June 13, 2021

Mitchell monstrous in Utah’s wild Game 1 win

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Welcome to the Yahoo Sports NBA playoff tracker, your daily one-stop shop for all the latest game results from each NBA playoff series. Here’s a look at Tuesday’s games.

Thanks to a huge second-half outing from Donovan Mitchell, the Utah Jazz have taken an early 1-0 lead over the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Jazz rallied back from an early hole on Tuesday night to beat the Clippers 112-109 in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinals series at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mitchell finished with a game-high 45 points in the win, 32 of which came in the second half.

Donovan Mitchell’s surge, Rudy Gobert’s block leads Utah to Game 1 win

Utah started out slow on Tuesday night, and at one point missed 21 straight shots in the first quarter. Though they managed to cut the game back to single digits by the end of the first period, the Clippers pushed ahead to a 13-point lead at the break.

That’s when Mitchell found his shooting form.

Mitchell took over for the Jazz to start the second half, and single handedly kept them in the game. He opened the third quarter on a personal 10-2 run to cut the Clippers’ lead to just five only minutes into the period.

By the end of the third, thanks to 15 points in the quarter from Mitchell and a huge 3-pointer from Clarkson in the final minute, the Jazz had tied things up 79-79 while outscoring the Clippers 32-19.

Finally, after a tight battle in the opening minutes of the fourth, the Jazz mounted a brief 7-0 run capped by a clutch deep 3-pointer from Bojan Bogdanovic to put them up by 10.

The Clippers weren’t gone for good just yet. They cut the game back to 3-points after Paul George drilled a 3-pointer in the final minute.

The Clippers had a final shot to send the game into overtime, too, but Jazz center Rudy Gobert blocked Marcus Morris’ corner 3-point attempt — which sent the Clippers into a scramble as the final buzzer sounded, giving the Jazz the three-point win.

Kawhi Leonard led the Clippers with 23 points in the loss while shooting 9-of-19 from the field. George added 20 points, and Luke Kennard put up 18 off the bench.

Mitchell led Utah with his 45 points and five assists, and shot 16-of-30 from the field. Both Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson added 18 points each, and Gobert finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Mike Conley was ruled out of the game ahead of time with a hamstring injury, something he injured during their first round series against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Game 2 of the series is set for Thursday night in Salt Lake City.

Sixers guard Shake Milton scored 14 second-half points off the bench to help swing Game 2 against the Hawks. (Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Sixers guard Shake Milton scored 14 second-half points off the bench to help swing Game 2 against the Hawks. (Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Shake Milton might have saved the Sixers’ season

Call it the Shake Milton game.

The third-year Philadelphia 76ers reserve scored 14 points on six shots over six minutes spanning the third and fourth quarters. His heat check sparked a 28-9 run that broke open a previously unnerving Game 2 for the Sixers, whose 118-102 win over the Atlanta Hawks tied their Eastern Conference semifinals series, 1-1.

Joel Embiid’s 40 points and 13 rebounds ensured the Sixers held a slim margin over the explosive Hawks until Milton caught fire. Tobias Harris scored 22 points for Philadelphia, and Seth Curry added 21. Sixers star Ben Simmons had four points on three shots and two missed free throws in 35 minutes. The second-half surge by Embiid and Milton saved the 76ers from a 2-0 series deficit and Simmons from more criticism.

Game 3 is scheduled for Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Philadelphia’s length on defense finally frustrated Hawks star Trae Young, who still finished with 21 points and 11 assists, albeit on 6-for-16 shooting from the floor and a 1-for-7 night from 3-point range. Kevin Huerter and Danilo Gallinari combined for 41 points off the bench for Atlanta, hitting 8 of 14 from distance. 

The Sixers came out determined not to repeat their lackluster start from Game 1, when the Hawks staked themselves to a 42-27 lead and never looked back. Philadelphia scored 24 of their 33 first-quarter points on Tuesday in the paint, led by Tobias Harris’ 16 points on 8-for-8 shooting inside the 3-point line in the frame.

Atlanta’s bench unit sparked a second-quarter comeback, as Huerter and Gallinari combined for 20 points on 7-for-8 shooting in the 12 minutes before halftime. Hawks reserves outscored their Sixers counterparts 32-0 in the first half, and Philadelphia’s one-time 18-point lead was trimmed to a 57-55 edge at the break.

The Hawks hung around, despite Embiid’s 17 points in the third quarter. Back-to-back Bogdan Bogdanovic 3-pointers and a pair of Young free throws briefly gave Atlanta an 80-79 lead with 2:41 remaining in the third, but Milton responded with an onslaught. He drilled a 3 of his own to regain the lead, and two minutes later he hit a 35-footer at the buzzer to give the Sixers a more comfortable 91-84 lead entering the fourth.

Milton carried that 3-pointer into the final quarter, scoring or assisting seven of Philadelphia’s next 11 points to ignite a 14-0 run that pushed the lead back to 18 and ended any chance of another Atlanta haymaker.

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