There were two elimination games on Friday night’s schedule of NBA Playoff action. The two number one seeds in both conferences faced elimination games with the Philadelphia 76ers traveling to Atlanta to face the Hawks in Game 6. Then, the Utah Jazz had their own elimination challenge on the road game against the Los Angeles Clippers for Game 6.
SLAM breaks down two anticipated playoff thrillers that may lead to conference finals this weekend:
No.1 Philadelphia 76ers 104, No.5 Atlanta Hawks 99
Series tied 3-3. Game 7 is Sunday on TNT.
If the 76ers had handled business the way they should have, this series would be over by now. Doc Rivers’ quotes went from virtually guaranteeing a Game 7 to this:
‘Win the game, be aggressive, play. … I think our guys are ready, but you never know.’
Hawks have come back from 18 and 26 points in Games 4 and 5 respectively 😳— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 18, 2021
What will happen tonight? pic.twitter.com/b374bakl8p
What the Sixers gave their coach and frustrated fanbase was heart, grit and determination. They needed all three to survive Trae Young’s performance.
Young continued his historic run, quite literally shooting the lights out in the arena and finishing with 34 points and 12 assists. He’s had 20+ points and 7+ assists in 11 straight games, which has tied for the longest streak in NBA postseason history.
Trae literally shut the lights out in Atlanta. pic.twitter.com/nOI6p5umWA— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 19, 2021
Still, despite his performance, it was not enough as the 76ers forced a Game 7 on Sunday.
How did Philadelphia win? Dominating the offensive rebounds (14) and hitting free throws down the stretch. That and a whole lot of Tyrese Maxey.
No.4 Los Angeles Clippers 131, No.1 Utah Jazz 119
Clippers win series 4-2. Game 1 vs. Phoenix Suns will be on ESPN on Sunday.
The questions leading into this matchup centered around the backcourt of both teams.
Number one: Would Michael Conley Jr. return to the lineup?
Number two: Would Donovan Mitchell be able to play?
While Conley Jr. has been dealing with a hamstring injury, Michell came out playing very well. He scored 16 points in the first quarter alone. Instead of standing out at the 3 point line, the “Spida” Man attacked the basket and gashed the interior defense.
After struggling in Game 5, Mitchell finished with 39 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists. This report sadly does not illustrate how hard he played.
Number three: Would Paul George continue his dominant play after three straight 30 point games?
Not until the second half. The Utah Jazz put together a game plan making sure that there was no sight of “Playoff P”. Then he got unleashed and finished with 28 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists.
But they sure didn’t stop Terance “Mama, there goes that” Mann. This video summed up the Mann/Gobert matchup.
The Jazz decided to allow Gobert to match up with Mann to disastrous results. Terance helped the Clippers get back the game sparking a 17-0 run to help them take the lead in the fourth quarter. He finished with 39 points.
Before Mann’s explosion, the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year winner Jordan Clarkson was shooting lights out in the first half. He scored 17 straight points in the second quarter to get Utah a 20 point lead at halftime.
So, how did the Clippers come back from 25 points down in the second half to win? They got into a zone from the 3 point line in the left corner exposing the newly crowned defensive player of the year, Rudy Gobert, and Reggie Jackson joined Terance Mann in destroying any Jazz player in front of him. He finished with 27 points, 10 assists, and 3 steals.
The Clippers outscored Utah 81-47 in the second half.