NBA·NBA ROUNDUP

Hawks head to East finals after Game 7 win over 76ers

Trae Young and the Hawks are taking their stunning turnaround to the Eastern Conference finals. Young made a late 3-pointer and scored 21 points to help Atlanta win for the third time in the series in Philadelphia, a 103-96 victory over the top-seeded 76ers on Sunday night in Game 7.

Booker's 1st triple-double leads Suns to Game 1 win over Clippers

Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks celebrates during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers during Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Sunday. (Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Trae Young and the Hawks are taking their stunning turnaround to the Eastern Conference finals.

Young made a late 3-pointer and scored 21 points to help Atlanta win for the third time in the series in Philadelphia, a 103-96 victory over the top-seeded 76ers on Sunday night in Game 7.

The Hawks will open their first East finals since 2015 against the Bucks on Wednesday night in Milwaukee.

Atlanta had been 0-9 in Games 7s on the road.

But the Hawks ignored their ignominious history and got one in Philly, where they already won in Game 1 and Game 5 and knocked out Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and closed the book on the Process.

Not so deep down, not even the Hawks could have seen this coming, especially in March when they were 14-20, 11th in the Eastern Conference and fired coach Lloyd Pierce.

Under coach Nate McMillan, the Hawks turned into birds of prey and Young led a charge into the postseason for the first time since 2017 that kept rolling with a first-round win over New York.

Embiid, the NBA MVP runner-up, Simmons and a high-priced cast of stars were supposed to put the upstart Hawks in their place. It never happened.

Young shook off an otherwise off night from the floor and kept shooting until he hit that 3 for a 93-87 lead with 2:31 left in the game.

Kevin Huerter, who led the Hawks with 27 points, sealed the win with three free throws and the packed house of 18,624 fell as silent as it was when the season opened without any fans.

Sixers fans let the home team have it and booed them off the court and were reprimanded by the public address announcer for throwing trash on the court.

Embiid scored 31 points.

This marked only the second year since 1973 — when the NBA began seeding for the playoffs by conference — when neither No. 1 seed will make the conference finals. West No. 1 seed Utah was eliminated by the Clippers.

Suns defeats Clippers

Devin Booker had 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists for his first career triple-double and the Phoenix Suns overcame Chris Paul's absence to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 120-114 on Sunday in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.

Paul sat out because of COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Clippers star Kawhi Leonard missed his third straight game because of a sprained right knee.

Tied at 93 to start the fourth, the Suns went on a 12-2 run and pulled ahead 105-95 on Cam Johnson's dunk with 8:08 remaining. The Clippers wouldn't go away, though, cutting a 10-point deficit in the final two minutes to 116-114 when Terance Mann hit a 3-pointer with 22 seconds left.

Booker scored on a dunk on the next possession to seal Phoenix's seventh straight victory, getting a free lane to the basket on the blown defensive coverage.

Game 2 is on Tuesday night in Phoenix.

Booker was productive and efficient in one of his best games of his career. He shot 15 of 29 from the field, carving apart a defense that had to play just 36 hours after closing out the Utah Jazz on Friday night.

The third quarter featured a stellar scoring duel between Booker and L.A.'s Paul George, who finished with 34 points. Booker scored 18 points in the quarter, and George had 15, including a 3-pointer that tied it at 93 heading to the fourth.

The Suns led 76-68 midway through the third but George scored eight straight points — including six points on two long 3-pointers — to tie it up. It was the start of a 16-2 run that helped Los Angeles take an 84-78 lead.

Booker and the Suns responded quickly. Booker scored 12 points — mostly on mid-range jumpers — in the final 3:09 of the third to get Phoenix back on track.

Deandre Ayton had 20 points and nine rebounds for the Suns. Cameron Payne started for Paul and had 11 points and nine assists.

Reggie Jackson added 24 points for the Clippers.

The game was a rare stage for both franchises: The Clippers are in the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history, while the Suns haven't been this far in 11 years and have never won an NBA title.

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