Doc Rivers was ready to take a break from basketball but says the lure of taking over a team he feels is ready to win convinced him to take the head coach role at the Philadelphia 76ers.

Experienced coach Rivers was sacked by the Los Angeles Clippers after the team collapsed from a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference semi-finals.

Having been in that post since 2013 and leading the Clippers to the playoffs in six of seven seasons, Rivers insisted he was not just going to take on any role.

But the chance to work with a roster that includes the likes of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons proved too big an opportunity to pass up for the 58-year-old.

"I love coaching. I absolutely love it," Rivers said on a video conference call.

"But I was not going to just coach anybody, I can tell you that. I was ready to take a break. It just depended on the team that was available and if that team in my opinion was ready to win.

"When [general manager Elton Brand] called, it was an easy 'get on the plane and take a look' for me.

"You look at these players, these young players, and their potential, the fact that they've had so much success in so many ways at the ages they are already, and where I think they can go, for me it's a job you just couldn't turn down.

"That's why I'm here. Just really excited about it."

Much like the Clippers, the 76ers fell short of lofty expectations this season and fell to a dismal 4-0 defeat to the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.

That led to Brett Brown losing his job and the swift appointment of Rivers, who said he is excited to work with Embiid and Simmons.

"They've won 65 per cent of the games they've played," Rivers said.

"So, it clearly works when they play together. This team is loaded with talent. We just have to figure out how to make it work the best."

One immediate issue for Rivers is to address the future of Al Horford, who struggled to mix alongside fellow big man Embiid having formerly been a rival to the 76ers with the Boston Celtics.

It has been suggested Horford, who lost his place as a regular starter, could be shipped out but Rivers said it is far too soon for him to be taking such decisions.

"I don't know that yet," he said. "I will say this, at some point they'll absolutely have to play together, but I can't tell you what my starting line-up is going to be on the first day of my job.

"I just need more time for that."

Is Doc Rivers the man to complete the process for the Philadelphia 76ers?

For so long, fans and pundits alike have been told to "Trust the Process" in Philadelphia, but things have not gone according to plan.

Having tanked and started from the bottom seven years ago following a drastic rebuild of Philadelphia's roster and psyche, the long-term vision delivered stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

But it has only yielded two trips to the Eastern Conference semi-finals, with the 76ers humiliatingly swept by rivals the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs this season.

Bowing out with barely a whimper at Walt Disney World Resort cost head coach Brett Brown his job following seven gruelling years, and raised further questions over the compatibility of franchise pillars Embiid and Simmons.

General manager Elton Brand and the 76ers will be hoping championship-winner Rivers has the answers, having turned to the former Los Angeles Clippers and Celtics coach on a five-year deal, in pursuit of a first title since 1983.

As Rivers – who departed the Clippers following a postseason capitulation – tries to get the 76ers back on track, we look at the 58-year-old using Stats Perform data.


Rivers crosses the divide

There is no love lost between the Celtics and 76ers in the Eastern Conference, and Rivers has history in Boston.

Rivers spent nine years as head coach of the Celtics, delivering a championship to the storied franchise in 2008.

As the 76ers try to get the best out of Embiid and Simmons, they will be encouraged by Rivers' ability to bring stars Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo together en route to NBA Finals success 12 years ago.

Though, he was unable to take star recruits Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and the second-seeded Clippers to the decider this season.

NBA Coach of the Year in 2010, Rivers coached 827 games with the Celtics – including playoffs – which is the second most in franchise history.

Rivers is no stranger to the Celtics-76ers rivalry, having experienced 42 showdowns – boasting a 25-17 record between 2004 and 2013.

Chris Ford (30 with the 76ers and 439 with the Celtics) and Jim O'Brien (87 with the 76ers and 284 with the Celtics) also coached both teams.


Doc nearing top 10

Whichever way you want to look at it, Rivers is just a few wins away from joining an esteemed group of coaches.

He has 1,034 career wins (770 losses) across the regular season and playoffs – just three victories shy of entering the top 10 for all-time wins in the NBA, level with Red Auerbach. Current San Antonio Spurs great Gregg Popovich tops the list with 1,447.

If you are just looking at the regular season, Rivers has overseen 943 wins (681 defeats), one behind 10th-placed Bill Fitch. Former Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks coach Don Nelson – a three-time championship-winning coach – stands alone at the top with 1,335.


Playoff woes after regular-season success

Rivers swapped the east for the west amid much fanfare and a lucrative pay cheque as the highest-paid coach at the time.

He oversaw the fifth-best record in the NBA with the Clippers – 356-208 in the regular season – but failed to reach the Finals.

The Clippers also top the list for most consecutive seasons with 40-plus wins on nine – seven of those campaigns were on Rivers' watch.

Rivers has a 66.2 winning percentage in his first four seasons with a team, only behind Steve Kerr (80.8), Avery Johnson (73.5), Mike D'Antoni (68.2) and Stan Van Gundy (67.7).

He went 217-11 in his first four seasons with the Clippers, winning at least 50 games each season. However, Rivers went 139-97 (58.9 per cent) over the last three campaigns, failing to reach 50 wins in each season (though he would surely have reached that total this season had it not been for the coronavirus shutdown). Los Angeles finished 49-23.

Rivers was unable to snap the Clippers' curse of never making the Finals – a run of 50 consecutive seasons without appearing in the NBA's showpiece. Only the Atlanta Hawks (59) and Sacramento Kings (69) have been waiting longer, though they have previously advanced.

He is the only coach in NBA history to blow multiple 3-1 leads in the playoffs following the Clippers' capitulation at the hands of the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semi-finals this season. His Clippers also surrendered a 3-1 lead in 2015, as did the 2003 Orlando Magic.

In another concerning postseason trend, there have been seven teams to lose a Game 7 at home by 13 or more points – Rivers was the coach responsible for the last three such games (2017 Clippers, 2009 Celtics, 2005 Celtics).

Joel Embiid welcomed Doc Rivers to the Philadelphia 76ers after the former Los Angeles Clippers head coach reportedly agreed a deal with the NBA franchise.

Rivers is set to replace Brett Brown on a five-year deal at the championship-chasing 76ers, according to ESPN.

The 76ers, who sacked Brown after being swept by rivals the Boston Celtics in the first round of the NBA playoffs, quickly turned to Rivers following his Clippers exit.

Rivers departed the Clippers after the Los Angeles team – boasting Kawhi Leonard and Paul George – sensationally surrendered a 3-1 lead against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semi-finals.

And All-Star Embiid approved of Rivers' appointment ahead of any official announcement on Thursday.

"Welcome to the city of Brotherly Love Coach @DocRivers!!!!," Embiid wrote via Twitter.

"Excited for the future and what we’re building here #PhillyForever."

Rivers is poised to cross the divide, having previously coached the Celtics and guided Boston to the NBA championship in 2008.

The 58-year-old arrived at the Clippers in 2013 and led them to the playoffs in six of seven seasons, but never beyond the conference semi-finals.

Rivers finished with a 356-208 regular-season record at the helm of the Clippers, but was just 27-32 in the playoffs.

He is set to join a 76ers team facing questions over All-Star duo Embiid and Ben Simmons and their compatibility, after Brown struggled to fully utilise the franchise pair together in Philadelphia.

The 76ers, eyeing their first NBA championship since 1983 following two trips to the Eastern Conference semis under Brown, were reportedly targeting former Houston Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni and 2016 title winner Tyronn Lue before Rivers became available.

Embiid averaged 23.0 points, 11.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in the regular season as the 76ers (43-30) finished sixth in the east, and 30.0 points and 12.3 rebounds in the playoffs at Walt Disney World Resort.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis were both named in the All-NBA First Team on Wednesday as the Los Angeles Lakers prepare to face the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals.

The All-NBA selections were announced as the playoffs hot up in Orlando, although the Lakers duo were the only remaining members of the First Team.

James and Davis were joined by James Harden, whose Houston Rockets they beat in the second round, along with reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic.

MVP candidates James and Antetokounmpo were both unanimous votes.

The Los Angeles Clippers' Kawhi Leonard and playoff nemesis Nikola Jokic headlined the Second Team. Jokic led the Nuggets past the Clippers on Tuesday to complete another remarkable series fightback.

Damian Lillard was also included after carrying the Portland Trail Blazers into the postseason, alongside veteran Chris Paul, who impressed following his trade from the Rockets to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Pascal Siakam - disappointing in the playoffs for defending champions the Toronto Raptors - made up the selection.

Meanwhile, in the Third Team, the Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum and the Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler are both still alive as Eastern Conference Finals opponents.

Russell Westbrook, part of the Paul trade, got recognition, too, and was joined by Rudy Gobert and Ben Simmons, the latter ending the season injured.

"Trust the Process" but where to now for the Philadelphia 76ers?

That mantra has become synonymous with the team's culture and identity since former 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie started a drastic rebuild of Philadelphia's roster and psyche in 2013.

The long-term vision, in pursuit of a first NBA championship since 1983, has delivered stars Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and two trips to the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

However, the 76ers find themselves looking for a head coach after Brett Brown – who was at the helm as Philadelphia tanked out and started from the bottom seven years ago – was sacked following a first-ever series sweep at the hands of rivals the Boston Celtics.

While the 76ers were forced to face the Celtics without Simmons due to injury, Philadelphia's failure has only raised further questions as to whether they should trade the Australian or Embiid amid ongoing doubts over the All-Star pair's compatibility.

Jimmy Butler also came and went, while the Al Horford experiment has proved to be an expensive mistake so far.

As GM Elton Brand tries to get the 76ers back on track, with the likes of Tyronn Lue and Jason Kidd linked to the coaching vacancy, we look at the issues facing the team heading into 2020-21 using STATS data.


Keeping Embiid and Simmons fit

One of the main issues for the 76ers has been the health of big man Embiid and guard Simmons – franchise pillars.

While much has been made of Embiid and Simmons' chemistry, with spacing the floor a problem for Brown, their fitness issues mean they have only played in 184 of 345 games since the latter was drafted first by the 76ers in 2016.

When Embiid and Simmons play, the 76ers boast a 119-65 win-loss record. But without one or both, they greatly suffer (67-94), Embiid's physicality in the paint and Simmons' superior defensive skills vital in Philadelphia.

The 76ers average 111.7 points, 107.5 opposition points, 47.4 rebounds and 26.4 assists per game with Embiid and Simmons involved, a clear improvement compared to when one or both miss a game – 106.7 points, 109.4 opposition points, 44.5 rebounds and 25.0 assists.

Philadelphia also have a superior field goal percentage (46.9) when Embiid and Simmons both play, with the 76ers shooting just 45.3 per cent. Opposition numbers also go up in their absence – field goal percentage (44.3 to 46.2) and three-point percentage (34.1 to 35.5).


Simmons and his shooting woes

Simmons is an elite defender and creator with unrivalled pace, but his shooting struggles have left him stuck between a star and superstar.

There have been signs of a shooter behind all of his usual brilliance, however Simmons' jump-shot is too few and far between.

Previously compared to LeBron James, Simmons does not shoot threes or free throws well – his career free-throw percentage of 59.3 is the worst in NBA history by a guard with at least 1,000 attempts.

And his career three-point percentage (two-for-24, 8.3) is the lowest among all guards who debuted in the NBA in 2000 or later (minimum 20 attempts).

Simmons, 24, also signed a five-year, $170million max contract prior to the 2019-20 campaign.


Embiid not so clutch?

The third pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Embiid has established himself as one of the best big men in the league but he has still been criticised for his lack of consistency and poor fitness at times. Nicknamed 'The Process', the 26-year-old knows there is room for improvement.

Embiid wanted to carry the 76ers in the absence of Simmons and while averaging 30.0 points and 12.3 rebounds per game in the playoffs – an increase on his regular-season averages of 23.0 points and 11.6 rebounds, which were a dip on his 2018-19 numbers – and he looked worn out.

There could be some concern that he does not play well at the end of close games. In his career – regular season and playoffs – Embiid has had 17 potential game-tying or go-ahead shots in the last 30 seconds of the fourth quarter and overtime, and he is just one-for-17.

The only shot he made was a dunk against the Cleveland Cavaliers in November 2019.

The Philadelphia 76ers are not looking to trade Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid following their elimination from the NBA playoffs, general manager Elton Brand said.

Head coach Brett Brown was sacked after the 76ers were swept 4-0 by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the postseason and the team is reportedly looking at further changes to the front office.

However, Brand has no plan to move on from either of the All-Star duo of Simmons and Embiid.

"I'm not looking to trade Ben or Joel, I'm looking to complement them better," said Brand. "They are 24 and 26 years old respectively, you try to make that fit as long as you can.

"They want to be here, they want to be with our organisation, and I see them here for a long, long time."

Simmons sat out the playoffs after suffering a subluxation in the left knee at the NBA bubble in Orlando and Embiid was unable to inspire a deep run that could have seen his team-mate return to the court.

Both players are under contract for at least the next three seasons and Brand plans to discuss with them how they feel the team should look going forward.

Brand acknowledged that 'The Process', the nickname given to the period in which Philadelphia rebuilt by tanking and acquiring draft capital, could now be deemed a failure.

"It didn't produce the results we expected. It's a results-based business and we're trying to right those wrongs and make sure we do better," he said.

"Currently, yes, we failed. But are we going to do everything to position ourselves to win? Yes."

A key factor in the Sixers' path forward will be the appointment of a new head coach, so Brand will not make a hasty decision.

He said: "We're not going to be in a rush because this is a pivotal point for our organisation. We're at a crossroads right now, so this hire is extremely important. There's not going to be a rush.

"All options are open. No one is in the lead, but I look forward to these interviews because there are going to be some talented people out there."

A lack of perimeter shooting has been a persistent issue for the 76ers, while Al Horford failed to gel with Embiid after arriving on a four-year, $109million contract.

Asked if Horford can fit into the line-up, Brand said: "That's for the next coach to make that decision and determination on how the line-ups work.

"Al Horford can fit on an NBA-calibre championship team. Whatever that role is, we're going to have to figure it out. But he can fit."

The Philadelphia 76ers have fired coach Brett Brown following their NBA playoffs sweep at the hands of the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics secured an emphatic first-round triumph in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a 110-106 victory in Orlando last week.

Brown, appointed in 2013, has taken the 76ers to three consecutive postseason appearances, including two Conference semi-finals, but his position had been coming under growing scrutiny.

76ers guard Josh Richardson suggested there needed to be "more accountability" after the Celtics disappointment, although he stressed Brown was "a good guy".

On Monday, general manager Elton Brand confirmed Brown had been relieved of his role with immediate effect and that the search for a replacement had begun.

"I have a tremendous level of respect for Brett both personally and professionally and appreciate all he's done for the 76ers organisation and the City of Philadelphia," Brand said.

"He did many positive things during his time here, developing young talent and helping position our team for three straight postseason appearances. Unfortunately, we fell well short of our goals this year and I believe it is best to go in a new direction. This will be an important offseason for us as we look to get back on track towards our goal of competing for an NBA championship."

76ers managing partner Josh Harris said: "I want to thank Brett for not only what he did as our head coach, but for the impactful community work he and his family did across the Greater Philadelphia Area over the last seven years.

"He is a high-character coach and leader and we're fortunate to have had him here. This is a difficult decision, but one we believe is necessary. I wish Brett and his family well."

Luka Doncic produced a stunning moment of magic to help the Dallas Mavericks outlast the Los Angeles Clippers 135-133 in overtime in Game 4 of their Western Conference first-round series.

With the Mavericks trailing 133-132 and staring at a 3-1 deficit in the NBA playoffs, Doncic called game as the reigning Rookie of the Year nailed a buzzer-beating three in OT on Sunday.

A game-time decision due to a left ankle injury, Doncic put fitness issues aside to see the Mavericks dramatically level the series at 2-2 in Orlando, Florida.

Doncic became the youngest player in NBA playoffs history to post a 40-point triple-double as he finished with 43 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists.

It was the 21-year-old's second successive triple-double ahead of Game 5 against the Clippers at Walt Disney World Resort.

Kawhi Leonard's 32 points were not enough for the Clippers, while Lou Williams led the team's scorers with 36.

Defending champions the Toronto Raptors flexed their muscles in a 150-122 victory over the Brooklyn Nets as they recorded a sweep in the Eastern Conference first round.

Toronto's bench contributed 100 points, the most in any game since official starters began being tracked in 1970-71 – Norman Powell (29) and Serge Ibaka (27) leading the way.

The Raptors will face the Boston Celtics in the second round after the latter swept the Philadelphia 76ers 4-0 via a 110-106 success.


Mitchell makes history

Donovan Mitchell became the first player in NBA history to have two games with 50-plus points and five-plus assists in a single postseason as the Utah Jazz trumped the Denver Nuggets 129-127. Mitchell scored 18 of his 51 points in the fourth quarter to help the Jazz take a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference matchup.

Nuggets star Jamal Murray also put up 50 points in the losing effort. Murray and Mitchell are the first pair of players to register 50-plus points each in a non-overtime game since Wilt Chamberlain (63) and Elgin Baylor (51) in 1962, per STATS.

It was a huge night for the Raptors. Not only did they become the first team in postseason history to score 500-plus points in a series sweep (505), Toronto also became the first playoff franchise to have 150-plus points to cap a series whitewash.

Kemba Walker's 32 points and a double-double of 28 points and 15 rebounds from Jayson Tatum fuelled the Boston Celtics. Joel Embiid was a shining light for the 76ers with 30 points and 10 rebounds.


Sixers' swift exit, George struggles

It was a day to forget for the 76ers. It marked the first sweep at the hands of the Celtics in 15 playoff series meetings. Philadelphia have also failed to progress beyond the second round in three consecutive seasons.

The Jazz won but Joe Ingles was scoreless. Usually a threat from beyond the arc, Ingles missed all three of his three-point attempts. The Australian was also 0 for four from the field in 35 minutes.

Paul George's struggles continued against the Mavericks. He was just three of 14 from the floor and one of seven from beyond the arc for nine points in 45 minutes.


Doncic's Euro step

The Slovenian star was at his brilliant best, including this move to the rim.


Sunday's results

Boston Celtics 110-106 Philadelphia 76ers
Dallas Mavericks 135-133 Los Angeles Clippers (OT)
Toronto Raptors 150-122 Brooklyn Nets
Utah Jazz 129-127 Denver Nuggets


Lakers face Trail Blazers

After his mammoth display in Game 3, LeBron James will look to help the Los Angeles Lakers take a 3-1 lead against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday.

Philadelphia 76ers guard Josh Richardson said the team were missing accountability from under-fire head coach Brett Brown after being swept by the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs.

The 76ers were swept 4-0 by rivals the Celtics in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs after Sunday's 110-106 loss in Orlando, Florida.

Afterwards, attention turned to Brown, who is reportedly facing an exit, with championship hopefuls Philadelphia set to make a final decision soon.

Brown was appointed in 2013 and he has overseen three consecutive trips to the postseason since 2017-18, including two Conference semi-final appearances.

But Richardson – who joined the 76ers as part of the deal that saw All-Star Jimmy Butler move to the Miami Heat in the offseason – was forthright in his assessment of the 59-year-old.

"He's a good guy," Richardson said via video conference post-game. "He's a good man. He means well.

"I just think going forward, we've just gotta have some more accountability. I don't think there was much accountability this season and I think that was part of our problem."

Richardson, whose 76ers only qualified for the playoffs as the sixth seeds, added: "It just has to start. There's always gotta be a day one. We've just gotta start from scratch. It's not gonna be easy and we're not gonna be comfortable, but that's what championship teams do.

"[When] guys are not doing their job on or off the court, there's gotta be some kind of consequence — not consequence, but we've gotta be able to talk to each other and listen. 

"And not [just] listen to say something back, but actually hear [each other]. It's a hard lesson to learn for some people, but in order for us to make this playoff run that I think we all want, I know we all want, it's gotta start."

The 76ers were forced to face the Celtics without All-Star guard Ben Simmons due to injury.

Injuries have often hampered Brown and Philadelphia – Simmons, fellow All-Star Joel Embiid and former number one pick Markelle Fultz, now with the Orlando Magic, among others spending time on the sidelines.

Brown lamented the injuries, telling reporters: "Missing Ben will resonate for a long time, especially given what he did to prepare himself to play in the [bubble]. The difficulty of guarding the Celtics' wings [that] you live every time you play them is they've got so much firepower, and you really need to have a stable of able, senior, veteran-type mentality defensive players on a bunch of really good scorers. And I will think of [not having Simmons].

"Obviously, the way our season ended is disappointing. You can't, obviously, phrase it any other way. But really trying to guard those wings was difficult."

Joel Embiid is unsure about his future with the Philadelphia 76ers following their swift elimination from the NBA playoffs, though the All-Star reiterated his desire to retire at the franchise.

The 76ers were swept 4-0 by rivals the Boston Celtics in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs after Sunday's 110-106 loss in Orlando, Florida.

Philadelphia reached the Conference semi-finals last season, dramatically denied by the buzzer-beating shot of Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard, but the championship hopefuls now find themselves at a crossroads.

There is uncertainty over head coach Brett Brown, while there have been reports Embiid and fellow All-Star Ben Simmons could be traded.

"I don't make the decisions. I'm here in Philly. Whatever happens, happens," said Embiid, who signed a five-year, $148million contract extension in 2017 after being drafted with the third pick three years earlier.

"I've always said that I want to end my career here and if it happens, good. If it doesn't happen, well, you move on and all that stuff."

Dubbed "Trust the Process", the 76ers embarked on a drastic rebuild under former general manager Sam Hinkie as their struggles on the court led to Philadelphia drafting two potential franchise cornerstones in Embiid and Simmons.

They made the Conference semi-finals in 2018 and 2019, but in pursuit of a first championship since 1983, Philadelphia capped out and went all in on Tobias Harris and Al Horford on max contracts as they parted with numerous picks.

The 76ers gave up a lot in their deal to lure Harris from the Los Angeles Clippers and it was the same for Jimmy Butler in November, only for the All-Star to leave at the end of the 2018-19 season.

Horford, meanwhile, has struggled to fit since arriving from the Celtics.

Pressure is on GM Elton Brand and the 26-year-old Embiid – who led the 76ers in Game 4 with 30 points and 10 rebounds – said: "I just feel like, a couple years ago, when we made the playoffs for the first time, we had a bunch of great players that were drafted here or either formed in Philly and we had a bunch of guys especially that were in a great situation.

"And then we, as you know, we decided to trade a lot of it with the picks and stuff for Jimmy, Tobias and we got a bunch of great players in return. Like I said, it just didn't happen. We could never find a rhythm this year.

"It is disappointing. There's a lot of regrets. I felt like the focus was not always there. And we got to do better, we just got to look at ourselves in the mirror and just do better."

Kemba Walker scored 32 points as the Boston Celtics completed a 4-0 sweep over the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA playoffs with a 110-106 victory on Sunday.

The Sixers, playing without the injured Ben Simmons, exited the postseason without winning a game in the first round of their Eastern Conference series in Orlando despite 30 points from Joel Embiid and 20 for Tobias Harris in Game 4.

Walker impressed for the Celtics by converting four times from behind the arc, with Jayson Tatum starring to produce 28 points and 15 rebounds, the latter a playoff career high.

The Celtics led by one point at half-time but had extended that advantage to 14 by the end of a dominant third quarter.

Harris was able to return to the game in the fourth quarter after passing concussion tests following a scary fall that saw him land head-first on the court.

But that was the lone positive for the Sixers' as their hopes were emphatically halted at the first hurdle, with their wait for a first NBA Finals appearance since 2001 continuing.

It was the first time in 15 playoff meetings that a series between the two teams had ended in a sweep.

The Los Angeles Clippers took the lead in their series against the Dallas Mavericks, while the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors are 3-0 up.

Kawhi Leonard starred as the Clippers posted a 130-122 win over the Mavericks.

Leonard finished with 36 points, nine rebounds and eight assists as the Clippers grabbed a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference first-round series.

Mavs star Luka Doncic had a triple-double of 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, but also suffered an ankle injury.

Meanwhile, Kristaps Porzingis managed a double-double of 34 points and 13 rebounds, going 11-of-18 from the field for Dallas.

The Celtics and Raptors are each one win away from setting up an Eastern Conference semi-final.

Boston moved into a 3-0 lead over the Philadelphia 76ers thanks to a 102-94 win, while the Raptors beat the Brooklyn Nets 117-92 to be a victory away from advancing.


Kemba lifts Celtics, special Siakam

Kemba Walker had 24 points, eight rebounds and four assists in the Celtics' victory.

The 76ers are on the verge of a first-round exit, but Joel Embiid finished with a double-double of 30 points and 13 rebounds.

Pascal Siakam's 26 points helped the Raptors to their comfortable win.

A double-double of 24 points and 14 rebounds from Rudy Gobert helped the Utah Jazz past the Denver Nuggets 124-87. The Jazz lead the Western Conference first-round series 2-1.

Jazz guard Mike Conley went seven-of-eight from three-point range to post 27 points.


Terrible Temple

Garrett Temple struggled for the Nets. The forward was two-of-12 from the field, managing just five points in nearly 36 minutes.


Wonderful Walker

Walker contributed 14 of his 24 points in the second half for Boston.

Friday's results

Toronto Raptors 117-92 Brooklyn Nets
Utah Jazz 124-87 Denver Nuggets
Boston Celtics 102-94 Philadelphia 76ers
Los Angeles Clippers 130-122 Dallas Mavericks


Lakers face Trail Blazers

Having drawn level in the Western Conference first-round series, the Los Angeles Lakers face the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 3 on Saturday.

The Dallas Mavericks levelled their Western Conference first-round series after defeating the Los Angeles Clippers 127-114 in the NBA playoffs.

Luka Doncic starred as the Mavericks bounced back against Kawhi Leonard's Clippers in Game 2 at Walt Disney World Resort on Wednesday.

Doncic posted 28 points to go with eight rebounds and seven assists, while fellow star Kristaps Porzingis had 23 points in Orlando, Florida.

Leonard's game-high 35 points and 10 rebounds were not enough as Paul George (14 points and 10 rebounds) struggled shooting – the Clippers All-Star was just four of 17 from the field, and two of 10 from beyond the arc.

Game 3 between the Mavericks and Clippers is on Friday.

The Boston Celtics, meanwhile, took a commanding 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference first-round matchup after beating the Philadelphia 76ers 128-101.

Jayson Tatum led the way again with a career playoff-high 33 points to fuel Boston against rivals Philadelphia in Game 2.

The 76ers stormed out of the blocks, taking a 14-point lead early in the first quarter before the Celtics overpowered their opponents – Kemba Walker adding 22 points to go with Jaylen Brown's 20.

Joel Embiid's 34 points and 10 rebounds were not enough for the 76ers, who are under pressure as they fight to avoid an early exit.

The Celtics and 76ers will meet again on Friday in Game 3.


Raptors roar as VanVleet stars

Fred VanVleet impressed again as defending champions the Toronto Raptors earned a 2-0 lead over the Brooklyn Nets with a 104-99 victory. VanVleet had a double-double of 24 points and 10 assists in the first-round Eastern Conference clash. Norman Powell scored 24 points off the bench, while Kyle Lowry posted 21 points and nine rebounds.

After a playoff-record 57 points in Game 1, Donovan Mitchell registered 30 points and the Utah Jazz topped the Denver Nuggets 124-105 to level the series. Mitchell was big in the third quarter, scoring 21 of his 30 points to take down the Nuggets. Jazz team-mate Jordan Clarkson finished with a career playoff-best 26 points.

Nikola Jokic's double-double of 28 points and 11 rebounds were not enough for the Nuggets, who also had 28 points from rookie Michael Porter Jr.


Horford's woes continue

Al Horford and his move to the 76es has not paid off, and the former Celtics star struggled again. Back on the bench, Horford scored just four points in 23 minutes, while collecting two rebounds.

The player who started in his place, Matisse Thybulle, managed only two points in 25 minutes of action. Alec Burks was one of eight from the field and missed both of his three-point attempts.

While the Raptors won, Marc Gasol was scoreless through 17 minutes of court time. He also had three turnovers.


Brown's 360!

Brown produced a highlight moment – this spin and slam against the 76ers.


Wednesday's results

Boston Celtics 128-101 Philadelphia 76ers
Utah Jazz 124-105 Denver Nuggets
Toronto Raptors 104-99 Brooklyn Nets
Dallas Mavericks 127-114 Los Angeles Clippers


Trail Blazers face Lakers

The Portland Trail Blazers can take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference first-round matchup when they meet the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.

Jayson Tatum said he was playing with confidence after leading the Boston Celtics to another win over the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA playoffs.

Tatum posted a playoff career-high 33 points as the Celtics beat the 76ers 128-101 on Wednesday to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference first-round series.

The forward has 65 points, 18 rebounds and six assists in the series, while he went eight-of-12 from three-point range in Game 2.

"I'm playing confident. Just trying to be aggressive and trying to make the right play," Tatum told reporters.

"I say that a lot but that's as easy as I can break it down."

Without Gordon Hayward (ankle), the Celtics proved too good for the 76ers again, although Philadelphia opened up a 14-point lead in the first quarter.

Enes Kanter (10 points and nine rebounds), Grant Williams (nine points and six rebounds) and Brad Wanamaker (seven points and four assists) were important contributors off the bench for Boston.

"It was big. We knew Philly was going to come out really aggressive and they did," Tatum said.

"I think we were down 13 or something and the way the bench played at the end of the first and throughout the second quarter really just brought the physical toughness back.

"That was a big reason we got back into the game and eventually took the lead."

The Boston Celtics have been dealt a blow in the NBA playoffs following confirmation of an ankle sprain that will sideline Gordon Hayward for four weeks.

Hayward hurt his ankle during Boston's 109-101 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round series at Walt Disney World Resort on Monday.

The 2017 All-Star, who posted 12 points against the 76ers, twisted his right ankle as he tried to box out Joel Embiid with just over three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

Now, Hayward is set for an extended stint on the sidelines in Orlando, Florida, after being diagnosed with a grade three ankle sprain.

"I think we can certainly do a lot here but all that is stuff is to be determined," Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said on Tuesday as he discussed how Boston would adjust in the forward's absence. "We haven't gotten into that stuff or that conversation."

"He's bummed, as you can imagine," Stevens said. "[He's] put in a lot of time and effort, and you do so for this time, for the playoffs. That's what we all look forward to, and we've been really lucky thus far in the bubble to have good health and, of course, [after] Game 1 we don't.

"But that's part of it. We've lived this before and we're going to have to have other people step up. That's why you have a team."

Hayward, who suffered a gruesome leg injury in 2017, has been averaging 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists for the Celtics this season.

Game 2 between the Celtics and 76ers will take place on Wednesday.

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