The fifth game of each playoffs has defined the qualification of four teams for the semifinals. Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets, Miami Heat and New York Knicks will join Philadelphia 76ers, the first franchise to clinch a berth in the next round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs. The big disappointment of this first round was the Milwaukee Bucks. The NBA's best player, Giannis Antetokounmpo, is out of the running for a Ring.
The unimaginable elimination of the Bucks
Against all odds, Milwaukee Bucks are out of the NBA Playoffs. The Wisconsin franchise was defeated in the fifth game against Miami Heat (126-128) and its history in this year's Finals (4-1 in the series) is over. Objectively speaking, the Heat's ranking is well deserved. The Bucks, champions of the Eastern Conference, have been far from the version they offered us during the regular season. They were the big favorites to win the Ring. This is the sixth time in history that a team that finished eighth in the regular phase has eliminated a first-place team in the Playoffs.
The best thing about this series has been Jimmy Butler's performance. The Heat forward was once again unstoppable for the opposing defense, scoring 42 points and grabbing 8 rebounds. Throughout the series, he has scored 188 points in five games. In addition to being unstoppable, the Texas-born basketball player closed out the game as the hero. It was from his hands which came the basket that forced overtime and allowed the Heat close out the playoffs and advance to the semifinals.
JIMMY BUTLER SENDS GAME 5 TO OT 😱
HE'S GOT 40 PTS. UNBELIEVABLE.
📺: NBA TV pic.twitter.com/x9AGDSlxpC
— NBA (@NBA) April 27, 2023
Aside from acknowledging Butler's sublime performance, the participation of Bam Adebayo should also be noted. The Heat center recorded a triple double (20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists), beating out Bucks counterpart Brook Lopez. For the Wisconsin franchise, NBA all-star Giannis Antetokounmpo bid farewell to the Playoffs by scoring 38 points and collecting 20 rebounds. A magnificent double-double that was in the end fruitless. The Heat will face the Knicks in the semifinals.
Nikola Jokić, huge
The Regular Season Western Conference champions, Denver Nuggets, qualified for the semifinals after defeating Minnesota Timberwolves (112-109) in the fifth game of their series (4-1). A victory that had a clear protagonist: Nikola Jokić. The Colorado franchise's center was epic against his rival, registering a triple-double (28 points, 17 rebounds and 12 assists), which was a decisive performance to seal the playoffs. He was relentless, as defined by his coach, Michael Malone.
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) April 26, 2023
Jamal Murray was the game's leading scorer. The Nuggets point guard scored 35 points, 15 of them from three-point range. For the Minnesota Timberwolves, Anthony Edwards (29 points) and Karl-Anthony Towns (26) both topped the 20-point barrier. The center recorded a double-double (26 points and 11 rebounds), as did Rudy Gobert (16 points and 15 rebounds). These remarkable statistics were not enough to bring the tie to a sixth game.
Devin Booker: 47 points to certify the Suns' pass
Phoenix Suns continue without losing their status as the favorite to win the Ring. The Arizona franchise defeated the Los Angeles Clippers (136-130) in Game 5 of the quarterfinals (4-1). Devin Booker continues to be relentless. The Mexican-born point guard finished the duel with a double-double (47 points and 10 assists). In four of the five playoff games he has scored 30 points or more. One of the best players in the NBA Playoffs so far.
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) April 26, 2023
Kevin Durant also had a worthy contribution on the court: the forward scored 31 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. Durant and Booker were joined at the party by Deandre Ayton, who ended up recording a double-double (21 points and 11 rebounds). Despite seven Clippers players finishing the game with 10 points or more, the Los Angeles franchise was hampered by the absence of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Russell Westbrook (14 points and 8 assists) is far from the great point guard he was several seasons ago. The Suns and Nuggets will meet in the Western Conference semifinals.
Knicks advance for second time in last decade
Perhaps we thought it was going to be the most evenly matched of the eight playoffs, but it was not. New York Knicks defeated Cleveland Cavaliers in the fifth game (106-95) and clinched their pass to the Playoffs semifinals (4-1), where they will face the Heat. Looking at the overall score, their qualification is well deserved. During these playoffs, the New York franchise has been characterized by a very good defense against its opponents. In this last game, center Mitchell Robinson stood out, becoming an absolute pillar in the zone for his team (13 points and 18 rebounds). Jalen Brunson finished the game with 23 points, but had a low efficiency percentage (he scored 8 of the 22 shots he took).
More was expected from the Cavs. They were probably the favorites to reach the semifinals, but they will have to try again next season. Despite scoring 28 points, Ohio franchise point guard Donovan Mitchell was well off target in shooting, scoring on 11 of 26 attempts. Darius Garland, who scored 21 points but lost 6 turnovers, did not have his day either.
Trae Young gives Hawks a glimmer of hope
Atlanta Hawks forced the sixth game of their series (2-3) against Boston Celtics after winning the fifth game (117-119). Trae Young was the star: the Hawks point guard scored 38 points and dished out 13 assists. A double-double that forces the Massachusetts franchise to win in Game 6 of the series if it wants to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals. Dejounte Murray, who was suspended by the NBA for confronting one of the referees in the previous game against the Celtics, did not play.
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) April 26, 2023
For the Green and White franchise, only Jaylen Brown was a threat to the Hawks. The Celtics forward scored 35 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and assisted 5 times. The team's other star, Jayson Tatum, recorded 8 rebounds and 8 assists, but with 19 points he fell short of his scoring average this season (30.1 points per game). They will have to work hard to advance to the next round in Georgia.
Warriors one step away from qualification
Golden State Warriors victory over Sacramento Kings (123-116) in Game 5 of a series that stands 3-2 in favor of the San Francisco franchise. The California playoffs got off to a bad start for the Warriors, who lost the first two games. They were able to bounce back and come from behind. This Friday they will have their first opportunity to qualify for the Western Conference semifinals.
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) April 27, 2023
Overall, a great game for Steve Kerr's team. Stephen Curry led his teammates to victory with 31 points and 8 assists. Three other players finished the game scoring 20 points or more: Klay Thompson (25 points), Draymond Green (21) and Andrew Wiggins (20). In the zone, Kevon Looney beat Domantas Sabonis. The Warriors center grabbed 22 rebounds, in addition to assisting on 7 occasions.
Little to highlight on the Kings' side. Sabonis recorded a double-double (21 points and 10 rebounds), 24 points from De'Aaron Fox and 21 from Malik Monk. Nothing more. A lot will have to improve in the next game for the Sacramento franchise to force a Game 7.
Grizzlies stop LeBron James
Memphis Grizzlies closed the gap in their playoff series against Los Angeles Lakers (2-3) and won in the fifth game (116-99). A series in which each team has won its home games. Ja Morant (31 points, 7 assists and 10 rebounds) and Desmond Bane (33 points, 5 assists and 10 rebounds) led the Tennessee franchise on the court. Also notable was the participation of Jaren Jackson Jr. who concluded the duel with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
LeBron James was worse than what we are used to. On offense, the Lakers star was only able to score 15 points. On defense he was slightly better (10 rebounds). The purple and gold franchise had Anthony Davis as its most outstanding player. The center recorded a notorious double-double (31 points and 19 rebounds). Austin Reaves, who everyone is pointing to as the next leader of the Lakers, finished the game with 17 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.
— NBA (@NBA) April 27, 2023