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NBA Playoffs Conference Semifinals, game six top performers: Warriors ousted by Davis

We’re almost at the halfway point in the NBA Playoffs, with three of the four second-round series wrapped up.

We’re almost at the halfway point in the NBA Playoffs, with three of the four second-round series wrapped up before the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics meet for a huge Game 7.

However, with all four series making it to a Game 6, let’s take a look back at the standout stars from the latest Playoff action.

Warriors have no answer to AD

Arguably the most anticipated series of the round was between the sixth and seventh seeds in the west, with the LA Lakers taking out the Golden State Warriors after a 122-101 victory at the Crypto.com Arena.

Given the defeat is being billed as the end of the Warriors’ dominant small-ball era, it’s fitting that the standout on the night was Lakers’ big man Anthony Davis. The defending champions had no answer to AD, who finished up with 17 points alongside 20 rebounds.

AD has been huge on both ends throughout this Lakers’ playoff run, allowing LeBron James to take more of a back seat.

While the NBA’s all-time record scorer did get 30 points along with nine rebounds and assists in a performance just shy of a triple-double, even coach Darwin Ham has acknowledged there’s more to come from him as the Lakers progress.

The Lakers once again had an impressive supporting cast, with Lonnie Walker IV building on his great Game 4 display. He recorded 13 points in 14 minutes, shooting 60% from three.

Austin Reaves also caught the eye, posting 23 points in another impressive display, with the Lakers now 3/1 to be crowned NBA champions.

For the Warriors, the myth of Game 6 Klay was extinguished, as Thompson had eight points, shooting 3-19 from the field.

Miami battle to final four

Miami Heat closed out their series with the New York Knicks on Friday night, claiming a 96-92 home win to wrap up the series in six games.

The Knicks had the game’s clear top scorer, with Jalen Brunson having another big night with 41 points.

Brunson finished the game with a +3 rating across his 45 minutes in a game the Knicks lost by four points. That’s incredibly tough on the Knicks’ big free agency signing, but another great Playoff run has cemented his star status.

For the Heat, they got typically solid displays from Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. The pair had 24 and 23 points respectively, while Bam also made a big impact on the defensive end too.

Ageing guard Kyle Lowry came good in the big moments for the Heat. He’s been relegated to the bench in his second season in south beach, but his role in elevating their second unit has been huge.

Lowry had 11 points and nine assists off the bench for an injury-hit Heat roster, while his willingness to scrap for every ball embodied their underdog spirit, with Miami now 7/2 to win the Eastern Conference title.

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Advantage Celtics as series goes the distance

Philly led going into the fourth quarter of Game 6, looking to close out the series at home, then Jayson Tatum clicked.

The Celtics forward had had a dire night, shown by the fact he was their standout player despite shooting 5-21.

Tatum then hit 16 of his 19 points in the fourth, outscoring the entire Philly team who managed a woeful 13 points in the final quarter.

His shooting woes - and then his impressive turnaround - covered up James Harden’s struggles. The ex-Brooklyn Net finished with 13 points for the Sixers, missing all six three-point attempts.

His game-high five turnovers were also a factor as momentum swung towards last season’s Eastern Conference champions and the Celtics are 4/11 favourites to secure a win in Game 7.

Jokic sends Suns packing

After an embarrassing home defeat in a crunch game in last season’s second round, the Phoenix Suns arguably suffered an even bigger humiliation with their 125-100 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

Denver had broken 80 points by half-time, with Nikola Jokic making the most of De'Andre Ayton’s absence for the Suns.

Without their starting big man, the Suns were exposed and last season’s MVP went to work. Jokic finished the night with his third triple-double of the series, scoring 32 points.

Of course, the big difference for the Nuggets this term is that Jokic has a supporting cast. Guards Jamal Murray and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope posted 26 and 21 points respectively, with Murray also getting an impressive four steals.

Both the Nuggets and Lakers thrived in the second round against teams who couldn’t handle their big men. Now the pair meet in the Conference Finals, as Jokic clashes with AD.

That battle with be crucial, but Jokic heads into the series as the 5/6 favourite to be named Western Conference Finals MVP.

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