There are some weekends of sport that just leave you breathless as to how good they are and basketball fans will probably feel that way after an exceptional weekend of action in the NBA Playoffs.
Not only did we see three final game series decided, one in hugely dramatic fashion, but the Conference Championship series also got underway last night as we made one further step towards the NBA Championship Game.
Not only that, but both the top seeds from the Western and Eastern Conferences also saw their dreams evaporate in what was a dramatic few days.
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76ers Redeem Themselves But Fall Short In Philly
On Friday night, the Philadelphia 76ers clawed themselves back level 3-3 against the Atlanta Hawks with a 104-99 win in Atlanta to take the series to a deciding game.
That game was played last night in Philadelphia, but this time it was the Atlanta Hawks that prevailed against the #1 seeds winning the game 103-96.
Joel Embiid scored 31 points and made 11 rebounds, but also turned the ball over eight times in the game, although he was playing with a torn meniscus in his knee.
However, Sixers fans have rounded on guard Ben Simmons following the defeat after two below par performances in the last few games and him scoring just five points in last night’s matchup.
— Mike Donovan (@TheMikeDonovan) June 21, 2021
There is now increasing speculation that after the loss, Simmons will be moved on, although finding a landing spot for a player earning around $30m a season could be tough.
Trae Young, so often the Hawks inspiration in the playoffs, played second fiddle last night to Kevin Huerter who scored a playoff high 27 points to top score for the Hawks who move on to the Championship game.
Who they will face in that game was another huge story this weekend.
Bucks Snag Overtime Victory Over Nets Despite Durant Heroics
In what was a stunning end to a fabulous series, the Milwaukee Bucks eliminated the favorites to win the NBA Championship, the Brooklyn Nets, in a dramatic overtime win.
Once again, it was Giannis Antetokounmpo who led the way for the Bucks, scoring 40 points and landing 13 rebounds. Khris Middleton added 23 points and 10 rebounds, but it was also the solid defensive display by the Bucks on the road that laid the foundation for the win.
— Mike Donovan (@TheMikeDonovan) June 21, 2021
The Nets led at the half by six points but by the end of the third, the Bucks were one in front. Kevin Durant was once again their standout player, netting 48 points in another incredible personal display from the best player in the NBA right now.
It could have been very different. With just 1.2 seconds remaining of regular time, Kevin Durant seemingly had won the game for the Nets with a spectacular three-point shot, however his foot had touched the line by just a few millimeters, meaning the game was instead tied.
In overtime, the Bucks scored six points to the Nets two to move into the Eastern Conference Final.
Speaking after the game, Giannis hailed Durant as “the best player in the world’, paying a glowing tribute to the Nets star.
The Bucks will face the Hawks with home court advantage in their first game on Wednesday night. However, by then the second game in the Western Conference Final will have been played.
Clippers Stun Jazz To Move Into Final Against Suns
The Los Angeles Clippers produced a stunning second-half display to defeat the Western Conference top seed Utah Jazz 131-119 in game six of their series. The win saw the Clippers claim a 4-2 series win to move on to the Conference Final against the Phoenix Suns.
Terance Mann top scored for the Clippers with 39 points to lead the team to victory after they outscored the Jazz 81 points to 47 in the second half of the game.
There wasn’t too long for Clippers fans to enjoy that victory before they were in action in the first game of the series against the Suns yesterday.
In what was a very close game that was tied at the end of the third quarter, the Suns prevailed 120-114 thanks largely in part to the excellent Devin Booker, who had a triple-double, 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in the victory.
Paul George top-scored with 34 points for the Clippers, who will face the Suns once again on Tuesday night in Game 2.
Remember you can enjoy all the latest betting on the remaining NBA Playoff games with BetRivers Sportsbook.