That's the sensation from last night: Regular season champions Utah Jazz (Western Conference) and Philadelphia 76ers (East) are not far from the exit door after their home losses, respectively to the Los Angeles Clippers (111-119) and the Atlanta Hawks (106-109).
Nicolas Batum, the Clippers winger, and his teammates now lead 3 wins to 2 and only need one victory, on the night from Friday to Saturday, to reach the conference final and therefore eliminate another French , Rudy Gobert, who has just been voted best defender of the season.
Good night, #ClipperNation.
- LA Clippers (@LAClippers) June 17, 2021
This setback in Salt Lake City is a real sensation and a huge setback for the Jazz.
Best team of the regular season, Utah had won the first two games of the series at home, before losing in the double confrontation in California.
One of the two teams therefore had the match point in their hands.
The day had started very badly for LA, which had learned the package of its star, Kawhi Leonard.
The MVP of the 2019 final suffers from a right knee injury resulting from contact with Joe Ingles in the previous match.
In Salt Lake City, Paul George perfectly replaced his teammate with 37 points on the clock.
“It was the most important game of the post-season (regular, editor's note), especially in the absence of our best player, said Paul George after the victory.
“We knew when we got here that we had to play together, that we had to win.
We did a great job playing collectively.
The next meeting between the two rivals, on the night of Friday to Saturday in California, may therefore decide on the nomination of the finalist for the Western Conference.
If Utah wins in Los Angeles, it will host the seventh and final decisive game.
The opponent will then be either the Phoenix Suns, who have eaten the Denver Nuggets (4-0).
In the other semi-final of the day, which counts for the Eastern Conference, the Atlanta Hawks, behind 26 points at the start of the third quarter, managed a crazy comeback to win 109-106 against to the Philadelphia 76ers.