Top seeds on brink as Hawks and Clippers win against all odds

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 18 Jun 2021

The top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers and Utah Jazz were left on the brink of elimination from the NBA playoffs as the Atlanta Hawks and Los Angeles Clippers notched against-the-odds victories on the road.

In Philadelphia, Trae Young scored 39 points as Atlanta overturned a 26-point second-half deficit to lead the Hawks to a 109-106 defeat of the Sixers and a 3-2 lead in their Eastern Conference semi-final.

The Clippers - rocked by an injury to star Kawhi Leonard - then toppled the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City 119-111 for a similar 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven Western Conference series.

The Sixers and Jazz are one defeat away from elimination as they travel to Atlanta and Los Angeles for their next games.

Young nailed a floater to cut the Sixers' lead to 104-102 before hitting three free throws to give the Hawks their first lead of the game at 105-104 with one minute, 26 seconds remaining.

Danilo Gallinari's fadeaway jumper put Atlanta 107-104 ahead and the Sixers' fate was sealed when Joel Embiid missed two free throws late in the game. "We just kept fighting," Young said. "We have confidence in each other ... we love each other's company and we never stopped believing until the final buzzer."

Philadelphia, who scored 38 points in the first quarter alone, were led by Embiid with 37 points while Seth Curry added 36.

Meanwhile, Paul George had a 37-point display, with 16 rebounds and five assists, as the Clippers overcame the absence of Leonard with a knee injury.

Leonard faces missing the remainder of the series and possibly the playoffs.

Marcus Morris added 25 points while Reggie Jackson chipped in with 21.

Bojan Bogdanovic led Utah with 32 points, while Donovan Mitchell was held to 21, making just four of 14 attempts from three-point range.

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