NBA Playoffs: Heat torch Sixers to reach East finals, Mavs take Suns to Game 7!
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - The Miami Heat strolled into the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday, comfortably beating the Philadelphia 76ers 99-90.
After the Golden State Warriors stumbled badly in a closeout game on the road, the Heat had no such problems and even led by 20 at one stage, taking control in the third quarter with a 16-2 scoring run.
Jimmy Butler scored 14 points on six-of-nine shooting in that period as Miami put the proverbial foot on Philadelphia's throat, finishing with 32 points, eight rebounds and four assists against his former team.
James Harden went missing in the second half with Philadelphia's season on the line, meanwhile, taking only two shot attempts for the half while committing three turnovers to go with his four assists. Joel Embiid came up with 20 points and 12 rebounds, but that wasn't enough in the end.
Now in their second Eastern Conference Finals in three seasons, the Heat will face the winner of the series between the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks.
Mavs and Suns to duke it out in decider
The Dallas Mavericks are taking the West's first seed to seven games, after they blew the Phoenix Suns away 113-86.
Luka Dončić was very close to a triple-double with his side's season on the line, but his fingerprints were nevertheless all over Game 6, finishing with 33 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists. He's now tied for third-fastest player in NBA history to reach 700 points in the playoffs.
Dončić's ability to find his teammates for open looks has been consistent in the series but their ability to knock them down has fluctuated. On Thursday, the Mavs shot 41% from the perimeter for the win.
Devin Booker went two-of-10 with the game in the balance in the second and third quarters, as the Suns hoped to close the series out, finishing with 19 points on six-of-17 shooting.
Phoenix simply did not take care of the basketball, coughing it up 22 times with the Mavs scoring 29 points in transition off those turnovers.
Cover photo: Collage: USA TODAY Sports