Miami players hitting double digits in points and Jimmy Butler proving a point, top scoring in the game with 23.
Butler was the player the 76ers moved on to make way for Ben Simmons, who of course was the makeweight in the trade to the Nets that landed the 76ers James Harden this season.
With Joel Embiid and Harden kept quiet, the Heat started quickly, opening up an extensive lead in the first quarter, maintaining it through the next two and then pulling away very comfortably from an off colour 76ers in the fourth.
It was the second disappointment of the night for Embiid as he learned that he had missed out once again on being the NBA MVP with Denver Nuggets Nikola Jovic winning the award for a second year in a row.
Friday’s game in Philadelphia is now a must win for the 76ers if they are to stay in the series and force a seventh-game decider.
However, given how easily the Heat won this game, that is not going to be an easy task.
Doncic Shines But Dallas Dulled By Brilliant Suns
There’s no doubt that Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic is one of the superstars of the
NBA and he put in a fantastic performance in defeat here for the Dallas Mavericks.
With 11 rebounds, a couple of assists and 28 points, he and Jalen Brunson provided the only real teeth from the Mavs, with Reggie Bullock and Dwight Powell both failing to score, although Powell did only play 8 minutes of the game.
In contrast, the Suns Devin Booker also hit 28 points, Deandre Ayton added 28, while Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson both added a useful 14 each as the Suns bounced back from a first quarter deficit to claim a convincing win.
The game turned on the third quarter where the Suns scored 33 points to just 14 for the Mavericks, giving Dallas an impossible task in the fourth quarter.
The Suns now lead the series 3-2 and head to Dallas knowing another win would see them tie up the series a game early.
And for the Mavericks, they need to get Doncic some support, as he is carrying this team at the moment with not a great deal of help.
Tonight we see two big games in the NBA Playoffs as the Bucks and Celtics lock horns in
Game 5 with their series tied at 2-2.
In what has been a high-quality series so far, these two teams should provide fans with another cracker tonight. The Celtics are the 4/9 favourites on the moneyline to land the win, with the Bucks a tempting 15/8 both those prices with BetMGM Sportsbook.
In the second game of the night, the Golden State Warriors could confirm their place in the Final Four with a win over the Memphis Grizzlies in San Francisco.
In what has been another quality series, the two teams will lock horns, but the Grizzlies will be without their key man Ja Morant, who will miss the rest of the playoffs and that is a huge blow for the second seeds.
Warriors are now 4/7 to win tonight and take the series, with the Grizzlies 29/20.