“They have kicked our ass. They have done what they wanted ”. This is how LeBron James reacted after the very tough defeat of the Lakers in Phoenix by 115-85. The NBA champions trailed in the series, 3-2, are one step away from elimination and their game is increasingly disappointing and less competitive. The Los Angeles team accumulated a 30-point deficit at halftime, the largest in the last 25 years. Anthony Davis, injured in the groin, could not play. His team still cannot find the formula to maintain the level in the absence of the power forward.
LeBron, who lost two straight games in the first round of the playoffs For the first time in 15 years, he added 24 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists. It was the only one that was at an acceptable level. The disaster and disorientation of the Lakers is defined by the statistics of the four players who accompanied him in the starting five: Schröder and Caldwell Pope remained at zero, Drummond added 7 points and 13 rebounds, and Markieff Morris, 4 points. The contribution of the players who came off the bench was not much better. Only Kuzma stood out, with 15 points. Marc Gasol played 10 minutes and contributed 5 points and 3 rebounds.
The Suns dominated from the first quarter. Booker was his best attacking player with 30 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Payne, with 16 points; Bridges, with 13; and Craig, with 11, also stood out in a game in which Deandre Ayton barely shot to the basket and finished with 8 points and 7 rebounds. Chris Paul, with a sore shoulder, retired in the third quarter and was back on the court.
The Lakers, champions in 2020, started the season as one of the main favorites in the League. Now they are one step away from elimination and the Suns have two opportunities to solve the tie.
Brooklyn eliminated the Boston Celtics after winning the fifth game by 123-109 and closing the first round of the Eastern Conference with a 4-1. The Nets lived up to their status as favorites. In the East semi-finals they will face Milwaukee, which swept Miami 4-0 in the first round. It will be one of the most anticipated duels of the playoffs. The star trio of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden will meet the team led by Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. The Nets, who were second in the regular season ahead of the Bucks, will have the home court advantage.
In Game 5 of the first round, the Nets swept the Celtics. Harden had a triple-double with 34 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Irving added 25 points and Durant 24. The Nets’ all-star trio added a total of 83 points. The rest of the team didn’t need to add much more and only Brown and Harris had 10 points. The Celtics dominated the rebound and kept the type during the first half, but from the third quarter they were less.
Jayson Tatum tried once again to maintain his team’s chances with 32 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. But his teammates were off the mark, especially Marcus Smart who hit a 3 on 10 pitches and finished with 14 points. The Celtics were at a poor 22% accuracy on 3s. Fournier added 18 points and Langford, 17.
The Nets were swept 4-0 by Toronto in the first round last season. Then they couldn’t count on Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, injured. The recovery of Durant and Irving and the signing of James Harden placed the Nets among the big favorites this season. They also hired Steve Nash as coach, replacing Jacque Vaughn, who had relieved Kenny Atkinson.
Injuries have taken their toll on the Celtics this season. 24-year-old guard Jaylen Brown averaged 25 points this season. He injured his wrist on May 5. He had to undergo surgery and has not been able to play again this season. The 31-year-old point guard and four-time All Star Kemba Walker missed nine of the last 15 regular-season games, returned to play the Nets, although his performance was not as usual and he missed the ten 3-pointers he threw between second and second. the third party. He was unable to play the fourth or fifth due to a knee injury.
Also out was 23-year-old center Robert Williams, injured in an ankle. The Celtics have been in the playoffs for the past seven seasons. They had not lost in the first round since 2015. Last season, in the Orlando bubble, they eliminated the Sixers and Toronto and lost in the conference final to Miami.
Damian Lillard completed an exceptional performance despite Portland’s 147-140 loss to Denver after two overtime periods. The 32-year-old guard had 12 triples and broke the record in the playoffs that was held by Stpehen Curry, with 11, since May 28, 2016 in a game between Golden State and Oklahoma City. Lillard finished with 55 points, Portland’s record in Los Angeles history. playoffs. “It’s the best brand I’ve ever seen,” Trailblazers coach Terry Stots said.
Lillard had 17 of Portland’s 19 points in the two overtimes. The decisive triple, however, was the one scored by Michael Porter a minute and a half from the end of the second overtime. Lillard had given Portland the last lead, 138-140, by scoring the 12th of 17 triples he shot, with three minutes and 47 seconds to go. But the Trailblazers couldn’t score anymore. They paid for the bad percentage in McCollum’s shooting, who finished with 18 points, with 7 of 22 in field goals. Covington contributed 19 points and Powell and Nurkic, 13 each.
The Nuggets dominate the tie 3-2. Jokic, with 38 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists; Monte Morris with 28 points and Michael Porter with 26 points and 12 rebounds carried Denver’s offensive weight. Campazzo, the starter, had 3 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists in 21 minutes.