Critical Game 5s in the NBA Playoffs

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Just last week, things looked dire for both the 76ers and Mavericks, down 2–0 in their respective playoff series. But since, both underdogs have completely turned the tables, winning consecutive games at home to put the top seeds in both the Eastern and Western conferences under pressure. That sets the stage for two huge games tonight, as Miami and Phoenix look to bounce back and Philadelphia and Dallas look to capitalize on momentum.

Also on today’s docket: a pair of Game 5s in the NHL postseason, Liverpool continuing its push for the Premier League title and an interesting early-season showdown in the WNBA. 

A quick note: Due to COVID-19, sports schedules are fluid and subject to change.

MUST WATCH:

Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat

Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

This series has been turned on its head since the return of a masked Joel Embiid, who, along with James Harden, lifted the Sixers to consecutive wins in Philly that evened the series at two games apiece heading back to South Beach. Embiid may not have won MVP, but his presence has clearly been felt since returning to the floor on both ends, as the Sixers have tightened the screws defensively and found some life on the offensive end. Will they continue to keep Miami under pressure, or will the series swing back in the Heat’s favor tonight?

7:30 p.m. ET, TNT

READ MORE:

  • Joel Embiid’s MVP Loss Doesn’t Diminish His Legacy (Chris Mannix)
  • James Harden Reminds Everyone What He Can Do (Kyle Wood)
  • 20 Thoughts on the NBA’s Wild Weekend (SI Staff)

LINEUP:

 Liverpool at Aston Villa | Liverpool dropping points over the weekend against Tottenham was a blow to the Reds’ Premier League title hopes, making this midweek match all the more important. Now three points behind Manchester City for the top spot, Liverpool can ill afford to drop points again vs. Villa, which is making a push for its best Premier League finish in more than a decade. 3 p.m. ET, USA/Universo, watch on fuboTV

• Boston Bruins at Carolina Hurricanes | Two wins in Boston have evened this series for the Bruins against a Carolina team that looked poised to run away with things after the first two games. A big reason? Young goalie Jeremy Swayman, who has stepped in marvelously in the last two games and will likely get the nod again in Game 5. 7 p.m. ET, ESPN, watch on fuboTV

• Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs | No team has won consecutive games in this series heading into a pivotal Game 5 after the Lightning showed their championship mettle with a seven-goal outburst in Game 4. Can the Leafs ride their depth to a Game 5 victory and push the two-time defending champs to the brink of elimination. 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2, watch on fuboTV

• Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns | The Suns have gone from looking unstoppable to ordinary on the offensive end in the last two games, coinciding with Dallas evening this series after getting handled in the first two games. A big reason for those struggles offensively has been some uncharacteristic woes from Chris Paul, who had played lights-out basketball throughout the playoffs until Game 3. If CP3 gets back on track, the Suns likely will, too. 10 p.m. ET, TNT

HIDDEN GEM:

Las Vegas Aces at Washington Mystics

The Becky Hammon era with the Aces has started fast, both literally and figuratively. The Aces are off to a 2–0 start behind a fast-paced offense that has poured in 191 points combined over its first two games, including an 11-point win over the Storm over the weekend. But the Mystics are also off to a 2–0 start thanks to the play of Natasha Cloud and Elena Delle Donne, a great sign for a team looking to make the next step and contend in 2022.

7 p.m. ET, Facebook

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