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duke in the nba: tatum excels in conference finals, williamson cleared for offseason

<p>jayson tatum scored a double-double in game 5 of the conference finals.</p>

jayson tatum scored a double-double in game 5 of the conference finals.

the nba playoffs are nearing the homestretch, and just one former blue devil remains. the blue zone takes a look at his path to the finals, as well as recent improvements in another duke product's injury:

tatum and the celtics are one win away from nba finals

in tuesday’s crucial game 5 in miami, the celtics defeated no. 1-seed miami 93-80. after trailing by five at the end of the first half, boston took a big lead in the third quarter, outscoring the heat 32-16 to secure its chance to finish the series at home. tatum nearly tallied a triple-double, scoring 22 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and nine assists, instead getting his third double-double of the playoff season. the only celtic who scored more than tatum was jaylen brown, with 25. with the game 5 win, boston has taken a 3-2 lead in the eastern conference finals and, depending on the outcome of the next contest, will either advance to the nba finals or return to miami for a decisive game 7.

williamson cleared for offseason without restrictions

after missing the entire 2021-2022 nba season due to a broken fifth metatarsal, the pelicans announced recent imaging of williamson's right foot showed improvement, clearing him to play during the offseason. with the former duke star cleared from all restrictions, he is set to begin working towards a return for the 2022-2023 season. injuries have been a problem throughout his nba career, as williamson has only played 85 games across three seasons, including only 24 during his rookie season. however, the spartanburg, s.c., native has played at a very high level when healthy, with averages of 25.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists across his career. 

though the pelicans were eliminated from the playoffs as the lowest seed in the western conference, next season may see a significant change with his return. with the combination of the small forward, former blue devil brandon ingram, starting shooting guard cj mccollum and the rest of the team, new orleans may likely be a crew to watch out for next playoff season.

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