NBA

76ers, Nuggets move within one win of conference finals

By Sports Desk May 10, 2023

Nikola Jokic scored 17 of his 29 points during the decisive third quarter and the Denver Nuggets gained the upper hand in their Western Conference semifinal series with a 118-102 rout of the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.

Jokic followed his 53-point performance in Game 4 with another stellar display, adding 13 rebounds and 12 assists for his 10th career playoff triple-double, breaking a tie with Wilt Chamberlain for most by a center in NBA history.

Bruce Brown scored 25 points, one shy of his playoff career high, and Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray added 19 apiece as Denver improved to 6-0 at home this postseason for a 3-2 series lead.

The Nuggets turned a 52-49 halftime lead into a 91-74 advantage with a dominant third quarter in which Jokic made seven of eight shots, while Devin Booker scored three points on 1 of 8 from the field.

Booker finished with 28 points but missed 11 of 19 shots, Kevin Durant had 26 points and Deandre Ayton added 14. No other Suns player reached double figures.

Denver can earn a trip to the west finals with a win at Phoenix on Thursday in Game 6.

Visiting 76ers cruise past Celtics

Joel Embiid scored 32 points and Tyrese Maxey added 30 with six 3-pointers to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a surprisingly easy 115-103 victory over the Boston Celtics and a 3-2 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Philadelphia led by as many as 21 points in the fourth quarter as the home fans showered the Celtics with boos.

James Harden had 17 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds, Tobias Harris chipped in 16 points and 11 boards and little-used Danuel House Jr. contributed 10 points and five rebounds.

The 76ers can close out the series and advance to the East finals for the first time since reaching the NBA Finals in 2000-01 with a win at home in Game 6 on Thursday.

Jayson Tatum had 36 points but missed all five of his first-quarter attempts and made 11 for 27 from the field. He was part of a poor shooting effort by the Celtics, who shot under 40 percent overall and misfired on 26 of 38 from long range.

Boston cut the deficit to 92-81 with under 10 minutes remaining but Maxey and Embiid responded with consecutive 3s. After Jaylen Brown hit a layup, baskets by House Jr. and Maxey stretched Philadelphia's advantage to 104-88, effectively ending any hopes of a comeback.

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  • 'I feel 40' – Birthday boy Doncic dispatches Raptors 'I feel 40' – Birthday boy Doncic dispatches Raptors

    Luka Doncic quipped he feels like he is 40 years old after he celebrated his 25th birthday in style.

    Doncic became the first player in NBA history to finish with a triple-double on their birthday as he led the Dallas Mavericks to a 136-125 win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.

    He finished with 30 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds for his 11th triple-double of the season.

    Doncic has now had 39 30-point triple-doubles, which sees him surpass LeBron James in the all-time list for that feat.

    When asked if he considered his 25th birthday as a milestone, Doncic joked: "I feel like [I'm] 40, so no."

    Doncic was 11 for 23 from the field and missed 7 of 8 from 3-point range in his 67th career triple-double.

    "Just a normal game, triple-double," Jason Kidd said.

    "He was really good. I guess 25 means he's still going to be really good as he gets older here."

    Kyrie Irving scored 15 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and P.J. Washington Jr. added 23 points for Dallas, as they bounced back from back-to-back defeats.

    "Kyrie and Luka, they had such a poise in important moments to make the right plays," said Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic after his team saw a three-game winning streak snapped.

    Doncic added: "We just played aggressive on defense, got out on transition, that's it. 

    "My team knows when I'm engaged. Everybody helps everyone to be engaged.

    "I'm having so much fun. Back-to-back is always tough, a great win today, I've got to get some rest now."

  • NBA: James scores 19 of 34 in 4th quarter as Lakers rally to stun Clippers NBA: James scores 19 of 34 in 4th quarter as Lakers rally to stun Clippers

    LeBron James scored 19 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter and the Los Angeles Lakers erased a 21-point deficit in the final 12 minutes as the Los Angeles Lakers rallied for a 116-112 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

    James hit five of his season-high seven 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and outscored the Clippers by himself (19-16). He either scored or assisted on 11 of the Lakers’ 13 baskets in the final period.

    The Clippers held a 98-77 lead in the opening minute of the final quarter, but James led a 29-8 run over the next 7:34. Anthony Davis’ free throws tied it at 106 with four minutes left, and Jamesd found Rui Hachimura for a go-ahead 3 moments later.

    Kawhi Leonard missed a 12-footer with five seconds to go and the Clippers down two before James threw a long pass to Cam Reddish for a dunk that punctuated a stunning win for the Lakers.

    Davis finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds, D’Angelo Russell added 18 points and Hachimura had 17.

    Leonard scored 26 points and James Harden added 23 with nine assists for the Clippers, who have lost consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 21 and 23.

     

    Doncic has triple-double on birthday

    Luka Dončić celebrated his 25th birthday with 30 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds for his 11th triple-double of the season in the Dallas Mavericks’ 136-125 win over the Toronto Raptors.

    Doncic was 11 for 23 from the field and missed 7 of 8 from 3-point range in his 67th career triple-double.

    He is the first player in NBA history to record a 30-point triple-double on his birthday.

    Kyrie Irving scored 15 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and P.J. Washington Jr. added 23 points for Dallas, which avoided a third straight loss.

    Scottie Barnes had 19 points and 11 rebounds and Immanuel Quickley scored a season-high 28 points as Toronto said goodbye to a season-best three-game winning streak.

    Doncic scored 11 points in the third quarter and added six assists to help the Mavs take a 106-92 lead into the fourth.

     

    Jokic extends triple-double streak in win

    Nikola Jokić notched his fourth straight triple-double in three quarters and Jamal Murray scored 32 points as the Denver Nuggets won their fourth in a row, 117-96 over the Sacramento Kings.

    Jokic had 14 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists for his 19th triple-double this season, two behind Sacramento’s Domantas Sabonis for the league lead.

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 16 points and Aaron Gordon added 15 for Denver, which avoided a four-game season sweep to the Kings.

    Keegan Murray had 21 points and Chris Duarte contributed 18 off the bench as Sacramento had a three-game winning streak snapped.

  • Chris Paul adds to 'crazy' Warriors depth in winning return Chris Paul adds to 'crazy' Warriors depth in winning return

    Steve Kerr revelled in the "crazy" luxury of being able to bring Chris Paul and Klay Thompson off the bench as the Golden State Warriors continued their fine form on Tuesday.

    Golden State have hit their stride in February to move back into playoff contention in the West, despite missing veteran point guard Paul.

    The 38-year-old was traded to the Warriors by the Washington Wizards at the start of the season, having previously been moved on by the Phoenix Suns, but had been restricted to 32 games and 11 starts prior to returning against the Wizards.

    Paul made his comeback from the bench following his recovery from surgery on a left hand fracture, and he was joined in the second unit by Klay Thompson.

    Those options in reserve were especially useful to Kerr in this 123-112 win as superstar starter Stephen Curry was held scoreless through the first half.

    Curry finished with 18 points, but he was outshone by Thompson, who had 25, while Paul played a key role in the decisive third quarter in which the Warriors outscored the Wizards 38-17.

    "What a luxury to come off the bench with Chris Paul and Klay Thompson," coach Kerr said. "That's crazy."

    "You've got two Hall of Famers in the backcourt coming off the bench," Thompson added. "That's such a rare feat, so we take pride in that.

    "[Paul] makes my life much easier, much easier. Just his ability to read the game, hit me in stride, on time, on target, he's probably one of the best in history at doing that."

    Kerr continued: "We've been playing pretty well over the last month or so, but we've really been looking forward to getting Chris back.

    "You could see why tonight. He's a plus-17 in 21 minutes, always in control of the game. The way we closed the third quarter was really important, and he was at the helm."

    Paul is not getting carried away just yet but acknowledged that strength in depth and affirmed his commitment to taking on whatever role Kerr asks of him.

    "It's one game, one game," Paul said. "We've still got a lot of work to do as a team, as a unit.

    "We have so much depth, so many different ways that we can play, that it's going to take us a little while to figure it out. But obviously, you want to figure it out and win at the same time.

    "We've got a really good group of guys on this team, and [Kerr is] going to need different things every night.

    "You know one thing about me though: I know who I am and what I'm capable of. You know what I mean? There ain't any question about that. I'll always be ready, and I think he knows that."

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