NEW YORK (Agencies): Trae Young scored 25 points as the Atlanta Hawks held on to win 103-100 at home to the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round of the NBA play-offs.
Monday’s win levelled their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semi-final series at 2-2. The Western Conference semi-final between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Utah Jazz is also level at 2-2.
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both scored 31 points as the Clippers beat the top seeds 118-104. The Clippers’ Marcus Morris scored 22 of his 24 points during a first half in which the LA side, who lost the first two games in the series, led by as many as 29 points at one stage.
Utah trailed 68-44 at half-time but Joe Ingles drained a three-pointer to pull them within 112-102 with just over two minutes left in Los Angeles. But the hosts scored six of the next seven points en route to closing it out, with Donovan Mitchell’s game-high 37 points coming in vain for Utah despite him tying a franchise play-off record of six straight 30-point outings held by Hall of Famer Karl Malone (1995-96).
Leonard left the contest with 4:35 remaining, less than a minute after grabbing his right knee following a collision with Ingles. Atlanta overcame an 18-point deficit in the second quarter against Philadelphia, the top seeds in the Eastern Conference.
The other Eastern Conference semi-final is also tied 2-2, but Kyrie Irving will join James Harden on the Brooklyn Nets’ sidelines for game five after suffering a sprained right ankle on Sunday. Irving was injured during the Nets’ loss in game four with the Milwaukee Bucks after a collision with Giannis Antetokounmpo, the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the previous two seasons.
Nets coach Steve Nash said the play was “awkward” rather than “dirty” and that he has “no idea” whether Irving will be fit to play later in the series.