Series relaunched in the NBA play-offs: Dallas, with a team united around Luka Doncic, defeated Phoenix (111-101) on Sunday to tie at 2-2 in their conference semi-final, just like Philadelphia, winner of Miami ( 116-108), thanks to James Harden and despite Jimmy Butler.
The Mavs knew their Slovenian prodigy couldn’t do miracles on its own. It was the teaching of the first two meetings finished with 45 and 35 points for Doncic, but with two defeats at the end. It is therefore at the cost of a new collective effort that they were able to chain a second victory.
“The team was incredible. Everyone who comes in, leaves everything on the pitch,” said the star who, as in match N.3, scored 26 points (7 rebounds, 4 interceptions). But with a weak 9/25 to shoot and a starving 1/10 at long distance.
He nevertheless trusted his teammates more (11 assists), who were worthy of it, like Finney-Smith, author of eight award-winning baskets (out of 12) who made 24 points.
Dallas suffocated Phoenix in the first quarter, concluded 37-25, with eight award-winning banderillas already. There will have been twenty in total (out of 44 attempted).
– Ghostly Paul –
The success was thus less crazy in the second act and Phoenix was able to go up in score after being led by 17 units, in the wake of Devin Booker, excellent (37 pts, 7 assists), but lonely.
Because Chris Paul was absent subscribers and it is rare enough to report it (5 pts, 7 assists). Overwhelmed by faults, he was excluded in the sixth, harvested nine minutes from time.
No money-time therefore for those who are past masters in the management of these crucial end of matches. Without him, the best team in the regular season did not find the way to force their destiny.
On the contrary, it was Dallas, revived at the end of the third quarter by a welcome three-point basket from Frank Ntilikina (3 pts, 2 rebounds, 1 interception), who finished strong, Jalen Brunson (18 pts) taking charge of the last thrusts.
“We knew they were going to react in the match. They have a hell of a team, but we stayed united and we played physical, it was the key to this match”, commented Doncic again.
Game N.5 already promises to be crucial in Phoenix on Tuesday, as it will be in Miami between the Heat and the Sixers.
– Embiid is gaining momentum –
In Philadelphia, a bearded man came out of his box and it had been a long time since we had seen him at such a party. “The Beard”, James Harden secured victory for the Sixers, scoring 16 of his 31 points (9 assists, 7 rebounds), including four baskets behind the arc, in the last quarter.
Criticized for his offensive performance below expectations, since his arrival in Pennsylvania three months ago, Harden has perfectly taken over from leader Joel Embiid, whose undermining work occurred earlier in the match (24 pts, 11 rbds).
For his second game in masked avenger mode since his right eye socket fracture, the Cameroonian, finalist for the MVP trophy, confirmed his rise to power, delivering a tough duel against Bam Adebayo (21 pts , 7 rebounds), who responded well after missing match N.3.
Philly led almost all the time, counting up to 14 lengths ahead, but the Heat often accorded to the score, guided by their leader Jimmy Butler, who had a hot hand (40 pts, at 13/ 20, 6 assists, 2 blocks).
But Miami, like Kyle Lowry (0/6, 6 pts) and Tyler Herro (1/5, 11 pts), was too clumsy behind the arc (7/35) to hope to win.
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NBA play-offs: Dallas and Philadelphia come back to match Phoenix and Miami