NBA playoffs: Boston Celtics sweep Philadelphia 76ers
Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers highlights
Kemba Walker scored 32 points and the Boston Celtics pulled away in fourth quarter to complete a first-round series sweep of the Philadelphia 76ers 110-106 on Sunday.
Jayson Tatum added 28 points and had a playoff career-high 15 rebounds for Boston, which advances to Eastern Conference semifinals and a meeting with the winner of the first-round matchup between Toronto and Brooklyn.
Boston’s win marks the first sweep in 15 playoff series meetings between the teams. It also is the third straight season that Philadelphia has failed to advance past the second round.
Joel Embiid led the 76ers with 30 points and 10 rebounds. Tobias Harris added 20 points and five rebounds despite leaving briefly after a scary fall that bloodied his left eye.
Sunday would have been Kobe Bryant’s 42nd birthday. The Lakers honor him in the playoffs with his “leave a legacy” motto and more.
Harris was trying to contest a shot by Tatum at the 2:40 mark of the third quarter and inadvertently had his legs taken out from under him by Tatum. Harris fell on the left side of his face and laid on the court for several minutes as medical staff attended to him.
The team said he suffered a left eye laceration and was cleared of a possible concussion. He returned to the game with 5:12 left in the fourth with a bandage over his right eye.
With Harris out, Boston scored the final nine points of the third quarter as part of a 12-0 run. The Celtics’ lead grew to 96-79 in the opening minutes of the fourth.
Intensity was high throughout the game, with Philadelphia’s Harris, Josh Richardson and coach Brett Brown all drawing technical fouls. Marcus Smart also received one for Boston.
The 76ers entered the playoffs without All-Star guard Ben Simmons, who underwent season-ending surgery on his left knee following an injury during the seeding portion of the bubble schedule.
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Philadelphia did its best to adjust without him, hanging in defensively against a Boston team that ended the regular season boasting one of the league’s most efficient offenses. But the 76ers had issues scoring points down the stretch in close games.
That included Embiid, who despite posting back-to-back 30-point games in Games 2 and 3, at times struggled to keep up the scoring load in the second half of games. He also had two critical mistakes in Game 3.
The loss was the latest shortcoming for a 76ers team that entered the season with much higher aspirations after adding Al Horford in free agency to play in the frontcourt alongside Embiid and Harris.
Raptors 150, Nets 122
Highlights from the Toronto Raptors’ win over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday.
Norman Powell scored 29 points, fellow reserve Serge Ibaka added 27 points and 15 rebounds and the Raptors steamrolled into the Eastern Conference semifinals by routing Brooklyn to complete a four-game sweep.
The Raptors got 100 points off their bench, most in any game since official starters began being tracked in 1970-71, according to Elias. No bench had scored more than 94 in the regular season or 86 in the postseason.
“I think we just have confidence in each and every one of us that step on the floor and we work on offense,” Powell said. “I don’t think it really matters who’s in the game.”
The Raptors lost Kyle Lowry to a foot injury in the first quarter but the defending NBA champions had more than enough depth and power left to wrap up the first sweep in franchise history and set up a series with the Boston Celtics.
Boston, seeded third, ousted Philadelphia in four games. The series will start Thursday.
Pascal Siakam had 20 points and 10 assists for the Raptors. They upped their record to 11-1 in the bubble and made it clear it won’t be easy to knock them off their spot atop the NBA.
Jazz 129, Nuggets 127
Donovan Mitchell scored 18 of his 51 points in the fourth quarter and the Utah Jazz withstood a 50-point night from Jamal Murray to beat Denver to take a 3-1 lead in the playoff series.
Mitchell was 15 of 27 from the floor and went 17 of 18 from the free throw line. The 23-year-old Mitchell scored 57 points in Game 1. He’s averaging 39.5 points in the series.
The Jazz can close it out in Game 5 on Tuesday.
Murray, who hit a long 3-pointer near the buzzer, had the most-ever by a Denver player in a postseason game, surpassing Spencer Haywood’s mark of 45 in an ABA playoff contest on April 19, 1970. Murray also had 11 rebounds.
Nikola Jokic added 29 points, including three dunks. Jokic is not known for his dunking despite his 7-foot frame.
Leading 109-108 with 4:02 remaining, the Jazz were on the fast break when Paul Millsap fouled Mitchell. The officials ruled it a clear-path foul. Mitchell hit both free throws and after getting the ball out of bounds, Mike Conley hit a jumper to extend the lead to five.
From there, the Jazz simply held on. Rudy Gobert had a big game with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Conley added 26 points in his second game since returning to the NBA bubble after leaving for the birth of his son.
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