The Philadelphia 76ers are earning more and more believers quicker than expected in this year's postseason, as they advanced on their home floor Tuesday night. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons both had double-doubles as the Sixers won the series with a 104-91 Game-5 win over the Miami Heat. Embiid had 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Simmons added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Sixers, who have advanced to the second round for the first time since 2012. This comes just two seasons after this team won a mere 10 games, as they officially advanced in front of Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill. The rapper was released from jail on Tuesday and was immediately sent on a helicopter to the game, where he rang the liberty bell before tip-off. He even got to visit the locker room before all of that, as he has spent the last few years in jail for violating probation in 2015. There have been reports of some racial injustice involving this situation, which has grabbed the attention of many athletes, especially in Philadelphia. Both Simmons and Embiid visited the rapper during his sentence, and welcomed him back with a series-clinching victory. J.J. Redick led the Sixers with 27 points, as Philadelphia pulled away by outscoring the Heat by 14 points in the third quarter. Kelly Olynyk led the Heat with 18 points and eight rebounds, as the Heat could not send the series back to American Airlines Arena. Philadelphia will await the winner of the Boston Celtics-Milwaukee Bucks series in the second round.
Warriors Hang on to Take Out Spurs in Game 5
The Golden State Warriors overcame their Game-4 loss on the road over the weekend to take care of business on their home floor Tuesday night. Kevin Durant led the way with 25 points as the Warriors overcame a tough fourth quarter from the Spurs to advance to the second round with a 99-91 victory in Game 5. Klay Thompson added 24 points, while Draymond Green added a double-double of 17 points and a playoff career-high 19 rebounds. San Antonio cut what was a double-digit deficit for most of the second half as close as four points with 1:31 to play, but could not capitalize on scoring opportunities late down the stretch. LaMarcus Aldridge stepped up with 30 points and 12 rebounds, including a big three-point play to make things interesting late. Patty Mills chipped in with 18 points, including four three-pointers, while Manu Ginobili had 10 points and seven assists just one game after playing the role of hero in a Game-4 victory. The 40-year-old did say that he would use the off-season to decide whether or not he'd come back for a 17th NBA season. San Antonio was still without head coach Gregg Popovich, who missed his second straight game after the death of his wife. The Warriors' victory sets up a second-round matchup with Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans, who swept away the Portland Trail Blazers with ease in the first round.
Celtics Go Up 3-2 on Bucks at Home
The Boston Celtics have defended their home floor with ease, but going on the road has been the problem during the first round. They will get another shot with hopes of taking the series after once again getting the win at the TD Garden with a 92-87 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in Tuesday's Game 5. Al Horford had 22 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Celtics, who got Marcus Smart back after a six-week absence. Smart came off the bench with nine points, five rebounds, four assists, and three blocks after undergoing right thumb surgery. Terry Rozier chipped in with 16 points and five assists, as the Celtics kept the trend of home team victories in the series alive. Khris Middleton led the Bucks with 23 points, while Giannis Antetokounmpo had a series-low 16 points, along with 10 rebounds and nine assists in a near triple-double effort. Jabari Parker added 17 points and eight rebounds for the Bucks, who trailed by as many as 16 in the loss. They did get the deficit as low as three points in the third quarter, but could not move any closer than that. They ended the game shooting a series-low 37 percent, as they will look to force a decisive Game 7 when they host the sixth game of the series on Thursday night.