Miami leads the series 3-2
If ever the Sixers and their fans started to dream or get fired up after winning two straight in Philadelphia, they got a terrible cold shower in Game 5 against Miami on Tuesday night. The Heat delivered a perfect collective performance on both ends of the field to win by a wide margin during this decisive round (120-85). A demonstration. Much more physically present, tough on the man, Erik Spoelstra’s players completely suffocated the opposing stars. No Sixers player has ever reached the 20-point mark. Joel Embiid scored 17, grabbing just 5 rebounds. James Harden was knocked down after his excellent performance in the previous game. He settled for 14 points on 5-of-13 shooting while turning over four balls.
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The Heat knew that defending hard and regaining intensity would be one of the solutions to regain the advantage over their rivals after two consecutive losses. The other alternative was to find offensive solutions through shift players showing skill behind the three-point line. In the end, they managed to shine in all aspects. Very low key in Philly, PJ Tucker, Gabe Vincent and Max Strus scored 10, 15 and 19 points respectively while compiling, for example, 7 prize baskets in 15 attempts. Jimmy Butler led his team with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Thus, Miami leads 3 sets to 2 before heading back to Pennsylvania. Floridians now have two chances to wrap up the series.
Phoenix leads the series 3-2
Without a barrage of 3-pointers to blow up the opposing defense, the Mavericks’ mission turned out to be much more difficult than it had been in the previous two games. Knocked out twice, the Suns bounced back nicely dominating their theme in front of their home crowd last night (110-80). A solid win for Devin Booker (28 points) and his teammates. They especially made the difference in the third quarter. Phoenix led by 3 small points at halftime (49-46) before starting the machine after returning from the locker room.
Monty Williams’s men went from a devastating 17-0 to take control of the game -and of the series at the same time- chaining counterattacks, triples and baskets inside. Dallas went more than 5 minutes without scoring a basket, suffering from the suffocating defense of Mikal Bridges and company. Luka Doncic (28 points) ended up stopping the bleeding but the damage was already done. The Slovenian and his teammates tried to chase the score for the rest of the game, never drawing again. They lacked 3-point ability (8-for-32 against 20 prize baskets made in Game 4) but also lost a lot of the ball, preventing them from taking advantage of Chris Paul’s new “little game” on the scoreboard. The All-Star leader was once again limited to under 10 points (7) but dished out 10 assists. The Mavericks will be looking to stay alive in Game 6, this time in Dallas.
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