The Los Angeles Clippers have made a habit of falling short early on in the NBA Playoffs, and they did so once again on Sunday afternoon. Gordon Hayward had 26 points to lead the Utah Jazz to a Game-7 victory over the Clippers, 104-91, in the Staples Center. Los Angeles forced the win or go home game with a victory in Game 6, but shot just 43 percent from the floor, including 24 percent from three-point range, in Sunday's loss. For Utah, it's their first postseason series victory since 2010, as they got 17 points apiece from George Hill and Derrick Favors. DeAndre Jordan had his seventh straight double-double with 24 points and 17 rebounds, while Jamal Crawford contributed 20 points off the bench for the Clippers. Although, Chris Paul was held to just 13 points, as his team was eliminated in the first round for the second straight season. It is the fifth consecutive year that Los Angeles has blown a series lead in the postseason, as they once held a 2-1 advantage in this one. For now, the Jazz advance to face the top-seeded Golden State Warriors, who swept the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round.
Toothless Thomas Leads Celtics Over Wizards in Game 1
Isaiah Thomas's eventful postseason continued on Sunday afternoon in Game 1 of the second round series, as he got a tooth knocked out in the first half of the contest. That did not stop him from putting up 33 points to go along with nine assists to lead the Boston Celtics over the Washington Wizards, 123-111. Boston as a team made 19 three-pointers while shooting 51 percent from the floor, helping them rally from an early 14-point deficit. Jae Crowder put up a playoff career-high 24 points, while Al Horford chipped in 21 points and 10 rebounds, as the Celtics outscored the Wizards by 23 from the second quarter-on. Thomas settled back into Boston around 4 a.m. Sunday morning after attending his sister's funeral earlier in the weekend. When asked about him still staying active in every game, the point guard stated "there's no excuses when it comes to playoff basketball." Bradley Beal had 27 points and John Wall finished with 20 points and 16 assists in the loss for Washington, who got past the Atlanta Hawks in the first round. Game 2 of the semifinal series will take place on Tuesday night.
Predators, Ducks Earn Game 3 Victories Sunday Night
The Western Conference took over the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Sunday, featuring two semifinal matchups. First, the Nashville Predators returned home to take a 2-1 series lead with a 3-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. Cody McLeod was credited with the game-winning goal, helping his team out-shoot the Blues, 34-23, and improve to 6-1 this postseason. Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi also scored, and Colton Sissons had two assists to support Pekka Rinne, whom St. Louis could not beat. Rinne made 22 saves in the impressive effort, as Nashville avenged a 3-2 Game-2 loss on Friday night. Alexander Steen scored the lone goal for the Blues, who lost on the road for the first time in this year's playoffs. Meanwhile, the Anaheim Ducks cut into their series deficit on the road Sunday night, doubling up the Edmonton Oilers, 6-3. Jakob Silfverberg scored twice, and Anaheim used a quick start to topple the Oilers. Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist, while Rickard Rakell, Chris Wagner, and Ryan Kesler all scored for the Ducks, who led 3-1 after one period of play. John Gibson stopped 24 shots, but surrendered Connor McDavid's first goal of the series, which got Edmonton on the board. Patrick Maroon and Anton Slepyshev also scored for the Oilers, who took the first two games of the series in the Honda Center. Edmonton did come back to tie the game after a slow first period, but Wagner's second-period goal was the tie-breaker, and the eventual game-winner for Anaheim. Game 4 of the series is in Edmonton on Wednesday night.