Kawhi Leonard scored 28 points, Marcus Morris added 23 and the Los Angeles Clippers finally won at home, finishing off the Dallas Mavericks 126-111 on Sunday in Game 7 of the first-round playoff series.
Playing in front of a small but noisy mix of masked fans and cardboard cutouts, the Clippers did what neither team had been able to pull off in the first six games — win at home. It was the first time in NBA history the road team won the first six games of a playoff series.
The fourth-seeded Clippers advanced to the Western Conference semifinals for the second straight year. They’ll play the top-seeded Utah Jazz starting Tuesday night in Salt Lake City.
Luka Doncic had 46 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds to lead the fifth-seeded Mavs, who have yet to win a playoff series since capturing the NBA championship in 2011. He finished the series with 250 points, 55 rebounds and 72 assists.
Paul George added 22 points, 10 assists and six rebounds for the Clippers. Their backups outscored Dallas’ reserves, 27-6, getting crucial contributions from Terance Mann (13 points) and Luke Kennard (11 points).
Trae Young and Hawks defeat Sixers in Game 1
Trae Young scored 25 of his 35 points in the first half as Atlanta shook off Joel Embiid and a hostile crowd and held on to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 128-124 in their Eastern Conference semifinal opener.
“The confidence in all these guys is high,” Young said. “We’re out here playing for each other. Out here having fun. Everyone’s locked in.”
Embiid raised a sledgehammer as he returned from a one-game absence with a cartilage tear in his right knee. He walked out with WWE star Triple H to a roaring ovation.
Young and the Hawks had the Sixers down for the count from the jump and led by 26 points.
The Sixers — playing in front of their biggest crowd of the season at 18,624 — refused to easily cede home court and Embiid scored consecutive baskets that brought them within three with 1:01 left.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, who missed all three games in the season series against the 76ers with a knee injury, steadied the Hawks when he buried a 3 that gave them needed breathing room.
He even put his fingers to his lips and shushed the raucous crowd for good measure.
“He’s a big shot maker,” Huerter said.
Nets will be without James Harden for Game 2
James Harden will miss Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Monday night because of right hamstring tightness.
Harden left Brooklyn’s 115-107 victory over Milwaukee in Game 1 on Saturday night after just 43 seconds because of an injury that troubled him during the latter part of the regular season.
He grabbed at the upper part of his right leg on a drive to the basket on Brooklyn’s opening possession and checked out after the Nets had to take a timeout.
The All-Star guard missed 18 straight and 20 of 21 games late in the season. He missed games on April 1 and 4 with what was called tightness, then returned April 5 but made it through just four minutes before leaving again, with that injury termed a strain. He didn’t play again until May 12, missing two losses to the Bucks during that time.
The Nets said further updates on his status would be provided as appropriate. Coach Steve Nash said Harden’s recent troubles with the injury made his availability for later in the series hard to predict.