NBA Playoffs: Suns Open WCF With Win, Hawks Down 76ers In Game 7

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The NBA Playoffs continued on Sunday with the start of one series and the conclusion of another. The Western Conference Finals between the LA Clippers and Phoenix Suns got underway. Meanwhile, the final second-round series in the Eastern Conference closed.

In case you missed it, here’s a recap of both games:

(4) LA Clippers at (2) Phoenix Suns – PHX leads 1-0

The day got started with the Suns defeated the Clippers 120-114 at the Phoenix Suns Arena on Sunday afternoon to open their Western Conference Finals series.

Both teams played without their stars as Chris Paul missed the game due to COVID protocol and Kawhi Leonard is still dealing with a lingering knee issue and did not make the trip for the Clippers.

Devin Booker had the task of filling Paul’s shoes and he was up for that challenge. Booker posted his first-ever career triple-double with 40 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists. He scored 16 consecutive points for Phoenix in the third quarter to help the Suns build their lead to double digits.

”I’ll let you guys do the rankings,” Booker said. ”I’m just going out there to win every game possible. I’ve been saying this since the start of the playoffs –every next game is the biggest game.”

With the game tied at 93 with eight minutes remaining, the Suns went on a 12-2 run to pull away. The Clippers put together one final rally to cut that 10-point deficit to four points but could not overcome Booker’s scorching night.

Paul George led the way for Los Angeles with 34 points but shot just 38 percent for the game. Reggie Jackson added 24 for the Clippers, who played just 48 hours after defeating the Utah Jazz in their previous series.

”I have no excuse,” Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue said. ”I thought we played hard and competed. A little credit – they were making shots and we didn’t. But I loved our fight. I loved what I saw.”

(5) Atlanta Hawks at (1) Philadelphia 76ers – ATL wins series 4-3

The final game of the evening saw the Atlanta Hawks hold on for the 103-96 win over the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series.

Atlanta won the game despite a very poor game from Trae Young, who scored 21 points but shot 5-for-23 from the floor. Kevin Huerter led the way for the Hawks with 27 points as he took advantage of the matchup against Philly’s Seth Curry.

”This team is special, man,” Huerter said. ”Everybody has counted us out all year. For us to make it this far and win in this building in Game 7, it’s huge for us.”

With Young struggling, Huerter took over when his team needed him the most. He scored eight straight points for Atlanta to keep them within striking distance early in the fourth quarter.

”I felt like they were built for this moment tonight to win this game,” Atlanta coach Nate McMillan said.

The loss for Philadelphia will sting as they will go into the offseason with questions surrounding their roster. Joel Embiid had 31 points, 11 rebounds while playing with a meniscus tear in his right knee.

Ben Simmons had just five points and 10 rebounds but attempted no shots in the fourth quarter.

”I still believe if I was 100% if we were all together,” Embiid said, ”I still believe we had a shot at winning it all.”

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