The two big pre-season favorites to win the NBA Championship are now out of the competition.
The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t even make it into the post-season, while it was a short-lived experience for the Brooklyn Nets as they succumbed to a 4-0 series defeat to the Boston Celtics in the First Round, losing 116-112 to exit the tournament.
It was a sobering night for the Nets as after three poor games by his own lofty standards, Kevin Durant got back to his best posting 39 points in a valiant effort, with Seth Curry and Kyrie Irving contributing 23 and 20 points apiece too.
However, this time, it was the Celtics offense which took them to victory with Jayson Tatum (29 pts), Jaylen Brown (22 pts) and Marcus Smart (20 pts, 11 assists) all making significant contributions to the win.
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Off Field Issues
In their post-game interviews, a number of Nets players and staff made reference to a
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 23: Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on against the Boston Celtics during Game Three of the Eastern Conference First Round NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center on April 23, 2022 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images).
number of off-field issues that have bedevilled the team this season.
Kyrie Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated meaning he missed a massive chunk of the Nets home games, the team losing 17 of 20 games in February when Durant was injured, the Harden and Ben Simmons trade and Joe Harris missing all but 14 games of the season, all contributing to the Nets travails.
Coach Steve Nash put the Nets issues down to “a lack of continuity” and added “All those things off the floor play a role in what happens on the floor as well. They’re tied and there’s no question that it has an impact.”
So while the Nets lick their wounds, the Boston Celtics become the first team to reach Round 2 of the NBA Finals with a dominant display across the four games in the series.
Celtics The In Form Team In The NBA
On the back of a superb defense, the Boston Celtics have become the team to watch in the NBA, finishing as second seeds in the Eastern Conference behind the Miami Heat, the Celtics strong finish to the season continued in their hard-fought win over the Nets.
The series may have finished 4-0, but each game was closely fought, including a buzzer-beater in the first game which stole victory for the Celtics.
Boston now become the first team into the next round, where they will play the winner of the Milwaukee Bucks against Chicago Bulls series, with the Bucks currently 3-1 up in that series and looking strong favourites to clinch victory in game five on their home court.
In other games last night, the Philadelphia 76ers produced a poor display to allow the
DALLAS, TEXAS – APRIL 25: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts after falling to the floor against Hassan Whiteside #21 of the Utah Jazz in the fourth quarter of Game Five of the Western Conference First Round NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on April 25, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors to win their second game in a row and cut the series deficit to 3-2.
The Raptors 103-88 victory in Philadelphia now gives them real hope of winning the sixth game in the series on Thursday and taking it to a decider, something that looked all but impossible after the Raptors went 3-0 down after Game 3.
Pascal Siakam top scored with 23 points and 10 rebounds for the reinvigorated Raptors who opened up a 13-point lead at the half, which the 76ers never really threatened to close.
That was partly down to the 76ers poor play but also down to a superb defensive action by the Raptors who kept the likes of Embiid and Thybulle quiet to great effect.
In the final game of the night, the Dallas Mavericks moved 3-2 up in their series against the Utah Jazz, with Luca Doncic being the star man for the Mavs scoring 33 points and claiming 13 rebounds.
Jalen Brunson contributed 24 points as the two led the Mavericks to a comprehensive 102-77 win over the Jazz, who did not manage to score over 20 points in three of the four quarters.
Indeed, Utah’s biggest effort on the night was Hassan Whiteside’s hard foul on Doncic, which led to a brief fracas on court and saw Whiteside ejected for being called on two technical fouls.
The Mavericks now have the chance to move into the next round with a win over the Jazz in Utah on Thursday night.
NBA Finals – Last Night’s Scores
Boston Celtics 116-112 Brooklyn Nets (Celtics win series 4-0)
Toronto Raptors 103-88 Philadelphia 76ers (76ers lead series 3-2)
Utah Jazz 77-102 Dallas Mavericks (Mavericks lead series 3-2)
NBA Finals Tonight’s Games
Atlanta Hawks @ Miami Heat (Heat lead series 3-1)
Minnesota Timberwolves @ Memphis Grizzlies (Series tied 2-2)
New Orleans Pelicans @ Phoenix Suns (Series tied 2-2)
You can check out the latest odds on these games right now at UniBet Sportsbook.
FEATURED IMAGE – NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 25: Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets congratulates Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics after Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs against the Boston Celtics at Barclays Center on April 25, 2022 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Boston Celtics defeated the Brooklyn Nets 116-112. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)