There aren’t any NBA Conference semifinal games on tap for today, but there was definitely enough action over the weekend that most fans and sports gamblers would welcome a day off. The NBA Finals have found the rest of the teams to go a step closer and, if the games played Saturday and Sunday are an indication, gamblers are going to have their work cut out for them as the playoffs continue.
Clippers Hold the Lead for the Win against the Jazz
The LA Clippers moved ahead of the Utah Jazz 3-2 last Wednesday and then took the series with their fourth win on Friday. In doing so, they won four straight and broke a trend that had been seen throughout the NBA Conference Semifinals. No team that had started down 0-2 was able to bounce back and win. That’s no longer the case.
The Clippers almost didn’t pull it off, though, and it took a last-quarter performance to get things done. Utah was up by 25 points in the third, when Paul George and the rest of the Clippers crew found the extra bit of mojo they needed to rally and stage the largest series-clinching victory in the past 25 seasons of the NBA. It’s also the first time the Clippers will appear in a conference finals contest in the past 51 years. It is all possible thanks to the 131-119 win over the Jazz.
The Clippers have already played one game in the conference finals and are starting the same way they started the semifinals. They are in a race with the Phoenix Suns, who took game one yesterday by a score of 120-114. The two will meet again tomorrow.
Hawks Make History
The Atlanta Hawks have done the impossible. They’re advancing to the conference finals after being the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 7 yesterday after the Sixers tied things up at three a piece last Friday. It’s only the second time in 50 years that the team has made it this far, and no one thought it would happen now. The reason this victory is so important is because the Hawks are the first team in almost 30 years – since the current playoff format was implemented in 1984 – to advance to the finals while having a losing record at the All-Star break.
Trae Young was largely responsible for helping Atlanta get as far as it did in the playoffs, but he wasn’t his old self in Game 7. In the 103-96 win, he only made 5 of 23 shots and 2 of 11 from beyond the paint, and he’s going to have to improve if the Hawks plan on going all the way. This Wednesday, they will start their finals against the last remaining team to have advanced.
The Bucks Take the Series in 7-plus
The Milwaukee Bucks refused to give up. They were at a slight disadvantage against the Brooklyn Nets going into Game 6, but, from somewhere no one has yet been able to identify, shut Brooklyn down and took a 104-89 win. That set the two up for Game 7, which needed a little extra time before the winner could be decided.
Game 7 took place on Saturday, with fans of both teams and sports gamblers around the world sitting on the edges of their seats. In what is already being hailed an “instant classic,” the two teams fought back and forth until the Nets’ Kevin Durant, who ended the night with 48 points, put up the winning three-pointer at the buzzer. But, as the crowd was going wild, the ref pointed out that his foot was on the paint, making it worth just two points. That tied the score and sent the game into overtime.
As the two continued to battle, there was still no way to call the game. Giannis Antetokounmpo would end the night with 40 points to keep the Bucks alive, but it was Khris Middleton who ultimately locked in the win. With 40 seconds left on the clock, he scored the basket that broke the tie, the Nets couldn’t respond and the Bucks drove in another for the 115-111 win.