Hawks Shock the Sixers, Suns Stun the Clippers in Nightly Playoff Round-Up
So how about dem Hawks?
The Atlanta Hawks are the first team of this century to reach the Conference Finals without a single All-Star.
Now, that is not to say that Trae Young isn’t a superstar. The point here is, the Hawks did not send a single player to the 2021 NBA All-Star game. A few months later, they are one of the final four teams standing after shocking the Philadelphia 76ers in a Game 7 on their opponent’s home floor.
It is truly remarkable to see how the Hawks have completely turned their season around after a 14-20 start once Nate McMillan took over the head coaching role.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia 76ers are set to enter yet another challenging offseason with countless difficult questions that will require answers.
Those questions will start with Ben Simmons who at times was virtually unplayable in the postseason, but the questions will also include the performance of Doc Rivers who has once again coached his way out of the postseason after yet another epic collapse. The long-term health of Joel Embiid will also be important as Daryl Morey will have his hands full as he will look to continue to push the process forward.
Out in the west, the Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns kicked off their conference finals series as both Chris Paul and Kawhi Leonard were forced to sit.
Simply put, the Clippers ran into a buzz saw after a tough and stretched out series against the Utah Jazz.
Paul George was remarkable, but the story of the game was Devin Booker who exploded for 40-points, 13-rebounds and 11-assists in a performance for the ages. DeAndre Ayton added 20 points and nine rebounds of his own in the win as the Suns had six players finish in double-figures in Paul absence.
“I like the way Devin did it,” coach Monty Williams said following the 120-114 win. “He didn’t inject himself into the game. He just did it out of what we do. There are times where a guy scores and you just want to go grab the ball and jack up a shot. I thought the way Devin did it tonight was within our scheme and what we do.”
Game 2 is set for Tuesday night as the Clippers will look to tie up the best of seven series.