thanks to Joel Embiid, Philadelphia takes the lead against Boston

Joel Embiid (left) faces Marcus Smart in game 5 of the NBA playoffs eastern conference semifinals, in Boston, Wednesday, May 10, 2023.

In the shock of the semi-finals of the Eastern Conference of the NBA playoffs, Philadelphia won on Wednesday in Boston (115-103), thanks to its pivot, Joel Embiid author of 33 points. The Pennsylvania franchise can qualify on Friday if they win at home against the Celtics in Game 6.

Did the Sixers do the hard part? Led two games to one before the weekend, Philadelphia had managed to equalize, Monday, in front of its public, at the end of the suspense (116-115 after extra time), thanks to an excellent performance from James Harden (42 points). But, Wednesday, it is the Most Valuable Player (MVP, ” best player “) of the regular season, Joel Embiid, who took over the torch of leading scorer, with 33 units. “Joel did a great job shooting when he had to shoot and passing when he had to pass,” commented Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers. But the coach Phila also highlighted the performance of Harden, author of a double-double (17 points and 10 assists). “He played a perfect game. He was aggressive very early in the game, when needed. And he took everyone with him. » The evening was ideal for the Sixers collective, since five players finished at more than 10 points, to allow the franchise to lead 3-2 in this series and to approach the Eastern Conference finals.

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It’s the opposite for the Celtics. Their coach, Joe Mazzulla, believes that his players have achieved their “worst game of the playoffs”. Led at the end of the first quarter (33-26), Boston never managed to come back to score, despite the efforts of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown (60 points between them), the stars of the team. “It doesn’t happen at the best time, but you have to look ahead and be ready for the next game”added the coach of the franchise of Massachusetts.

Denver, one win away from the conference finals

Nikola Jokic during Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference Semi-Finals against the Phoenix Suns in Denver on Wednesday, May 10, 2023.

In the other confrontation of the evening, the Denver Nuggets of Nikola Jokic also took the advantage, three games to two, dominating Phoenix (118-102). Again, the Colorado franchise can qualify on Friday, but it will have to win on the floor of the Suns, otherwise a seventh and final meeting will be necessary.

After an excellent start (35-24 at the end of the first quarter), Denver relaxed, allowing the Suns to make up some of their deficit (52-49 at the break), before recovering to beat Phoenix by 16 points . Jokic’s teammates breathe after this success and erase Monday’s failure (124-129), in Arizona. The untenable Serbian pivot – fourth best scorer in the history of his team – offered himself a new triple double (29 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists) to preserve the invincibility at home in the playoffs this season (six games ) of the Colorado franchise.

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At the end of the meeting, the coach of the Denvers Nuggets, Michael Malone insisted on the defensive performance of his team. “We had ‘forgotten’ to defend in the two games lost in Phoenix. » The coach concluded by giving the keys to the next – and potential last – clash against the Suns. “Running and defending is what we will have to do if we want to finish. »

On the night of Wednesday to Thursday (Paris time), the Miami Heat and the Lakers will have qualified for the conference finals, respectively against the New York Knicks and the Golden State Warriors. Both teams currently lead by three wins to one.


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