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NBA playoff tracker: Ja Morant drops 47, but Donovan Mitchell-led Jazz even series

·6 min read
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Welcome to the Yahoo Sports NBA playoff tracker, your daily one-stop shop for all the latest game results from each NBA playoff series. Here's a look at Wednesday's games.

Ja Morant made history in only his second postseason game, scoring a Memphis Grizzlies record 47 points, also a career high.

But it wasn’t enough as the Utah Jazz welcomed back Donovan Mitchell and secured the 141-129 win in Game 2 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series on Wednesday in Salt Lake City. The series is tied at 1-1.

Morant scored 73 points in his first two playoff games, the most by any player since the Minneapolis Lakers’ George Mikan had 75 in the 1949 season in the Basketball Association of America.

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Mitchell made his presence known early in his first game back since he suffered an ankle injury on April 16. The Jazz’s two-time All-Star dropped 12 points in the first quarter en route to 25 points.

The Jazz built a 20-point lead at halftime, but the Grizzlies chipped away in the third quarter and got the lead down to two points. But Utah wasn’t going away and ripped off a 10-0 run highlighted by two monster dunks by Rudy Gobert.

Gobert had his second straight playoff double-double, 21 points and 13 boards, and a highlight-worthy block on Morant.

Utah knocked down a playoff franchise-record 19 3-pointers, led by Mitchell’s five.

Mike Conley also had a double-double for Utah with 20 points and 15 assists. The 15 assists matched his career high.

The Grizzlies dealt with foul trouble throughout with Dillion Brooks, Jonas Valanciunas, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Morant having to sit at various times.

Brooks scored 23 points, while Valanciunas had 18 and Jackson added 16.

Game 3 is 9:30 p.m. ET Saturday in Memphis.

Knicks mount furious 2nd-half rally to tie series with Hawks

New York Knicks fans were ready for Trae Young.

For a half, the New York Knicks were not.

The Atlanta Hawks guard/newly crowned villain of Madison Square Garden exploded for 20 first-half points on Wednesday as Atlanta raced out to a 57-44 halftime lead, threatening to run away with a 2-0 series lead on New York's home court.

But the Knicks weren't down for the count. New York responded after halftime with a 32-18 third-quarter run to carry a 76-75 lead into the fourth quarter. With MSG rocking, the Knicks finished the job in the fourth to secure a 101-92 win and tie the series at 1-1.

Knicks point guard Derrick Rose celebrates late in the fourth quarter against the Hawks during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference first-round series at Madison Square Garden on May 26, 2021. (Elsa/Getty Images)
Knicks point guard Derrick Rose celebrates late in the fourth quarter against the Hawks during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference first-round series at Madison Square Garden on May 26, 2021. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Derrick Rose leads way, gets second-half start

Derrick Rose led the charge. After scoring 14 points off the bench in the first half, he got the start in the pivotal third quarter. When he was done, he'd tallied a team-high 26 points to go with four assists and four rebounds. 

Julius Randle got off to another miserable start, scoring two first-half points on the heels of Game 1's 6-of-23 effort from the field. But he picked up the pace after halftime and finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. His 5-of-16 effort from the field is continued cause for concern, but secondary for the Knicks after Wednesday's win. 

Rookie Obi Toppin made the most of his limited run, tallying eight points and three rebounds in just 12 minutes of play while adding a rim-rocking second-half alley-oop that brought MSG to its collective feet. 

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The Knicks needed the strong effort from everyone involved as the Hawks refused to fade, tying the game at 91-91 with just over five minutes remaining. Young continued to endure antagonism from Knicks fans who added a chant about his hairline to the more vulgar taunts that made headlines in Game 1. 

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He finished with 30 points and seven assists on 11-of-20 shooting, including a 4-of-7 effort from 3-point distance. But the cold shooting of his teammates down the stretch ultimately doomed the Hawks, who shot 36.9% from the field and allowed the Knicks to close the game on a 10-1 run.

The series switches venues to Atlanta's State Farm Arena for Friday's Game 3, where the attendance cap has been increased to 7,625, a little less than half the arena's capacity. Those fans will surely do their best to give the Knicks a taste of the welcome their Hawks received at MSG.

76ers dominate Wizards to take 2-0 series lead

Ben Simmons set the pace early for the Philadelphia 76ers, and they cruised to a 120-95 victory against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night. The victory gives the Sixers a 2-0 series lead in the first round.

Simmons collected 22 points on 11-for-15 shooting, nine rebounds, eight assists and two steals in just 29 minutes. The 6-foot-10 point guard posted up smaller defenders from the jump, dominating in the post.

Joel Embiid added 22 points and seven rebounds, and Tobias Harris contributed 19 points and nine rebounds for the Sixers. Philadelphia's top three players shot a combined 28 for 40 from the field.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 26: Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers celebrates a dunk during the first quarter against the Washington Wizards during Game Two of the Eastern Conference first round series at Wells Fargo Center on May 26, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Ben Simmons celebrates a dunk during the first quarter against the Washington Wizards during Game Two of the Eastern Conference first round series at Wells Fargo Center on May 26, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

No Sixers starters took the court in the fourth quarter. A bench lineup of George Hill, Tyrese Maxey, Furkan Korkmaz, Matisse Thybulle and Dwight Howard stretched a 14-point advantage through three quarters into a lead as large as 27 midway through the fourth. The Sixers shot 56% from the field as a team and made nine of their 21 3-point attempts (43%). They never trailed by fewer than 12 points in the second half.

Bradley Beal scored a game-high 33 points for the Wizards on 14-for-28 shooting. His Washington teammates combined to shoot 36% from the field. The Wizards were just 2 for 22 from 3-point range. Washington star Russell Westbrook suffered an ankle injury 92 seconds into the fourth quarter and did not return. He had posted 10 points on 2-for-10 shooting, 11 assists and six rebounds at the time of his injury.

Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday night in Washington at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

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