The Philadelphia 76ers produced an impressive defensive performance in the third quarter, paving the way for a 132-97 victory over the Toronto Raptors and securing a place in the NBA Eastern Conference semi-finals.
The Sixers sealed their 4-1 victory in the series, which is decided on the basis of the best in seven games. Thus, the Sixers qualified to face the Miami Heat in order to reserve a place in the East End Final, while the Boston Celtics will play the Milwaukee Bucks, “the title holders” in the other confrontation in the same division.
The Raptors hoped for an unprecedented achievement in the history of the tournament, as no team had ever recovered from a 3-0 loss in the playoffs. The Raptors won in the last two games, and the course of the match in the first half did not express the big difference in the end.
During the first half, no team was able to advance by more than seven points, and they exchanged advances on nine occasions and tied six times. The first half ended in favor of the Sixers 62-61 in an exciting competition between Joel Embiid and his compatriot Baskam Siakam of the Raptors, who scored 16 points each.
The two teams exchanged goals at the beginning of the third quarter, until the score reached 70-67 in favor of the Sixers. The match completely changed over the course of four minutes, as the Sixers scored 17 consecutive points after being awakened by James Harden.
OJ Anonobi stopped the Raptors’ collapse with a three-pointer, but the Sixers continued scoring, led by Harden and in-form Tyrese Maxi, to take the score to 97-75.
The Raptors’ hopes of a win hung by a thread in the final quarter. Embiid shined and scored 12 points in eight minutes to take the visiting team 119-90.
The Raptors gave up completely to end his season, while the Sixers will continue their quest for the title for the first time since 1983. Embiid topped the list of the Sixers’ scorers with 33 points, while Maxi scored 25 points, Harden scored 22 points and provided 15 assists, while Siakam scored 24 points for the Raptors.
Playmaker Chris Paul achieved a perfect shot to lead the Phoenix Suns to win the series against the New Orleans Pelicans and reach the Western Conference semi-finals, to meet the Dallas Mavericks.
Paul succeeded with all his 14 attempts he shot in the match, achieving a new record in the playoffs, to lead the Suns to beat its host Pelicans 115-109 and settle the series 4-2.
The Suns will meet in the Western semi-finals with the Dallas Mavericks, who won the series 4-2 against their host Utah Jazz with a difficult victory 98-96. Slovenian Luka Doncic, who will play the first semi-final in the league, scored 24 points, the same balance as Jalen Bronson, to contribute to the return of their team from a 12-point delay in the third quarter.