Kevin Durant requested a trade out of the Brooklyn Nets
(Basketball news) Kevin Durant has reportedly requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, according to Shams Charania. It was reported the Phoenix Suns are among Durant's "preferred' landing spots, while the Miami Heat were also mentioned earlier in the week as a potential trade destination. Adrian Wojnarowski also added that despite those teams being mentioned on Durant's list, the Nets "plan to move Durant where they can get the best possible deal."
The decision comes after teammate Kyrie Irving announced he would opt into the final year of his contract with the Nets, which was worth $37 million. Shams Charania also noted Irving wanted to "fulfill his four-year commitment" before being a free agent next year. According to the reports, Durant and Irving had no contact with Sean Marks who is the General manager of the Nets, after the opt-in, and there was a "sense of inevitability" that Durant would eventually ask for a trade. The superstar reportedly requested the trade directly from team governor Joe Tsai. .
Durant's contract runs till 2025-26 season after agreeing to a four-year, $194 million extension last season. Although he signed a contract extension with the Nets, there was still uncertainty about his future this offseason because of the horrendous season they had where they got thumped by the Celtics in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Irving was also potentially looking for a new home after hardly featuring for the Nets last season. Wojnarowski has reported that Irving created a list of teams for a possible sign-and-trade, with the Los Angeles Lakers named as his top destination. Durant on the other hand was monitoring the situation and "considering options with his future,"
The 33-year-old is apparently now ready to move on, which could lead to one of the biggest blockbuster trades in NBA history. Durant has 12 All-Star appearances, four scoring titles, one MVP, two NBA titles and two Finals MVP awards. He is an elite offensive weapon 15 years into his career, averaging 29.9 points per game last season, which was tied for second in the NBA scoring charts. The forward also added 7.4 rebounds and a career-high 6.4 assists per game in 2021-22 NBA season
For any team it would require a significant return to land Kevin Durant, but a trade would legitimately shake up the dynamics of the NBA next season. The former Texas star initially joined the Nets in 2019 alongside Irving, but the duo hasn’t found any success with the Nets as many anticipated the duo to win numerous Championships. In three years, the team had just one playoff series win, while this playoffs series they were swept out of the first round by the Boston Celtics. Durant and Irving played only 17 games together in 2021-22 and 27 games in 2020-21. Durant had missed all of 2019-20 while recovering from an Achilles injury.
Celtics bounce back as Warriors take a 2-0 series lead in the finals
(Basketball news) The Boston Celtics bounced back in game 2 when they beat the Miami Heat 127-102 as the series is now levelled at 1-1. For the Celtics, Jayson Tatum scored 27 points, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown each had 24 as Grant Williams scored 19 points, Payton Pritchard and Al Horford each had 10 for them. For the Heat, Jimmy Butler had 29 points in 32 minutes as Gabe Vincent and Victor Oladipo each scored 14 points, and Tyler Herro added 11 points. The 25-point halftime lead was the biggest by the Celtics in any road playoff game, topping a 22-point edge at the break at Chicago in 2009. With this result the series is on a knife's edge as both teams head to Boston tomorrow to play game three, which could be a crucial match for both the teams.
''Guys have pride and looked at a golden opportunity that we kind of lost (in Game 1) and thought we could do much better,'' Udoka said. ''And we did that tonight.''
''We were pretty confident,'' Pritchard said.
''This only counts as one,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ''That's what the experienced players in the locker room and staff understand. We don't like it. They played extremely well. You have two really good teams and we just have to figure some things out.''
''It's a loss, whether you lose by one or by 20,'' Vincent said. ''It's regroup, go back to the drawing board and get ready for Game 3.''
''They came out,'' Heat centre Bam Adebayo said, ''and hit us in the mouth.''
''I got to get my rest, got to get my health back, got to watch and see some things and come out and execute in this game,'' Smart said.
''It has to hurt,'' Butler said. ''They tried to embarrass us. They did embarrass us. ... Overall, we just have to be better.''
The Golden State Warriors have taken a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference final as they beat the Dallas Mavericks 126-117. For the Warriors, Curry scored 32 points with six 3-pointers and eight more rebounds, Looney had a career-high 21 points and 12 rebounds, Jordan Poole scored 23 points off the bench, Andrew Wiggins had 16 and Klay Thompson added 15 points for a second straight game. Golden State scored 62 points in the paint. For the Mavericks, Doncic scored 42 points and shot 12 for 23 and shined in a game of brilliant shotmaking. The Warriors finished 56.1% from the floor. In the first half alone, Dallas edged Golden State 52.3% to 51.2%, including a remarkable 55.6% to 53.3% from 3-point range.
''I feel honoured just to be a part of the ride,'' Looney said.
''We have that attitude and spirit that we're never out of it,'' Curry said.
''We know how good they are as a third-quarter team,'' Dallas forward Reggie Bullock said. ''It's just something that slipped away from us as the game continued to go on.''
''Against someone that good you're just trying to limit the easy stuff,'' Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
''It's the Warriors. They have a great team. They're a championship team. We've got to adjust our defence,'' Doncic said. ''... We were up 19, so it's a tough situation. But we can't look back. What happened, happened. So we've got to move on.''
''We're on the road against one of the best teams in the league. It happens. They held serve,'' Mavs coach Jason Kidd said. ''We've seen this in Phoenix so now we have to go back and just focus on Game 3.''
Kerr asked his team to settle down. ''I told them that if we developed some poise in the second half, that the game would come to us,'' he said. ''But I thought we were so scattered in the first half. Maybe emotionally more so than anything. Dallas came out and just punched us.''
NBA: The Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks make the Conference finals
(Basketball news) The Boston Celtics knocked out the defending Champions as they beat the Milwaukee Bucks in the final game 7 decider 109-81. For the Celtics, Grant Williams scored a career-high 27 points and hit seven 3-pointers, Jayson Tatum added 23 and Boston set a Game 7 record with 22 3-pointers as Jaylen Brown scored 19 points and Marcus Smart added 11 crucial points. For the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 25 points, 20 rebounds and nine assists but he was just 3 of 11 in the paint in the second half, including 1 for 6 the fourth quarter as Jrue Holiday added 21 points and eight assists while Brook Lopez finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds. With this result, the Celtics will face top-seeded Miami beginning Tuesday in a rematch of the 2020 East finals. The Heat beat the Celtics in six games in that series at Walt Disney World.
''As much as it hurt to lose Game 5, I was looking forward to that challenge,'' Tatum said. ''I believe in myself, I believe in this team. I expected to play the way I did and for us to respond the way we did.''
''For me it was like, they're encouraging it, I might as well take advantage,'' Williams said. ''Each one as time went on got more comfortable.''
''Shots that I usually make weren't going in. That's basketball. That's sports,'' Antetokounmpo said. ''Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. There's a winner. There's a loser. You've just got to live with it.'
''This is what we played for, why we played the season out, to have home-court advantage in a Game 7,'' Udoka said. ''If you believe in the basketball gods, those things matter.''
Brown said their coach has been the catalyst to put them in this position. ''We didn't want it to be over. We didn't overcome all the stuff we did during the regular season for that to be it. .. At the end of the day, we wanted to come out, leave it all out there. I think we did.''
The Dallas Mavericks produced the upset of the season when they beat the best team in the NBA in game 7 as they took the series 4-3 with a 123-90 blowout victory over the Phoenix Suns. For the Mavericks, Doncic scored 35 points, Spencer Dinwiddie added 30 as both of them were the first teammates to have at least 20 points in a half in Game 7 since Patrick Ewing and Allan Houston did it for the Knicks in 1997. Doncic finished 12 of 19 from the field, including 6 of 11 on 3s. He also got some help in Dinwiddie who had 21 points in the first half with 7-of-10 shooting, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range. For the Suns, Booker finished with 11 points and shot 3 of 14 while Paul had 10 points and four assists as they shot just 37.9% from the field. With this result the Dallas Mavericks are going to face the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals.
''A lot of people said it would be a blowout,'' Mavs coach Jason Kidd said with a grin. ''They were right.''
''We played all season to be in this situation,'' Suns guard Chris Paul said. ''It didn't work out for us.''
''I can't get this smile off my face,'' Doncic said. ''I'm just really happy. Honestly, I think we deserved this.''
''It's still kind of shocking,'' Dinwiddie said
''That group has a lot of character and integrity and I know how bad they wanted it,'' Suns coach Monty Williams said. ''We just could not execute tonight. Couldn't make a shot early, that messed with us a little bit and Dallas played their tails of from start to finish.''
''You could see some of the pressure was on them early,'' Kidd said. ''They missed some shots they normally make.''
NBA: Warriors reach the Western Conference final, Celtics force game 7
(Basketball news) The Golden State Warriors reached the Western Conference finals after they clinched a 110-96 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. For the Warriors, Stephen Curry scored 30 points, Klay Thompson had 21 and nine rebounds as Poole scored 27 points off the bench and Andrew Wiggins added 17 points. For the Grizzlies, Dillion Brooks scored 30 points while Desmond Bane had 25 points as they were without their star Ja Morant for this all important game. With this result the Warriors reach their first conference since 2019 and will either face Mavericks or the Suns in the final.
''When we doubled him, I hit the ball, l was going for the ball. Obviously, you don't want to see anybody get hurt, I'm not even that type of player,'' Poole said. ''I respect everybody. Obviously hopefully he gets better and we can see him out there next game. ''
''He's getting evaluated now. Nothing further. We just watched the replay,'' Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. ''He was going after a dribble and Jordan Poole actually grabbed his knee and yanked it, which kind of triggered whatever happened, so I'm actually going to be very curious to see what happens after that.''
''I've been through a tough knee injury, and I don't think there's any malicious intent from Jordan,'' Thompson said. ''I don't even think he's strong enough to affect somebody's knee. But we're not out there trying to hurt people or trying to club people in the back of the head on a fast break. We play the game the right way and I'm going to have his back.''
''The shot selection was much improved,'' Kerr said
''We were just too frenetic to start off the game,'' Kerr said.
The Boston Celtics produced an emphatic performance under pressure as they forced game number 7 against the Bucks when they won 108-95 in game 6. For the Celtics, Tatum scored 46, he scored 16 of Boston's 26 fourth-quarter points as Jaylen Brown added 22 points, Marcus Smart had 21 points, seven assists and no turnovers.. For the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo 44 points, 20 rebounds and six assists as Jrue Holiday scored 17 points and Pat Connaughton had 14 points as they combined for 75 of the Bucks' 95 points. The Bucks had won all eight of their potential series clinchers in Budenholzer's four-year tenure but this marked the first time the Bucks had lost a possible clincher since a Game 7 defeat subsequently against Boston in a 2018 first-round series.
''I wasn't going to leave anything out there and have any regrets,'' Tatum said. ''Just trying to do what it took.''
''I don't think anybody's won two games in a row in this series,'' Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. ''Now, it's the final. You've got to go and find a way to get that fourth win and win the series. I think everybody in sport looks for that game. That college feel. That NCAA feel, where if you lose your season's done, if you win, you keep going. It's exciting.''
“Tonight will be the first night since that game that I'll get some sleep,'' said Marcus Smart
''They were tougher than us in that fourth quarter of Game 5,'' Tatum said. ''That was in the back of my mind. That was in the back of everybody's mind, that we couldn't get beat on those kind of plays. Our season was on the line.''
''He went into another mode right there,'' Smart said. ''We'd seen it in his eyes.''
''We had the right resolve,'' Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. ''We talked about it after that game. We let an opportunity slip away (Wednesday) but we still had a chance to make it a better story, I guess.''
NBA: Miami Heat qualify to the finals, Mavericks force game no 7
(Basketball series) The Miami Heat became the first team to qualify for the Eastern Conference final when they beat the Philadelphia 76ers 99-90 to clinch the series 4-2. For the Heat, Butler scored 32 points as Max Strus had 20 points and 11 rebounds, PJ Tucker and Bam Adebayo both had 10 points. For the Sixers, Embiid, the NBA scoring champion, had no significant help and scored 20 points with 12 rebounds on 7-of-24 shooting as Tersey Maxey also had 20 points after James Harden had an abysmal game again. With this result the Miami Heats reached their first conference finals since 2013 and the first LeBron-less conference since 2008.
''Now I'm where I belong,'' Butler said. ''Guess where I should have been a long time ago.''
''I think he's one of the ultimate competitors in this profession,'' coach Erik Spoelstra said. ''He was brilliant all series long. The challenges only get tougher here. He saw there was an opportunity to end this tonight and he wasn't going to let this get to seven.''
''I know I tried. I think for the most part, we tried,'' Embiid said. ''It just wasn't good enough.''
''I'm sure since we got him, everybody expected the Houston James Harden,'' Embiid said. ''But that's not who he is anymore.''
''I came to the conclusion at the end of this game that we were not good enough to beat Miami,'' Rivers said
''I don't worry about my job. I think I do a terrific job. If you don't, then you should write it,'' Rivers said. ''Because I worked my butt off to get this team here. When I first got here, no one picked us to be anywhere. Again this year, the same thing. If that's how anyone feels, write it. I'm going to feel secure about it.''
“Joel, my guy. My brother. Who I'd pick for MVP,'' Butler said. ''It feels good to beat him. I'm not going to lie to you. I've got a lot of love for this city. A lot of love for guys in that locker room. So any time you get to beat a former team, it's special.''
The Dallas Mavericks levelled up the series with a 113-86 victory over the Phoenix Suns as they will have to play game 7 to find a winner. For the Mavericks, Doncic scored 33 points as Reggie Bullock scored 19 points for Dallas, going 5 of 11 from 3-point range and Jalen Brunson added 18, Spencer Dinwiddie had a series-high 15, all on 3s (5 of 7). For the Suns, Booker scored 19 points but was shut out from 3-point range (0 of 4) while going 6 of 17. Deandre Ayton had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Paul added 13 points. With this result the series is tied at 3-3 as both teams will travel to Phoenix to play game 7 on the 15th.
''I don't know if he was playing as if he was trying to do something different,'' Kidd said. ''I think he enjoys the moment. You guys have seen a little bit longer than I have up close. He's not afraid of the stage. I think you guys call it the first time winning an elimination game. He'll be in this situation a long, long time.''
''I don't have enough time to talk about everything that's eating at me,'' coach Monty Williams said. ''I didn't think we understood the desperation they were going to play with. Couple that with the turnovers that we had tonight, it's a recipe for what we just got.''
''Greatest two words in sports,'' Booker said. ''I'm excited to feel the energy. I'm excited to be a part of it. It's a great opportunity.''
''I think we won this game on the defensive end,'' Doncic said. ''We've got another game. That's fun. It's the playoffs, and we're going to give our energy.''
NBA: Bucks take the lead in the series, Grizzlies thump the Warriors
(Basketball news) The Milwaukee Bucks bounced back in emphatic fashion to take the series lead as they beat the Boston Celtics 110-107. For the Bucks, Antetokounmpo had 40 points and 11 rebounds, making 16 of 27 shots as Holiday finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and eight assists and Portis added 14 points and 15 rebounds. For the Celtics, Jayson Tatum scored 34 points and Jaylen Brown had 26. The Bucks trailed Boston by 14 points in a game that could send the defending NBA champions to the brink of elimination but they played some brilliant basketball to take the lead in the series, that's when Jrue Holiday why he was in the top 3 of the Defensive Player of the year. The defending champions are a game away from reaching their second consecutive Eastern Conference final.
''Obviously, in Boston you're down 14 in the fourth quarter, people would say everything's against us. But we came together,'' said Holiday, who also hit the tying 3-pointer with 43 seconds left. ''We live and die like that.''
''Just a great instinctive play by Jrue,'' Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. ''He's a winner. Jrue Holiday's a winner. You ask any player in this league or any coach in this league. He's a winner.''
'If we box out we win that game,'' Smart said. ''They're the defending champs. They made some championship plays. And now we've got to bounce back.''
''Of course, we're gonna be down. Guys are going to be (upset) about the outcome. We outplayed them for 3 1/2 quarters,'' Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. ''We talked about showing our resolve, and we made it tougher on ourselves now. It'll make it sweeter when we bounce back. But we gave up a golden opportunity tonight.''
The Memphis Grizzlies produced an emphatic win to stay alive in the series as they beat the Golden State Warriors 134-94. For the Grizzlies, Dillon Brooks added 12 points for Memphis. Ziaire Williams and Brandon Clarke had 11 apiece and De'Anthony Melton 10. Steven Adams had 13 rebounds, six offensive as Memphis outscored Golden State 24-5 on second-chance points. For the Warriors, Klay Thompson led the scoring with 19 points, Jonathan Kuminga added 17, Curry had 14 and Damion Lee and Moses Moody each had 10. Memphis created history when they scored 77 points in the first half, the most in franchise postseason history. blowouts in NBA history. With this win the Warriors still lead the series 3-2 and again will have the chance to wrap the series on 13th May.
''We've exceeded expectations ever since I've been here,'' Bane said. ''It almost seems like whenever someone thinks we can't do something, we end up doing it. So I never want to put a limit on this team on what we can do because anything's possible.''
'We knew what was at stake,'' Jackson said. ''We didn't change anything, though. We just calmed down, looked at the film, understand what we had to take away from the last game and just went out there and executed.''
''Obviously, this was a very impressive win for our group, great bounce-back for sure,'' Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said.
''When you spew it out, you've got to be willing to take it and not hide from it and not duck from it and not hide from it. Embrace it,'' Green said. ''So, I appreciated the crowd tonight and the energy they brought to the game. If they want to whoop that trick, we're going to whoop it together.''
NBA: Suns blowout the Mavericks in game 5 while the Heat win
(Basketball news) The Phoenix Suns produced a clinical performance to take the series lead as they beat the Mavericks 110-80. For the Suns, Booker scored 28 points, Deandre Ayton added 20 as Cam Johnson came off the bench to score 14 points. Booker now has 804 points in 30 career playoff games. The 25-year-old is one of just 18 players in NBA history with at least 800 points in his first 30 postseason games. For the Mavericks, Doncic finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds, but other than that didn’t really get much support as Jalen Brunson added 21 points. The Mavs shot just 38% from the field. With this result the Suns lead the series 3-2 and are a victory away from making their second consecutive Western Conference playoffs.
''We study film,'' Booker said. ''Coach is coming in with adjustments, we make them and we follow them.''
'The defense tonight - that's the backbone of our program,'' said Williams, who was announced as the Coach of the Year on Monday.
''The one thing we didn't do great today was our pace,'' Doncic said. ''In the last two games, our pace was very good. I think they are one of the best defensive teams, if not the best, in the NBA. They held us to 80. That's pretty impressive. We've got to move the ball and have better pace - faster.''
The Miami Heat produced a dominant performance as they took the series after they beat the Philadelphia 76ers 120-85. For the Heats, Jimmy Butler scored 23 points, Max Strus added 19 points and 10 rebounds as Victor Oladipo scored 13 for Miami, which got 12 from Bam Adebayo and 10 apiece from Tyler Herro and P.J. Tucker. For the Sixers, Joel Embiid scored 17 points for fourth-seeded Philadelphia, which got 14 from James Harden and 12 from Tobias Harris. The 35-point margin of victory matched the biggest so far in this year's playoffs. With this result the Heat are also one victory away from making their first Eastern Conference for the first time since LeBron James left the Miami Heat for the Cavaliers.
''They were just more physical,'' 76ers coach Doc Rivers said. ''We didn't run anything. We didn't run our stuff very well. We played at a snail's pace ... everything they did tonight was harder and better. Their stuff was better, their energy was better.''
''Tonight, we weren't focused enough,'' Embiid said.
''It's just one game,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ''They know it. We know it.''
''He's tough,'' Rivers said. ''I think he knew going into all this that there's going to be a couple times when he gets hit in the face. It's going to happen. ... He got up and said he was fine, after a while.''
''I was humbled to be a part of that moment,'' Spoelstra said. ''He's such a great fan there. Over the years, I've said hello a few times, but that was the best interaction. That was genuine. It was cool.''
NBA: Celtics level the series and Warriors win against the Grizzlies
(Basketball news) The Boston Celtics leveled the series as they beat the Milwaukee Bucks 116-108. For the Celtics, Horford and Jayson Tatum scored 30 points. Horford had 16 points and Tatum 12 in the fourth quarter alone to help the Celtics outscore the defending NBA champions 43-28. Both Jaylen Brown and defensive player of the year Marcus Smart had 18 points each. For the Bucks, Antetokounmpo had 34 points, 18 rebounds and five assists as Jrue Holiday scored 16 points but shot 5 of 22. With this result, game 5 becomes very important as both the teams head to Milwaukee on 11th May.
''I usually just kind of go about my business,'' said Horford, who finished with a career playoff-high 30 points. ''I do get excited, but I guess you kind of pick your spots, your moments. This was an emotional game.''
“We love Al,'' said Boston's Marcus Smart. ''Best vet we've ever had. Best vet I've ever had. He comes in, never changes whether things are going bad or good. He's going to be him, and nine times out of 10, it's going to work out in our favor.''
''I played a terrible Game 3 and we almost had a chance to win,'' Tatum said. ''That was really the toughest part, was knowing that. I was really eager to get back and ready to play.''
''I don't really know what he said to me, but the way he was looking at me and the way he was going about it, really didn't sit well with me,'' Horford said. ''At that point, I think something switched with me in the game.''
''We all understood the importance of this game,'' Horford said. ''We felt at the end of Game 3 we were in position to win the game, and we didn't. I was just really locked in. I understood at that moment what we needed to do as a group. I really just did whatever it took tonight. It was one of those types of nights.''
''Down the stretch, they made shots,'' Antetokounmpo said. ''They executed well. They were disciplined.''
The Golden State Warriors are one game away from reaching the Western Conference finals as they beat the Memphis Grizzlies 101-98. For the Warriors, Curry converted eight free throws over the final 45.7 seconds on the way to 32 points as Poole scored 14 off the bench, Andrew Wiggins added 17 points in a well fought victory for them. For the Grizzlies, Tyus Jones had 19 points, six rebounds and five assists as they missed injured All-Star Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks returned from a one-game suspension and struggled mightily, missing a 3-point try with 53 seconds left and finishing 5 for 19 with 12 points, eight assists and five rebounds as Jaren Jackson top scored with 21 points. With this result, the Warriors take a 3-1 lead and have a chance to seal the series on 11th May.
''Obviously there's butterflies, because again you're going into the game with a certain mindset and it's a big game. Every game that we play at this point in the year, it's huge,'' said Brown, who agreed Sunday to become the Sacramento Kings' new coach after this postseason run.
''So to have that kind of thrown at you, you've got to switch gears because I know what my responsibilities are going in as Mike Brown the assistant coach, and it changes.'
''His head coaching record for a Warrior playoff game I think is undefeated,'' Klay Thompson said. ''We did miss Steve a lot, just his voice, his presence, but we've been here before, 2017 when Mike took over and we rolled off a lot of wins, so I reflected on that a lot.''
''Nothing we figured out, it was just don't let the first three quarters influence the fact that we still had a chance to win the game,'' Curry said. ''Shoot the shots you think you can make, play aggressively, and take care of the ball. We did all of those things.''
''It's a tough one. It's a tough pill to swallow. It felt like we were leading the whole game,'' Jones said. ''It felt like we were in a good position. It felt like we put ourselves in a good position to win a ballgame and things didn't go our way down the stretch.''
''He forced a couple. Trying to get his groove back,'' Jenkins said. ''Obviously he's been off for a couple of days. But when he was playing with force under control, I loved the playmaking that he had.''
NBA: Sixers and Mavericks draw their respective series level
(Basketball news) The Philadelphia 76ers have completed the comeback, they have levelled up the series to 2-2 as they defeated Miami Heat 116-108. For the Sixers, Harden scored 31 points, Embiid had 24 points and 11 rebounds as Tyrese Maxey added 18 points in a commanding win. For the Heats, Jimmy Butler scored 40 points on 13 of 20 shooting from the floor, 12 of 13 free throws and nearly one-man willed them to victory as Bam Adebayo scored 21 points and Victor Oladipo added 15 points from the bench. With this victory the Sixers level the series to 2-2 as they will travel to Miami to play the fifth game on 10th May.
''I don't think we've played our best basketball,'' Embiid said.
''Joel's going to be able to play,'' coach Doc Rivers said, laughing.
''It's just James being James,'' Rivers said. ''I felt like he was going to have a big game tonight. You can just sense it.''
''Nothing really changed. I just made shots,'' Harden said.
''I thought we had some really good looks. We just missed them,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
''He's a good player. He did what he was supposed to do,'' Butler said of Harden.
''That's why he's here,'' Embiid said. ''It's only 2-2. We've got a lot of work to do. But I'm excited about what we can accomplish.''
The Dallas Mavericks also made a comeback in the Western Conference semifinals playoffs as they beat the Phoenix Suns 111-101. For the Mavericks, Doncic scored 26 points as Dorian Finney-Smith scored a playoff career-high 24 points on the most 3-pointers he's had, regular season or playoffs. He was 8 of 12 from deep, including consecutive 3s for a 14-point lead midway through the fourth while Brunson scored 18 points and Davis Bertans started 4 of 4 from 3 and finished with 12 points. For the Suns, Devin Booker scored 35 points as Jae Crowder finished with 15 and Deandre Ayton had 14 points and 11 rebounds. Both teams face each other on 10th May in Phoenix.
''I saw he was going for the rebound and I was surprised,'' Doncic said. ''He said to me, 'Did I push you that hard?' I said, `No, not that hard. But it was a smart play.' And he said, `Yeah, I know.'''
''Last year was a learning experience for us,'' Booker said. ''We went to six games last year with the Lakers, six games with the Clippers, six with the Bucks, six with New Orleans (this year). We understand that it's a series. It's the playoffs for a reason.''
''I've got to look back at it,'' Paul said. ''I mean, I can't put myself in the situation to give them that ability to do that. I've just got to look at myself and figure out how to do better.''
''Everybody's got to take ownership, and it starts with me,'' Williams said. ''I made some decisions tonight that put us in a tough spot. Should have kept Chris out of the game, especially right before halftime. And then as a team, we've got take ownership as far as guarding the ball so we don't have to help as much.''
Sixers and Mavericks make a comeback as they keep their series alive
(Basketball news) The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Miami Heat 99-79 as they kept the series alive at 2-1. For the Sixers, Embiid inspired the 76ers with his return from a facial injury as he scored 18 points while Danny Green and Tyrese Maxey each scored 21 points. For the Heat, Tyler Herro had 14 and joined Jimmy Butler as the only Heat in double digits. Butler led the Heat with 33 points. With this result the 76ers are back in the series as the Miami Heat still lead the series 2-1, the next match is on 8th in Philadelphia.
''We have a good chance to win it all,'' Embiid said. ''We've got to stay healthy.''
''Any plan where you can have Joel as part of the plan is a much better plan,'' coach Doc Rivers said.
''You add Job to any team, home or away, the game, the scouting report, it changes drastically,'' Butler said. ''It's been like that for his entire career.''
''Even when he's not his normal self, he helps us a ton,'' Green said.
''I knew his presence would have an impact,'' Rivers said. ''I was positive of that.''
''It's about doing whatever possible to protect it as much as possible,'' Embiid said.
''This is what you have to expect,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ''He's an MVP-caliber player.''
The Dallas Mavericks also made a comeback against the number 1 seed in the West as they beat the Phoenix Suns 103-94. For the Mavericks, Luka Doncic had 26 points and 13 rebounds as Brunson led the scoring with 28 points, Bullock scored 15 and Finney-Smith scored 14, as both had four 3s apiece. For the Suns, Booker scored 18 but was just 2 of 7 inside the 3-point line, and Paul had 12 on just nine shots (five made) in the Suns' lowest-scoring game of the season. With this result the Mavericks have kept the series alive and will hope to tie the series on 8th May.
''It felt like all seven of 'em were back to back to back,'' said Paul, whose career high for a game in the playoffs is eight turnovers. ''If I don't turn the ball over like that I feel like it's a different game.''
''I found a way to bounce back tonight,'' Brunson said. ''I just can't be satisfied with this. Sunday's going to be another brutal game. I have to bring the same energy, the same intensity, the same everything.''
''When you see your best player doing that, it kind of sets a mood,'' Dorian Finney-Smith said.
''It wasn't like us,'' Booker said. ''You can credit them. They came out, played hard, played desperate. That's that. We've got a series.''
NBA: Suns beat the Mavs as Heat take a 2-0 lead against the Sixers
(Basketball news) The Phoenix Suns are two games away from reaching the Western Conference finals as they beat the Dallas Mavericks 129-109. For the Suns, the 12-time All-Star Chris Paul scored 28 points, including 14 in another spectacular final period as Booker led the Suns with 30 points on 11-of-19 shooting, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range. For the Mavs, Luka Doncic scored 35 points on 13-of-22 shooting as Reggie Bullock added 16 points. With this win the Suns head to Dallas in game 3 tomorrow.
''You've just got to lean on the work,'' Paul said. ''It all goes back to work. You can't cheat the game. You've got to do the strength and conditioning, you've got to lift, you've got to get your rest, you got to get your shots up.
''You guys tell me, you're watching the same thing,'' Booker said. ''It impresses us every time we see it, but it doesn't surprise us. It's just the will to win.''
''We have good players,'' Suns coach Monty Williams said. ''I'd love to sit here and tell you I'm moving the chess pieces around, but we have good players who can knock down shots.''
''He had a great game, but no one else showed,'' Mavs coach Jason Kidd said. ''We've got to get other guys shooting the ball better. We can't win with just him out there scoring 30 a night. Not this time of the year and playing the best team in the league.''
''The mood is fine,'' Doncic said. ''I think a lot of players, it's the first time in this situation. They've got to win four, so it's not over yet. We are going to go back home, our crowd is amazing.''
The Miami Heat beat the Philadelphia 76ers 119-103 as they took a 2-0 lead in the series. For the Heat, Adebayo scored 23 points, Butler had 22 points and 12 assists, as Victor Oladipo scored 19 points on his 30th birthday and Tyler Herro added 18. For the Sixers, Tyrese Maxey scored 34 points, as they got 21 from Tobias Harris and 20 from James Harden. The 76ers' franchise has never recovered to win the series after going 2-0 down in a playoff series. The question going into Friday will revolve around whether Embiid could be ready for Game 3. The league's scoring champion and MVP finalist is recovering from an orbital fracture and concussion and has, not surprisingly, been big-time missed by the 76ers
''It's always nice to win,'' Butler said. ''We just did what we're supposed to do at home.''
''We've just got to go back to the drawing board and try to figure it out,'' Maxey said.
''We don't have a big man right now,'' Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers lamented.
''He's got so many steps to go through,'' Rivers said. ''I don't think he's cleared any of them right now.''
''When it comes down to it, you've got to make shots, especially when you're on the road against a really good team,'' Harden said. ''It's pretty simple.''
'It's not easy to get playoff wins.'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ''We had some great stretches, particularly defensively. We had some really good stretches offensively. ... Our defense really carried us to the win, but we had some really timely offensive plays.''
NBA: Celtics make a comeback in game 2, Grizzlies beat the Warriors
(Basketball news) The Boston Celtics made a comeback in game 2 as they beat the Milwaukee Bucks 109-86. For the Celtics, Brown scored 25 of his 30 points in the first half as Jayson Tatum added 19 points and eight assists. Grant Williams finished with 21 points. Al Horford had 14 points and 11 rebounds. For the Bucks, Jrue Holiday added 19 points and seven assists. Bobby Portis chipped in 13 points and eight rebounds as Giannis Antetokounmpo top scored with 28 points. With this result the series is nicely poised at 1-1 as the next game will be on the 7th in Boston.
''It's the playoffs. That's it,'' Brown said. ''We can't let one game kind of dictate how this series goes. We wanted to be aggressive from the gate.''
''We wanted to come and play like our season was on the line and we did,'' Brown said
''We wanted to match their physicality and punch back tonight,'' Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. ''A big message was show them who we are.''
''The ship's got to keep going. Everybody got to do a little bit more,'' Tatum said.
''Strong bodies, being active, being physical -- that's pretty much it,'' he said. ''It's gotten tougher to find your teammates.''Antetokounmpo said
'It's not Wilt Chamberlain down there (in the paint),'' Udoka said. ''We can get downhill and attack.''
The Memphis Grizzlies also made a comeback in game 2 as they beat the Golden State Warriors 106-101. For the Grizzlies, Morant scored 47 points to match his postseason high as Ziaire William hit four 3s and finished with 14 points off the bench. Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 12 points and Brandon Clarke added 10 points. For the Warriors, Stephen Curry finished with 27 points on 3-of-11 shooting outside the arc. Jordan Poole added 20 off the bench but was 1 of 6 from 3. Andrew Wiggins had 16, going 1 of 7 from 3. Klay Thompson finished with 12 points and was 2 of 12 from 3. The Warriors shot just 7 of 38 from 3-point range.
''That loss was on my mind a lot, obviously missing that layup late,'' Morant said of his miss at the end of Game 1. ''But coming into today, I told myself we needed a win, and we were going to get a win. I just took it upon myself to go out there and do that for us.''
''It's not just the plays,'' Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. ''It's just the force that he plays with, the spirit that he plays with. It's infectious. I've said it since day one. Like, you know he's going to be built for moments like this, and this is super impressive''
''Ja is a very great player,'' Clarke said.
Also read: NBA: Heats overcome the Sixers as Mavs lose to the Suns
NBA: Mavericks, Pelicans and 76ers all seal their respective series
(Basketball news) The Phoenix Suns qualified to the semifinals of the Western Conference playoffs as they beat the New Orleans Pelicans 115-109 in game 6. For the Suns, Paul shot 14-for-14 as he scored 33 points, he was 14 for 14 - the most field goals without a miss in an NBA playoff game as Deandre Ayton had 22 points for Phoenix on 10-of-12 shooting. For the Pelicans, Ingram led the scoring with 21 points and 11 assists, CJ McCollum and Hebert Jones both scored 16 points. With this result the Suns will now face the Dallas Mavericks in the next round of playoff fixtures.
''I had no clue,'' said Paul, the former Pelican who finished with 33 points and eight assists. ''I think maybe at halftime I said I might have to shoot a little more. But throughout the game, I was literally managing the game. I wasn't taking heat checks. I don't shoot enough to have heat checks.''
''I can't even say because he's done it so many times,'' Williams said. ''This is probably No. 1 because it just happened, and I knew how special New Orleans is to him. He cares deeply about the city and the fans and the children. It's probably No. 1 because it just happened,''
'It was really nice to have him back,'' Paul said. ''All that pressure they've been doing against us the whole series, especially the last three games, was tough. (Booker) was on that left wing, and I don't know if they forgot or didn't realize who he was, but I saw how they were shifted.''
''It caught me off guard, too,'' Booker said. ''You don't normally get clean looks like that.''
The Dallas Mavericks qualified to the semi finals of the Western Conference playoffs as they beat the Utah Jazz 98-96 in game 6. For the Mavericks, Doncic and Jalen Brunson each scored 24 points but the main reason they won was because Mavericks shot 56% (14 of 25) from 3-point range after halftime. For the Jazz, Donovan Mitchell had 23 points, nine assists and eight rebounds as Bogdanovic finished with 19 points, but couldn't make the shot that would have won it. With this result the Mavericks will now take on the Suns in the 2nd round of playoffs.
''I like sharing the ball. If they're going to hit or blitz me, someone is going to be open,'' Doncic said.
''It was all about trust,'' Dallas coach Jason Kidd said. ''Luka did an incredible job knowing they were going to try and take the ball out of his hands.''
''Playing with Luka the past couple years, I should expect the ball when I'm not expecting it. The ball found me,'' Brunson said of his clutch 3-pointer.
''We have played a lot of games in the playoffs and still haven't got to the second round. But we feel like we can do something great this year, so we all expected to get this win,'' Finney-Smith said.
''I'm speechless,'' Mitchell said about failing to advance. ''It's on me. I put a lot of pressure on myself, but I just wasn't who I needed to be. I need to be better.''
The Philadelphia 76ers made it to the next round of playoffs as they beat the Toronto Raptors 132-97 to win the series 4-2. For the Sixers, Joel Embiid had 33 points and 10 rebounds, Harden added 22 points and 15 assists as Tyrese Maxey scored 25 points, going 5 for 12 from 3-point range, and Tobias Harris had 19 points and 11 rebounds. For the Raptors, Chris Boucher had 25 points and 10 rebounds , Pascal Siakam fouled out with 24 points, Gary Trent Jr. had 19 and Scottie Barnes 18. With this result the 76ers now take on the number 1 seed from the East, the Miami Heat, in the Eastern Conference semifinal playoffs.
''We weren't going back to Philly for a Game 7,'' Harden said
''They're good, they're deep, they're veterans,'' 76ers coach Doc Rivers said about the Heat. ''We've got to go play grown men, and we're looking forward to the challenge.''
We fought hard but we didn't get the outcome we wanted,'' Siakam said. ''We just have to go back and learn from it.''
''I thought we went through a tremendous amount this year,'' Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. ''They just kept fighting, kept playing, kept getting better and kept figuring it out.''
''At halftime I looked and we had great shots, and we were going to keep getting those,'' Rivers said. ''I told them `If we can rebound the ball, we can stretch this lead quickly.' That was quicker than I thought, obviously. We made every shot.''
NBA: Warriors prevail to the next round as the Bucks overcome the Bulls
(Basketball news) The Golden State Warriors progressed to the next round after they won the series 4-1 when they defeated the Denver Nuggets 102-98 in game 5. For the Warriors, Curry scored 30 points in his return to the starting five as Draymond Green had 11 points and six assists. Klay Thompson and Gary Payton added 15 points. For the Nuggets, Jokic scored 12 of his 30 points in the final 3:46 and finished with 19 rebounds and eight assists as DeMarcus Cousins contributed 19 points off the bench against his former Golden State team, and Aaron Gordon added 15 points and nine rebounds. With this result the Warriors progressed to the semifinals where they will face the winners of Grizzlies vs Timberwolves.
''Tonight was just a weird feeling because we hadn't been there in a while,'' said Curry, last season's NBA scoring champion. ''We wanted it so bad, it kind of made it a lot more difficult on ourselves. But we still remember how to do it, which is a good feeling.''
''I was a witness, letting him cook and creating plays for him. Try to get him open looks and after that, you know what he does,'' Warriors guard Gary Payton II said.
''He was incredible, both ends of the floor, big shots, big plays,'' teammate Draymond Green said.
''That guy is a warrior. I just don't understand the people that find a way to criticize Nikola Jokic. Is he perfect? No, I'm not saying he is,'' Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. ''But the guy is the definition of a warrior - competitive, consistent. He impacts the game in so many ways. Hell of a season. Hopefully he'll win the MVP again. I think rightfully he deserves it.''He's our leader, our longest-tenured player, our MVP,'' Thompson said of his Splash Brother, ''and without him, life is difficult. Steph Curry is one of a kind, and will continue to do the spectacular and make it look effortless.''
''He's our leader, our longest-tenured player, our MVP,'' Thompson said of his Splash Brother, ''and without him, life is difficult. Steph Curry is one of a kind, and will continue to do the spectacular and make it look effortless.''
The Milwaukee Bucks progressed to the next round as they beat the Chicago Bulls 116-110 and took the series 4-1. For the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 33 points and nine rebounds as Pat Connaughton went 6 of 9 on 3-point attempts and scored 20 points, Bobby Portis added 14 points and a career-high 17 rebounds. For the Bulls, DeRozan was held to 11 points while shooting 5 of 10 as Patrick Williams scored 23 points, Nikola Vucevic 19 and Coby White 17 for the Bulls. Vucevic also had 16 rebounds and six assists. With this result the Bucks now face the in-form Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinal playoffs.
“After Game 2, we kind of talked about how we knew what the deal was,'' Antetokounmpo said. ''The team knew what the deal was. We knew what we had to do. We had to be desperate. We had to go out there and compete at a high level, pay attention to detail as much as possible, and help one another defensively. We've got to do it as a team.''
''We've been talking about the depth of the roster, the quality of the roster a lot this season,'' Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. ''Other guys have gotten opportunities and played well. Our defense has tightened up, and we've learned hard from these three games. We've got depth. We've got a good group.''
''This was a lot of our guys' first rodeo, just understanding what it's like to compete in a playoff series,'' Chicago's DeMar DeRozan said. ''There's so much you can learn from that experience, especially going against the defending champs.''
''It was pretty obvious they were going to load up on DeMar,'' Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. ''I thought he played a great game. I thought he generated good shots. He didn't have a high assist total because we really didn't shoot the ball particularly well, but he would have had an enormous amount of assists if we had shot the ball better.''
NBA: Miami clinch the series as Suns take the lead against NOLA
(Basketball news) Miami Heat progressed to the next round of the playoffs after they beat the Atlanta Hawks 97-94. For the Heats, Victor Oladipo scored 23 points, Bam Adebayo added 20 points and 11 rebounds as Tyler Herro scored 16, Max Strus scored 15 and Caleb Martin added 10 points. For the Hawks, Young went 2 for 12 from the floor, scoring just 11 points. De'Andre Hunter scored 35 points, while Kevin Huerter and Danilo Gallinari got 12 apiece. With this result the Heat’s win the series 4-1 to become the second team to reach the 2nd round of playoffs.
''The biggest thing about this game was our defense,'' Adebayo said.
''They're a good defensive team,'' Young said. ''Their team is more of a system than who they have on their team. No matter who they have out there, they can play. ... And when they've got a guy that they're targeting and trying to take away, they do a really good job of doing that.''
''They are a hell of a team,'' Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. ''Those guys compete every second that they're out on the floor and I have a great deal of respect for how they play.'
''We're all committed to the same goal,'' Strus said.
''I thought it was fitting that we had to get this game with a stop at the end,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
The Phoenix Suns took the lead in the 7 game series against the New Orleans Pelicans as they beat them 112-97 in game number 5. For the Suns, Bridges scored 31 points and blocked four shots in arguably the best game of this pro career as Chris Paul added 22 points and 11 assists, bouncing back from a subpar performance in Game 4. Deandre Ayton added 19 points and nine rebounds. For the Pelicans, Brandon Ingram scored 22 points and CJ McCollum added 21 for New Orleans, which was hurt by a slow start and 15 turnovers. With this result the Suns are just a win away from securing this series and progressing into the next round of playoffs as they are 3-2 up currently in the series.
''I'm ready to play tomorrow,'' Bridges said with a big grin at the postgame news conference. ''I'm energized, my teammates keep me going. I'm itching my knee right now, talking about it. I'm ready, I love being out there with my teammates. They're my best friends, it makes it way easier.''
''I just thought that we made some timely mistakes, starting with the turnovers,'' Pelicans coach Willie Green said. ''Fifteen turnovers for 23 points, that fuels their team and that fuels their transition opportunities. That is an area where we know we have to be better.''
''He doesn't miss games, he guards the best players every night and then he has 31,'' Paul said
''We have to change the way we start a game and come out with energy,'' Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas said. ''If we didn't have that struggle in the first half, it would have been a different game.
The Memphis Grizzlies beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 111-110 to take the lead in the series 3-2. For the Grizzlies, Morant scored the last 13 points for Memphis, and his layup with a second left capped the Grizzlies' big rally from 11 points down in the fourth quarter to edge the Minnesota Timberwolves as Morant finished with 30 and had 13 rebounds and nine assists. Desmond Bane added 25 points, and Brandon Clarke had 21 off the bench for Memphis, and Jaren Jackson Jr. added 12 before fouling out. For the Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns led the Timberwolves with 28 points and 12 rebounds. Anthony Edwards had 22, and D'Angelo Russell added 12 and Taurean Prince 10.
''Go get a bucket. Ja,'' Morant said of the game-winning play’
''Obviously, he had a brilliant fourth quarter,'' Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said.
''It's a tough pill to swallow,'' Towns said. ''You feel like you got it after all the mistakes made and everything like that. We hit a big 3 to tie the game up with 4 seconds (left). You feel good. You feel good about going into overtime and having a chance to win the game. Just a learning experience.''
''Thank God that you're as good as you are because we had just fought so hard,'' Clarke said. ''And hit a really tough 3. And I was just like, it's fine, though, because we got 12 and we got a player that can make a really, really big-time finish. And I was like, `Yeah, thank God that we got you, man.'''
NBA: Celtics eliminate the Nets as Raptors make a comeback
(Basketball news) The Boston Celtics produced a clinical performance to sweep the series 4-0 as they beat Brooklyn 116-112 in game number 4. For the Celtics, Tatum scored 29 points, Jaylen Brown had 22 and the Celtics completed a four-game sweep as Marcus Smart added 20 points and 11 assists. For the Nets, Durant had 39 points, nine assists and seven rebounds as Nic Claxton scored 13 points, Kyrie finished with 20 and Seth Curry 23 points. Now the Celtics will face the winners of the Bucks vs Bulls in the second round of the playoffs.
''Couldn't believe it at all, but I think that's what we're built for,'' Tatum said.
''It's funny to us, because we don't duck and dodge anybody,'' Smart said. ''We knew what we were going to come in here and do.''
''A lot of stuff that may factor into why we lost, but they were just a better team,'' Durant said.
The Toronto Raptors after going down 3-0 in the series have made a magnificent comeback to win game 5 against the Philadelphia 76ers 103-88. For the Raptors, Pascal Siakam had 23 points and 10 rebounds, Precious Achiuwa scored 17 as OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. each scored 16 points. For the Sixers, Embiid had 20 points and 11 rebounds playing with a thumb injury. Harden scored 15 points on 4-of-11 shooting. With this result both teams head to Toronto to play the crucial game 6.
''I was terrible defensively,'' Embiid said. ''There's really no explanation. I've just got to play with more energy, move my feet better. I've just got to be better.''
''We always kind of figure it out,'' Siakam said
''We never brought the fight to them at the beginning of the game, really,'' 76ers forward Tobias Harris said.
''They were the tougher team all night, they were more physical all night,'' Rivers said. ''I don't think it was the second quarter. I thought it was throughout the game.''
''Not exactly the way we would draw it up, but we're happy to still be playing,'' Nurse said.
The Dallas Mavericks took the lead in the series against the Utah Jazz as Luka Doncic powered them to a 102-77 victory over them. For the Mavericks, Luka Doncic had 33 points and 13 rebounds as Jalen Brunson, who carried most of the offensive load for them when Doncic was sidelined, scored 24 points. Finney-Smith added 13, and Dwight Powell got the crowd going early with all eight of his points on 4-of-4 shooting in the first quarter. For the Jazz, Jordan Clarkson scored 20 points and Rudy Gobert added 17 points and 11 rebounds in the lowest-scoring game for the Jazz since they lost by 50 at Dallas (118-68) on Nov. 14, 2018.. With this result they head to Utah to play the 6th game of the series.
For his second game, it looks like he's been playing this whole series,'' coach Jason Kidd said. ''His conditioning, his effort on the defensive end. As we talk about rebounding, he's one of the best for us and he did that tonight.''
''They've scrambled extremely hard,'' said Mitchell, who is shooting 20% from 3-point range after being well over 40% the past two playoff years. ''It's a lot to continuously run teams off the line, and they've done a good job of it. They've made us uncomfortable.''
''It was nothing,'' Doncic said. ''It's playoffs, man. There's always going to be attention, but it was nothing. I tried to dunk it. Wasn't successful. These things happen in the playoffs.''
“I don't even remember that,'' Finney-Smith said before smiling. ''I don't even remember last year. Nah, but we put ourselves in a great spot. We've just got to handle our business in Utah.''
NBA: Nuggets make a comeback as Pelicans level the series
(Basketball news) The Denver Nuggets avoided a sweep against the Golden State Warriors as they won game 4, 126-121. For the Nuggets, Jokic scored 37 points as Morris finished with 24 points. He hit five 3-pointers in the third quarter, the most in a quarter by any player in these NBA playoffs, Aaron Gordon chipped in 21 points. For the Warriors, Steph Curry led the Warriors with 33 points despite missing 13 of 23 shots, going 3 for 11 from long range and missing four free throws for the first time in his career, as Klay Thompson scored 22 of his 32 points. With this result the series is now at 3-1 but both the teams head to the Chase Arena in San Francisco in game 5
''Can I say we want them right where we want them? No, but we're alive,'' Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. ''We live to fight another day.''
''The odds are against us,'' said MVP favorite Nikola Jokic. ''But we've beaten the odds a couple of times, so why not?''
''We felt like it could have been 2-2 if we didn't drop that last game,'' said Rivers, who noted the Nuggets finally matched the Warriors' physicality, especially down the stretch.
''It's the worst feeling in the world, missing free throws,'' Curry said. ''It's what I do really well.''
''We needed that,'' Kerr said. ''I felt like we got completely away from the game plan tonight in the first half, because I think we were almost too anxious to win the series.
''We got to go with the attitude like 'All right, it's a must-win,'' Thompson said. ''We'd like to have some rest before the next series.''
The New Orleans Pelicans made a magnificent comeback against the best team in the NBA as they beat the Phoenix Suns 118-103 to tie the series 2-2. For the Pelicans, Brandon Ingram scored 16 of his 30 points in the third quarter as Jonas Valanciunas reasserted himself in the middle with 26 points and 15 rebounds but it was the defence of guard Herb Jones and Jose Alvardo that ultimately won them the game. For the Suns, Deandre Ayton led the scoring with 23 points and eight rebounds, and fellow centre JaVale McGee had 14 points. With this result the series is finely poised at 2-2 as both the teams head to Phoenix for the 5th game of the series on Tuesday.
''Brandon is playing some of his best basketball of the season, and he's doing it on the biggest stage, and it's great to see,'' said New Orleans coach Willie Green, a rookie head coach who kept his young team together in the midst of its early season struggles and now has forced a best-of-three playoff match with the top-seeded Suns. ''I'm just trying to move out of the way and let him do his thing.''
''We've worked so hard throughout the year to become a better team,'' Ingram said. ''My teammates put me in the right spots and are making me look good.''
''It was like the old NBA,'' said Paul, who was picked up in the back court by Jones nearly the entire game. ''I told the refs, `Are we playing the old NBA or the new NBA?' I was fortunate enough to play in both. Regardless, whatever it is, you've to adjust early in the game and figure it out.''
''We can't worry about that,'' Williams said. ''The guys who are on the floor just did it (win) the other day when we played hard and didn't shoot the 3-ball well but still won the game. (The Pelicans) played much harder.''
The Miami Heats are now a win away from going into the next round of playoffs as they beat the Atlanta Hawks 110-86. For the Heats, Butler scored 13 of his 36 points in a dominant second quarter as Gabe Vincent had 11 points while sinking three 3-pointers, P.J. Tucker had 14 points and eight rebounds while Bam Adebayo also had 14 points and eight rebounds. For the Hawks, DeAndre Hunter top scored with 24 points as Trae Young had an off night scoring 9 points only. With this result the Heat's head to Miami knowing a win will take through to the next round.
''Everybody is in my ear about staying aggressive, taking more shots,'' Butler said. ''Tonight was a good one. We've got another one we've got to get.''
''They're doing a great job of showing help and not letting me get to the paint,'' Young said. ''You've got to give them credit. We've got to do a better job of figuring out how to get open looks so I can create for my teammates and myself, too.''
Steph magic again sinks the Nuggets, Mavericks take the series lead
(Basketball news) The Golden State Warriors took a 3-0 lead in the playoff series after getting 118-113 victory over the Denver Nuggets. For the Warriors, Stephen Curry and Jordan Poole scored 27 points each, Klay Thompson made six 3-pointers on his way to 26 points as the trio have been too hot to handle for the Denver defence during the course of the entire playoff series. For the Nuggets, Aaron Gordon added 18 points for the Nuggets and Nikola had 37 points but this was their seventh straight loss in the postseason as the other six losses were by an average of 16 points. With this result the Warriors have the chance to wrap up the series on Sunday.
''We played great down the stretch on both'' ends of the court, Thompson said.
''For Draymond to battle him all night and to make that play in the end was just a huge part of the win,'' Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
''I love how we fought tonight,'' said Malone, who challenged his team to replicate that effort Sunday: ''Are we going to roll over? Are we going to fight like hell and send this back to Golden State?''
''I've been a fighter my whole life. I know how I'm approaching it,'' Cousins said. ''And I expect everyone else in that locker room to do the same. ... I'm a fighter, I'll go out swinging.''
''It was a lovely environment,'' Curry said. ''I love the way we responded.''
The Dallas Mavericks took the series lead by winning 126-118 against the Utah Jazz. For the Mavericks, Brunson scored 31 points playing with a bruised back as they were without their talisman Luka Doncic as Spencer Dinwiddie scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter for them, Maxi Kleber had 17 points and Dorian Finney-Smith added 14 points. For the Jazz, Donovan Mitchell scored 28 of his 32 points in the second half as Bojan Bogdanovic added 24 and Mike Conley had 21. With this result the Mavericks have taken a 2-1 lead in the playoff series as they play the fourth game on Saturday.
''I saw how hard the team was playing when I was laying back there,'' Brunson said. ''It gave me a little mojo to come back out there and do my thing.''
''We're all on the same page,'' Brunson said. ''We're all clicking. We're all talking and communicating.''
''I just told the guys we haven't done anything,'' Kidd said. ''They won at our place and now we won here. We need to put this game behind us and figure out what we need to do better.''
''His shot-creating and shot-making has been amazing all season, but the determination he has coming down the stretch to hit those big shots and the confidence he has is just fun to watch,'' Kleber said.
''He's unique in his physical strength and his ability to kind of keep his dribble alive in the lane where he really uses his body. He's able to play with his feet on the floor, so if you do try to come over and help, he has the ability to find people and spray the ball out,'' Utah coach Quin Snyder said.
The Memphis Grizzlies made a 26 point comeback to win 105-96 against the Minnesota Timberwolves and also taking the lead in the playoff series. For the Grizzlies, Desmond Bane made seven 3-pointers and had 26 points as Brandon Clarke scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half for Memphis, which closed the game on a staggering 50-16 run over the final 15:10 and Ja Morant recorded his first triple double in the postseason with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. For the Timberwolves, D'Angelo Russell had 22 points and eight assists as last year’s number 1 pick Anthony Edwards finished with 19 points. With this result the Grizzlies take 2-1 series lead as the 4th game will be on Friday at Minnesota.
''We found a way to get some stops. Our offence started clicking a little bit more,'' Bane said, ''and the rest is history.''
''That's why we're really the deepest team in the league,'' said Ja Morant,
“No one said it was going to be easy. We don't want it to be easy. We want it to be extremely hard, and it was,'' said Patrick Beverley,
''When we get too high, it comes back and it haunts us,'' said D'Angelo Russell,
“It's really tough. We've got to regroup,'' said Towns
NBA: Celtics win again while Bulls make a comeback against the Bucks
(Basketball news) The Boston Celtics took a 2-0 lead in the playoff series as they beat the Brooklyn Nets 114-107. For the Celtics, Jaylen Brown scored 22 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter as Jayson Tatum added 19 points for Boston, which held Durant without a basket in the second half. Al Horford had 16 points, Daniel Theis scored 15 and Payton Pritchard had eight of his 10 in the final period. For the Nets, Durant finished with 27 points but struggled from the field for the second straight game, shooting 4 of 17 as Irving had just 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting a day after being fined $50,000 for directing obscene gestures and profane language. Bruce Brown finished with 23 points and Seth Curry added 16. With this result the Celtics will travel to Brooklyn to face the Nets twice in the Barclays Arena.
''This was old-fashioned. old-school playoff game,'' Tatum said. ''You just have to grind it out. That's what we did... we just just stuck with it. Proud of the guys and how we kept responding all game.''
“They're doing a good job trying to cut off my scoring, limit my shot making,'' Durant said. ''It's on me to figure it out.''
''They took the lead and they never looked back in that fourth quarter,'' Irving said. ''We don't really have time to be disappointed, to hold our heads. This is part of playoff basketball.''
“I think we did that,'' Udoka said. ''We want to make him work defensively and offensively, have bodies on him the whole time and try to wear him down.''
''I think our intensity dropped a little bit in the second half. We also didn't convert,'' Nets coach Steve Nash said. ''We had opportunities, we didn't convert.''
The Chicago Bulls made a staggering comeback against the third seed Milwaukee Bucks as they beat them 114-110. For the Bulls, DeRozan scored a career playoff-high 41 points as Nikola Vucevic added 24 points and 13 rebounds, while Zach LaVine had 20 points as the sixth-seeded Bulls beat the third-seeded Bucks for just the second time in their last 19 meetings. For the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo led the scoring with 33 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists. Antetokounmpo increased his career postseason point total to 1,715 to overtake Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,692) for the most in Bucks history as Brook Lopez had 25 points for the Bucks. Middleton scored 18 and Holiday 15. With this result the Bucks travel to Chicago for two games as the series is finally poised at 1-1.
''No matter what you did in the regular season, this is a brand new start and new mindset,'' DeRozan said. ''You could see it in all the guys. It doesn't matter if we've lost 20 times to those guys. This is an opportunity for us to compete. We've got to take advantage of it.''
''He's always been positive and he knows the type of team that we are and how resilient we are,'' Bucks guard Jrue Holiday said. ''We just want him to get back as quickly as possible and be healthy so he can come out here and help us win games.''
''We expected those guys to make a run,'' Vucevic said. ''They're a championship team for a reason. They've been there before, so we expected them to make a run.''
''I do think that playing some of these higher-level teams at the end of the year has maybe kind of hardened us, helped us grow,'' Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. ''It's helped us get better. It's helped us be able to have that kind of mentality that we've got to move on to the next play. I think at times this year when we played against good teams, when it started to go a little bit the other direction, we didn't have enough in us to get it back going in our direction.''
The Philadelphia 76ers have one step in the second round of the playoffs after their overtime 104-101 victory over the Toronto Raptors. For the Sixers, Embiid made a 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left in overtime to give the 76ers their third straight victory as he scored 33 points and 13 rebounds. James Harden had 19 points and 10 assists before fouling out in the closing seconds of regulation as Tyrese Maxey scored 19 points and Tobias Harris had 11 points and 12 rebounds. For the Raptors, Anunoby scored 26 points, Gary Trent Jr. had a playoff-high 24, and Precious Achiuwa had 20 as Pascal Siakam and VanVleet each had 12 points. VanVleet shot 3 for 13, going 2 for 10 from 3-point range. Now the Sixers have a chance to wrap the series on Saturday in Toronto after taking a 3-0 lead in the series.
“Great play call,'' Embiid said. ''Tobias set an amazing screen, Danny threw a great pass. All I had to do was finish, and I'm glad I did.
''For him, that's a high-percentage shot, especially on that wing,'' Harris said of Embiid's decisive basket. ''We got the ball to our best player, somebody who makes plays, makes shots.''
''We've been watching his skill set all year long and how great he's been,'' Harden said. ''Tonight was no different. He did all the right things, and when it was time for him to finish the game off, he did that.''
''There's no room to look around and feel sorry for ourselves,'' VanVleet said. ''We did a lot of good things tonight, we played a lot of minutes of great basketball and we're going to have to do it again.''
76ers beat the Raptors again, Steph runs the show against the Nuggets
(Basketball news) The Philadelphia 76ers beat the Toronto Raptors 112-97 in the second game of the 1st round NBA playoffs to take a 2-0 series lead. For the Sixers, Embiid took his lumps and powered his way to 31 points and 11 rebounds as Maxey had 23 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, Tobias Harris had 20 points and 10 rebounds and James Harden scored 14. For the Raptors, OG Anunoby led the scoring with 26 points as Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet each had 20. With this result the 76ers won both the games at home as they get ready to travel to Toronto in the third game of the series tomorrow,
''They put me on the floor a few times and to me, this is where it gets interesting,'' Embiid said. ''I'm like, cool. I'm going to come back with more power and make you foul me.''
That's what we need from the Big Fella,'' Maxey said
''I didn't really want them to set that tone,'' Embiid said. ''I wanted myself and us to set that tone. That's why I picked up that early technical foul.''
''They wanted to muck the game up and play physical, Rivers said. ''I just told our guys to just play through it.''
The Golden State Warriors on the back of a magical Steph Curry performance won 126-106 against the Denver Nuggets to take a 2-0 series lead in the first round of the NBA playoffs in the Western Conference. For the Warriors, Curry came off the bench for a second straight game following a month-long absence with a foot injury, scoring 34 points as no player in the shot clock era had scored as many as 30 points in 23 or fewer minutes in a playoff game. Klay Thompson added 21 points, Curry shot 12 for 17 with five 3s while Jordan Poole scored 29 points to complete a rout. For the Nuggets, Nikola Jokic had 26 points and 11 rebounds before being ejected with 7 minutes left as Austin Rivers managed 17 points off the bench. Now the Warriors travel to Denver on Thursday to play the third game.
''The first half a little pep in my step and the body felt good, I was able to kind of get to some spots,'' Curry said. ''When you make certain shots it feels a little different, it feels a little bit more normal and more emotion kind of comes out, especially with that layoff, so it was a nice feeling.''
''It didn't surprise me because we've been watching this for a long time with Steph,'' coach Steve Kerr said. ''You never really are surprised when he has an outburst like that. It's great to see.''
''If you feel like you're getting under their skin you press up a little more,'' Green said. ''If you don't feel like you're getting under their skin, you press up a little more.''
The Dallas Mavericks made a comeback against the Utah Jazz to win 110-104 as they now tied up the playoff series 1-1. The Mavericks were without their star Luka Doncic but the likes of Brunson scored a career-high 41 points, Maxi Kleber had 25 with eight of their playoff-record 22 made 3-pointers.Brunson was the starting point guard in place of Doncic as he became the fifth Dallas player to score 40 points in a playoff game. He is the first Mavericks player to do that without committing a turnover. The other 40-point scorers were Doncic, Dirk Nowitzki, Rolando Blackman and Nick Van Exel. For the Jazz, Donovan Mitchell had 34 points for Utah, while Bojan Bogdanovic had 25 and Jordan Clarkson 21 as Rudy Gobert had eight points and 17 rebounds. The Mavericks go to Utah on Thursday with the series finely poised.
''I started this morning, I was talking to (Dorian Finney-Smith) and I told him, `Doe, I'm going to let 10 3s fly tonight.' And he said, `That's my dog.' And that kind of set the tone for the day,'' Kleber said. ''The mindset is we know they're going to leave certain guys open to shoot. We've just got to let it fly.''
''We did what we had to do, which was win tonight. But we were only focused on tonight,'' Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said. ''We understand what's in front of us, what's coming. It's going to be a hostile environment.''
''We tried to go out there and take both (games). Didn't happen. You know we're not going to overreact. We're going to go home, and we've got to take care of business. Simple as that,'' Mitchell said. ''At the end of the day, we're happy we took a game and go back and take care of business.''
''The telltale is we can't have Brunson have the night he had and also be able to kick the ball out for those looks,'' Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. ''And when those passes are kicked out, I thought we weren't as sharp mentally in our ability to rotate. And that's something that we've done before.''
''I'm just playing how the defense is giving me, just seeing how they're defending certain things. Just stepping into certain shots,'' Brunson said. ''Yeah, the 5-of-5 start is great, but I had the same mentality when I was 0 for 5 last game, or whatever. ... You can't fluctuate whenever, not even when (Doncic) is in or out. Because you need guys to make plays.'
NBA: Celtics win the first match as Suns prevail over the Pelicans
(Basketball news) The Boston Celtics won their first match 115 - 114 against the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the NBA playoffs. For the Celtics, Tatum scored 31 points, the last two on the first buzzer-beater of his career as it was Boston's first buzzer beater in the postseason since Paul Pierce in 2010 against the Heat. Brown added 23 points as Horford had 20 points and 15 rebounds, and Smart finished with 20 points, including four 3-pointers. For the Nets, Kyrie Irving finished with 39 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter as Durant added 23 points but shot just 9 of 24. With this result the Celtics take a 1-0 lead in the series as they play their next match on Wednesday.
''When he took that dribble we just kind of made eye contact. He made a great pass,'' Tatum said. ''It doesn't get any better than that. A buzzer-beater in a playoff game at home.''
I've always been told you have more time than you realise you have,'' Smart said. ''I was about to throw it to Al (Horford) off the dribble and I saw JT cut at the last minute.''
''I think that's kind of a microcosm for our season, guys moving the ball being unselfish,'' coach Ime Udoka said.
“They did a good job of forcing me away, then helping in the paint. I just got to be more fundamental in my moves,'' said Durant . ''I feel like some shots went in and out for me.''
The top seed in the Western Conference, the Phoenix Suns made easy work of the New Orleans Pelicans as they won 110-99. For the Suns, Paul scored 19 of his 30 points during a brilliant fourth-quarter scoring display as Deandre Ayton was particularly dominant on the defensive end with four blocks, and had 21 points and nine rebounds and Booker finished with 25 points. For the Pelicans, CJ McCollum led the scoring with 25 points, but struggled with his shooting much of the night as he finished 9 of 25 from the field. Valanciunas added 18 points and 25 rebounds as Brandon Ingram scored 18 points. With this result the Suns take the lead in the series as they play their second in Phoenix tomorrow.
''Classic Chris,'' Suns coach Monty Williams said.
''It's just reading the game,'' Paul said. ''We watch games all day, every day. We got to watch all the games yesterday. We watched the games today. We know in the playoffs, teams aren't going to lay down.''
''That man's a true competitor, a true winner,'' Suns guard Devin Booker said. ''He wants it that bad. You can see it in his demeanour, you can see it in his walk. It shouldn't surprise anybody. He's built for these moments.''
''We figured out a way to play,'' Pelicans forward Larry Nance Jr. said. ''This is the playoffs and there are going to be ebbs and flows, ups and downs. We are in a chess match now.''
The Milwaukee Bucks started their title defence in emphatic fashion as they won 93-86 against the Chicago Bulls. For the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 27 points and 16 rebounds as Brook Lopez scored 18 points, Holiday had 15, Khris Middleton had 11 and Bobby Portis added 10. Portis also had 12 rebounds. For the Bulls, DeMar DeRozan scored 18 points but shot 6 of 25 as Vucevic had 24 points and 17 rebounds but shot 9 of 27. LaVine had 18 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 6 of 19. With this result the Bucks took a 1-0 lead in the series as they both will face each other on Wednesday in Milwaukee.
''We've got to win the ugly games,'' said Jrue Holiday, whose 3-pointer with 5:03 left put the Bucks ahead for good. ''I feel like today was ugly. It was a battle and it was tough, but it was an ugly one.''
''I thought it was a good shot,'' LaVine said. ''We were down three. I got a really clean look.''
''Every shot I took tonight felt good,'' said DeMar DeRozan, ''I guarantee you that me, Zach and Vooch (Nikola Vucevic) aren't going to miss that many shots again.''
''The whole team was kind of out of rhythm,'' said Antetokounmpo, who didn't score in the fourth quarter while dealing with foul trouble. ''We weren't able to find one another as easy as we usually find one another and make shots. We missed a bunch of open shots today. Usually we make those and we get energy.''
NBA: Hawks and Pelicans make the final playoff berth
(Basketball news) The Atlanta Hawks beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 107-101 in the play-in tournament to earn the Eastern Conference's No. 8 playoff seed and face the Miami Heat in the first round of the NBA playoffs. For the Hawks, Young scored 32 of his 38 points in the second half as Bogdan Bogdanovic added 19 points and Danilo Gallinari added 14 points. For the Cavs, Lauri Markkanen scored 26 and Darius Garland added 21 points as Cleveland hasn't been to the playoffs since 2018, and the Cavs haven't been to the postseason without LeBron James on their roster since 1998. Last year’s Eastern Conference finalist will hope to do one better and win the conference to reach the NBA finals for the first time in their franchise history.
''We took care of business,'' Young said. ''It's a testament to our team that we kept fighting and finished the job.''
''Trae has a great deal of confidence in his game, his ability and he continues to believe,'' Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. ''I didn't see any panic in his play. He came out in the second half, remained aggressive. Those shots started to fall, the same shots that he was taking the first half, they started to fall in the second half.''
''The ball wasn't popping and there was a lot of isolation and standing still,'' Bickerstaff said of his team's troubles after halftime.
''We're headed in the right direction, for sure,'' Bickerstaff said. ''We accomplished a lot this year.''
The New Orleans Pelicans made the playoffs for the first time since 2017-18 as they beat the Los Angeles Clippers 105-101. For the Pelicans, Brandon Ingram scored 30 points and the Pelicans rallied from a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter as CJ McCollum added 19 points and Larry Nance Jr. had 14 points and 16 rebounds. For the Clippers, Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson each had 27 points as it wasn’t enough to make the playoffs this season. With this result the Pelicans secured the 8th seed in the Western Conference standings and now face the mighty Phoenix Suns in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
''That win was big-time,'' Pelicans coach Willie Green said.
''It was an emotional game, a ton of highs and lows,'' Green said. ''But for us, our mentality is we're going to continue to fight. We're not going to fade out.''
''Starting off 1-12 and 3-16, you're thinking when is it going to pick up?'' rookie Trey Murphy said. ''Being my first year, I don't know what winning is like. Look at us now.''
''This team is resilient,'' said Nance, ''They started 1-12. That's so hard to pick yourself up from. I've been in seasons like that, it's hard to keep going and keep striving for it
“I am disappointed in us not being able to make the playoffs, no matter who was playing,'' said Clippers coach Tyronn Lue
''Just having faith in each other and staying connected,'' Green said of the Pelicans' mindset. ''Knowing we took their best shot and we're only down 10 going into the fourth.''
The playoff matches tomorrow are:
- Mavericks vs Jazz
- Grizzlies vs Timberwolves
- 76ers vs Raptors
- Warriors vs Nuggets
Nets beat the Cavs in the play in tournament to qualify for the playoffs
(Basketball news) The Brooklyn Nets qualified for the playoffs after they beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the play-in tournament 115-108. For the Nets, Kyrie Irving had 34 points and 12 assists, Kevin Durant added 25 points and 11 assists, and the Nets took the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference. For the Cavs, Darius Garland scored 34 points as Rookie Evan Mobley scored 19 points and Love had 14 points and 13 rebounds.The Cavaliers remained without All-Star center Jarrett Allen because of a broken finger. After this victory the Nets face a monumental task against in form Boston Celtics in the first round of the NBA playoffs. The Cavs get one more chance to secure a playoff position when they face the winners of Hawks vs Hornets on 15th April.
''I know that team very well and they know us very well and it'll be a back and forth,'' said Irving, a former Celtics guard, ''and once you throw that ball in the air, you're going to really see some spectacular basketball.''
“You can't give a team like Brooklyn that has championship aspirations and players who have won championships a 22-point lead,'' Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. ''Again, give our guys credit for getting back in it. But that's damn near impossible to overcome.''
''I always say about Kyrie in a March Madness, one-game type of situation, he's a tough guy to bet against,'' former Cavs teammate Kevin Love said. ''Again, seen this movie before but still - I think that there's just times where he comes out and plays out of his mind and that's why he's a future Hall of Famer. So you just kind of have to tip your hat to him. He hit some really tough, contested shots today.''
The Minnesota Timberwolves also secured the 7th spot in the Western conference and qualified for the playoffs after beating the La Clippers 109-104. For the Timberwolves, Edwards and Russell combined for 59 points as both came through with a steady stream of clutch plays. Edwards scored 30 points with five 3-pointers and Russell had 29 points and six assists to send the Wolves to the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference and a first-round matchup with Memphis. For the Clippers, Paul George finished with 34 points after shooting 2 for 10 in the first half as Reggie Jackson scored 17 points and Norman Powell finished with 16 points. The Clippers have a second chance to make the playoffs with a home game on Friday for the No. 8 seed against either New Orleans or San Antonio.
''The game had to go in a different direction,'' coach Chris Finch said. ''That's why you have a team, because a lot of other people step up.''
''Just utilizing what we have,'' Russell said. ''We've got a lot of pieces that complement each other.''
''I took what the game gave me. That's what they gave me. They were scared to guard me, and I took advantage of that,'' Edwards said.
''I'm one of the best defensive guys on earth, and no one can guard him,'' said Beverley, who was in tears during the spirited celebration afterward as Edwards hopped up on the scorer's table.’’
''They played a lot better without KAT on the floor,'' Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. ''They got into us defensively. They switched on a lot more stuff. I just didn't think we made the right plays.''
The other matches in the play-in tournament are:
- Hawks vs Hornets
- Spurs vs Pelicans
NBA: Nets win while Mavericks inch closer to securing a playoff place
(Basketball news) Brooklyn Nets went back to winning ways after they won 130-123 against the Detroit Pistons. For the Nets, Kevin Durant scored 41 points he connected on 14 of 23 shots, 4 of 6 from 3-point range and all nine of his foul shots while adding 11 rebounds, five assists and three blocks as Kyrie Irving added 24 points in his second home appearance since New York exempted the vaccine rule and Drummond added 14 points and 13 rebounds. For the Pistons, Cade Cunningham led the scoring with 34 points. Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey each had 15. With this result the Nets improved their record to 40-36 and are currently 8th in the Eastern Conference standings.
''I want to get better shots sometimes, but like a couple of them are like, `I'm hot, let me risk it,''' Durant said. ''I was just trying to get the best shots that I could. Sometimes it might be over a guy in the lane, but I feel like that's open and I have to keep knocking them down.''
''We can't hang our hat on the second half, we have to play a complete game,'' Drummond said. ''It's never going to be easy to make that turn against great teams. Not that the Pistons aren't a great team. They played a great game, but we just turned it up in the second half.''
''We're going to have to make our staple as a team on the defensive end, because if we're going back and forth in a shooting contest, obviously we'll still be in the game but can lead to mistakes on our end,'' Irving said.
''I know their record isn't good, but they still have pros over there,'' Durant added. ''They still made shots early and gained confidence as a team. This was a good test for us.''
The Dallas Mavericks are close to securing a playoff place after a 128-110 victory over the struggling Lakers. For the Mavericks, Luka Doncic scored 34 points in a triple-double as he finished with 12 rebounds and 12 assists and Reggie Bullock scored 17 points as he was 5 of 8 from 3. For the Lakers, Malik Monk scored 28 points and Russell Westbrook had 25 which dropped to their third straight defeat for their fifth losing streak this season as they steadily slid away from .500. With this result the Mavericks have virtually secured a place in the NBA playoffs as their current record stands at 47-29 and are just one victory away from overtaking the Warriors in third place in the Western Conference standings.
''With those guys out, we're at a talent deficit, so the focus and execution has to make up for it,'' Vogel said. ''This is just the latest dose of adversity that this year's team has faced. When you lose 'Bron, OK, you have to adjust yet again throughout a season of setbacks.''
''We respect who they are,'' Dallas coach Jason Kidd. ''They're dangerous. (Monk) played well. Russ played well. We took care of business from the start. I think those guys set the tone. Three great quarters of basketball.''
The other results were:
- Wizards 94 - 107 Bulls
- 76ers 116 - 118 Bucks
- Clippers 121 - 115 Jazz
Tomorrow’s matches are:
- Pacers vs Nuggets
- Cavs vs Mavericks
- Wizards vs Magic
- Raptors vs Timberwolves
- Celtics vs Heat
- Knicks vs Hornets
- Rockets vs Kings
- Thunder vs Hawks
- Spurs vs Grizzlies
- Warriors vs Suns
- Trail Blazers vs Pelicans
Everything to know about the 75th NBA season as Lakers and Nets start as favourites for the Championship
(Basketball news) The 75th NBA season is starting with the new trend of super teams in fashion as the likes of Lakers and Nets just added more superstars to become outright favourites to go all the way to the final. This year, teams will be back to playing a full 82 game season with full capacity stadiums as 30 teams will be participating, divided into the Western and Eastern Conferences.
A lot of historical records can be broken this season as Golden State Warriors star player Stephen Curry is set to become NBA’s all time leading three point shooter, he needs only 143 threes to overtake the legendary Ray Allen. Gregg Popvich, the manager of San Antonio Spurs begins his 26th year as a coach, needing only 26 wins to pass Don Nelson for the most victories in NBA history. LeBron James keeps on breaking records as he is going to start in his 19th season, with a total of 35,367 points as he's on the cusp of breaking Karl Malone (36,928) to become the second highest scorer in NBA history.
The Eastern Conference this season is packed with talent and will be an interesting watch to see how teams will adjust to their relatively new roster. Last season's champions Milwaukee Bucks will again win the Conference as well as the Championship this season but their task won't be easy especially teams like Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat all having improved significantly this season. Some of the dark horses from last year like the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks also added all star calibre players in their roster to make the Eastern Conference even more competitive than last season.
The Western Conference was full of surprises last season as the Phoenix Suns made the NBA playoffs after 11 years and shocked everyone when they reached the finals. This gives an indication on how tough the Eastern Conference is, at least 12 teams are eyeing the 8 spots in the NBA playoffs. This season again Lakers will be favourites to come out of the Western Conference as they probably have the best roster on paper but the likes of LA Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Portland Trailblazers, Dallas Mavericks can cause an upset and go to the NBA final. The unpredictability and the world class players present in the Western Conference tends to be more in the limelight and this season with each roster stacked the competition is going to be tougher.
The race for this year's MVP will be an intriguing watch as last year's winner Nikola Jokic will be looking to make it 4 consecutive MVPs for players from Europe. The likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Steph Curry and LeBron James will all be looking to retain the trophy this season. Some new aged superstars like Luka Doncic, Trae Young and Ja Morant can also be in the MVP reckoning as they have consistently been their franchise cornerstone in the recent years.
The 75th NBA season tips off tomorrow with two mouthwatering fixtures between Brooklyn Nets vs Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers vs Golden State Warriors at 5 am and 7.30 am respectively. The two championship favourites will battle it out with two former champions is quite a first day matchup for basketball fans. Brooklyn Nets arguably have the best offensive players in Kevin Durant and James Harden in their ranks and will be looking to avenge their loss they had in the Eastern Conference final last season. For the Milwaukee Bucks, their roster remains the same and will be looking to repeat last year's feat by beating the mighty Brooklyn Nets as Ginnas and Khris Middleton will be the key players to look out for if they are to cause an upset.
The LA Lakers are coming off a pretty terrible preseason having lost all their six matches as they will be looking to start the season fresh with their new big three of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook who will be playing for the first time together against the Golden State Warriors. As for GSW all eyes will be on Steph Curry as he will have to wait 2 or more months for his partner in crime Klay Thompson to return to the court after a 2 year long injury. Lakers have mostly got their 2020 winning squad back as LeBron looks to equal Michaell Jordan's six championship rings.