February 28, 2024

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NBA playoffs: Top moments from Wednesday’s action featuring four Game 5s

Wednesday’s slate of NBA playoff action featured a quartet of Game 5s, three of which ended the postseason run for a trio of teams.

The Eastern Conference got things started, with the Joel Embiid-less Philadelphia 76ers eliminating the Washington Wizards with a 129-112 victory, thanks in large part to a playoff career-high 30 points from Seth Curry. 

Then, the Atlanta Hawks slammed the door on the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, advancing with a gentleman’s sweep.

Trae Young kept his relationship with Knicks fans alive and well, taking a bow after drilling a late 3 in a monster performance from the 22-year-old.

Out in the Western Conference, the top-seeded Utah Jazz put away the Memphis Grizzlies with a fourth straight win after losing Game 1 of that series, clobbering Ja Morant’s team 126-110.

And finally, the evening’s action ended with the Dallas Mavericks and LA Clippers delivering a thriller in their Game 5.

Luka Dončić erupted for 42 points to give the visiting team yet another victory in this series, breaking the 2-2 deadlock with a 105-100 win in Los Angeles.

There was a lot to keep track of, but we’ve got you covered! Here are the best moments from Wednesday’s action:

Mavericks 105, Clippers 100 (Mavericks lead 3-2)

Luka Dončić was an absolute pain in the neck for the Clippers in the first quarter, racking up 19 points, four assists and three boards while playing the entire 12 minutes.

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Those 19 points were a playoff career high in the first quarter for Dončić, outdueling the mighty Kawhi Leonard and Paul George for a 35-28 Dallas lead after the first period.

With Dončić resting on the bench to start the second quarter, the Clippers made a move to cut into Dallas’ lead.

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The Clips did just that, not only cutting the deficit but taking a brief lead of their own before the Mavs regained it with a Willie Cauley-Stein alley-oop to close the scoring for the half at 56-54.

LA pushed the action in the third quarter, snagging a six-point lead midway through the frame ⁠— then Luka went nuclear.

Dončić went 6-for-10 from the field in the quarter, including hitting a stepback 3 in the closing minute of the quarter.

That triple gave Dončić a whopping 40 points through three quarters, as the Mavs kicked it into high gear to finish the third quarter up 89-75.

The fourth quarter lived up to the billing of this critical Game 5. The Mavs boasted a 10-point lead with under two minutes to go, but a quick pair of back-to-back 3s from Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris Sr. cut it to 101-97 with 1:19 to go.

Then, Leonard converted an and-1 on LA’s next possession for a 9-0 run to really turn the screws on Dallas.

But that was as close as the Clippers would get. The Mavericks hit their free throws down the stretch and the 3-point well ran dry, giving the Mavericks a 105-100 victory and a 3-2 edge in the series.

Dončić finished with 42 points, 14 assists and eight rebounds in a sensational performance in the nightcap of Wednesday’s action.

Utah Jazz 126, Memphis Grizzlies 110 (Jazz advance 4-1)

Hours before tipoff, Donovan Mitchell was raring to go.

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And before proceedings got underway in Utah, the Jazz and fans in attendance paid tribute to former big man Mark Eaton, who died Friday night at age 64.

The hosts came out cooking, running out to a 21-7 lead before the Grizzlies momentarily stopped the bleeding.

The Jazz shot an eye-watering 69.2% from the field, with Mitchell leading the way with 14, to take a commanding 47-27 lead after the opening quarter.

In the second quarter, a two-handed dunk from Rudy Gobert made the stadium erupt as the Jazz leaped to a 22-point lead. 

Despite Dillon Brooks’ best efforts — who shot 6-for-11 from the floor and 2-for-3 from distance in the first half ⁠— the Grizzlies trailed 75-51 at halftime.

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The third quarter didn’t go much better for the Grizzlies.

The top-seeded Jazz ran their lead out to 106-76, and the home fans were treated to a fireworks show.

With the game all but decided, the Jazz were able to get a bit fancy with some of their play in the fourth quarter.

Mitchell finished with 30 points in under 30 minutes to lead all scorers. The Jazz now await the winner of the Clippers/Mavericks series to determine their next opponent.

Atlanta Hawks 103, New York Knicks 89 (Hawks advance 4-1)

The Hawks started with a bang in New York, as Young found Clint Capela for a thunderous alley-oop to open the scoring in this critical Game 5.

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The Hawks got out to a fast start at MSG, taking a 10-5 lead, but the Knicks roared back.

A putback jam from Julius Randle to tie the game at 10-10 got the electric crowd back on its feet.

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The two rivals traded blows throughout the physical first quarter to wind up tied 21-21 after the first 12 minutes of action.

In the second quarter, this fancy behind-the-back maneuver and finish from Alec Burks was something to behold.

Despite some heroics from Reggie Bullock ⁠— who shot 4-for-6 from distance in the first half ⁠— the Knicks trailed 52-47 at halftime.

And in case you thought this rivalry wasn’t lively, some pushing and shoving took place at midcourt before the teams went to their respective locker rooms.

Shooting 5-for-18 from the field in the third quarter, points came at a premium for the Knicks in the frame.

On the other end, Young leaned on his supporting cast to score the bulk of Atlanta’s 22, but he did drill a signature deep three in the period as the Hawks took a 74-62 lead into the fourth.

Young really came alive in the fourth quarter, much to the chagrin of the Knicks faithful.

As the fans were on their feet giving the Knicks a standing ovation for an admirable season, Young buried another long-distance 3 to hush the crowd.

Along with a bow, he finished the game with game-high 36 points as the Hawks advanced 4-1 with the 103-89 victory.

The Sixers are next up for Young & Co.

Philadelphia 76ers 129, Washington Wizards 112 (76ers advance 4-1)

Though he wasn’t in the starting lineup, Embiid did work out on the court ahead of Wednesday’s night’s game.

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His status going forward will be a major storyline, as he deals with a small tear in his lateral meniscus. Either way, it’s good for Philly fans to see him on the floor, especially in his hometown.

However, without his presence by the rim, the Wizards got into the paint early.

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Bradley Beal attacked the key early and often, while Russell Westbrook found success with his midrange game in the first quarter.

The Sixers made hay in the paint, too, including a nifty alley-oop from Tobias Harris to Ben Simmons on a breakaway following a steal.

And another from rookie Tyrese Maxey to the high-flying Dwight Howard to set the quarter alight, but the Wizards kept pace in a first quarter that ended knotted at 29-29.

By the time halftime rolled around, Beal already had 21 points as the Wizards trailed by two with the score 65-63.

It took Curry less than three quarters to break his previous career high for points scored in a playoff game, hitting a jumper midway through the third to ring up 23 points at the time.

As the quarter wrapped, the Sixers pushed their lead to 103-94.

It was more of the same from the East’s No. 1 seed in the final frame, as the Sixers extended their lead all the way out to 21 at one point.

Curry also gathered perhaps the highlight of the night, sending Rui Hachimura for a hot dog with this stop on a dime and easy bucket.

Curry finished his career evening with 30 points to lead the Sixers, locking down passage to the next round and eliminating the Wizards.

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