Philadelphia – Rui Hachimura had a career playoff-high 21 points Wednesday, but the Washington Wizards' season came to an end in a 129-112 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 5 of their first-round series in the NBA playoffs.
Hachimura played 43 minutes and went 8-for-13 from the field, 1-for-3 from three-point range and 4-for-5 from the free-throw line, displaying the progress he has made on the offensive end, especially in his pull-up game. He added six rebounds and two assists. The 23-year-old star, who played college basketball for Gonzaga, made history this year by becoming the first Japanese player to appear in the NBA playoffs.
Seth Curry's 30-point display helped the Sixers shrug off the absence of Joel Embiid as they won the series 4-1 and advanced to a second-round matchup with the Atlanta Hawks, who eliminated the New York Knicks the same night.
The Sixers had been jolted the by news earlier Wednesday that Embiid had suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee after an awkward fall in Game 4 on Monday.
Coach Doc Rivers' team took care of business with a composed performance without the MVP candidate.
"It was a great team win," Rivers said afterward. "I just love how we played. We got down early, but no panic set in.
"They really believed they were the better team today. They played with that kind of confidence. It was what you would call an all hands in, team win for sure."
The Wizards got off to a bright start, but Philadelphia found its footing and led 65-63 at halftime. The Eastern Conference's top-seed broke the game open in the third quarter and closed out the series in the fourth.
For the Wizards, Bradley Beal finished a strong playoff run with a 32-point performance and dished out five assists while Russell Westbrook added 24 points and 10 assists.
Tobias Harris finished with 28 points for the Sixers and Ben Simmons completed a triple double with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.
"I keep saying it — stick with him, he's a hell of a player," Rivers said about Simmons. "He just does so much for the team, he really does."
In New York, Trae Young delivered a 36-point masterclass for Atlanta in an ill-tempered victory at Madison Square Garden. Players from both sides scuffled as they left the court at halftime in a game peppered with technical fouls.
Young led the Atlanta scorers with support from De’Andre Hunter (15 points) and John Collins (13). Clint Capela weighed in with 14 points and 15 rebounds.
Julius Randle led the Knicks scoring with 23 points while RJ Barrett had 17.
In the Western Conference, the top-seeded Utah Jazz outclassed the Memphis Grizzlies 126-110 to wrap up the series at 4-1.
Donovan Mitchell’s 30-point effort led the way for the Jazz.
The individual performance of the night, however, came at Staples Center, where Slovenian prodigy Luka Doncic erupted for 42 points to help the Dallas Mavericks to a 105-100 win over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 5 of their series.
It was the fifth straight road victory of the series, and leaves the Mavericks ahead 3-2 with two games to play.
“I played terrible at the end but we got a win and that’s all that matters,” said Doncic, who wants Dallas to replicate its away form in Game 6 back home in Texas.
“We’ve got to play like we play on the road,” he said.
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