NBA

NBA: Mavericks, Pacers even series; Timberwolves take 2-0 lead

By Sports Desk April 24, 2024

Luka Dončić had 32 points, nine assists and six rebounds and the Dallas Mavericks overcame the return of Kawhi Leonard in a 96-93 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday to even their Western Conference first-round playoff series at a game apiece.

Kyrie Irving added 23 points and PJ Washington had 18 for the Mavericks, who send the series back to Dallas for Game 3 on Friday.

Leonard had 15 points and seven rebounds in 35 minutes in his first game since March 31. He didn’t play or engage in any contact practices during that stretch because of inflammation in his surgically repaired knee.

Paul George and James Harden each scored 22 points and Ivica Zubac added 13 with 12 rebounds for the Clippers, who shot 36.8 percent (32 for 87) from the field and missed 22 of 30 from long range.

The Clippers led 73-67 with 9:32 remaining but the Mavs scored 14 straight points for an 81-73 lead with 5:18 left. After Russell Westbrook hit a 3, Washington answered with a 3 to make it 84-76.

Maxi Kleber and Doncic made consecutive 3s to extend Dallas’ lead to 90-81 with 1:26 to play and Irving sealed the win with three free throws in the final 12 seconds.

Timberwolves stifle Suns for 2-0 lead

Jaden McDaniels scored 25 points and the Minnesota Timberwolves didn’t need another big performance from Anthony Edwards in a 105-93 win over the Phoenix Suns for a 2-0 lead in their first-round series.

Mike Conley and Rudy Gobert each scored 18 points while Edwards was limited to 15 on 3-of-12 shooting after he had 33 points in the series opener.

Minnesota held the Suns’ big three of Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal to a combined 18 for 45 from the field. Booker had 20 points and Durant 18 for the Suns, who head home for Game 3 on Friday faced with a 2-0 series deficit.

Phoenix lost starting guard Grayson Allen to an aggravated ankle sprain in the third quarter, during which the Wolves used a 12-0 run to turn a 63-60 deficit into a 72-63 lead.

The lead was down to 84-76 in the fourth quarter, but Minnesota scored the next seven points and was never threatened thereafter.

Siakam helps Pacers get even

Pascal Siakam poured in 37 points and the Indiana Pacers survived another stellar start by Damian Lillard to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks, 125-108, evening their Eastern Conference playoff series at a game apiece.

Myles Turner scored 22 points, Andrew Nembhard added 20 and Tyrese Haliburton had 12 points and 12 assists for the Pacers, who snapped a 10-game playoff losing streak that started with a Game 7 loss to Cleveland in a first-round series in 2018.

Siakam shot 16 of 23 from the field and had 11 rebounds and six assists.

Lillard had 26 points by halftime in this one after scoring all 35 of his points in the first half in the Bucks’ 109-94 victory in Game 1. He finished with 34 on 10-of-21 shooting – including 6 of 13 from 3-point range.

The Bucks were again without two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who sat with a strained left calf.

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  • Edwards credits Towns as bounce-back performance keeps Timberwolves alive Edwards credits Towns as bounce-back performance keeps Timberwolves alive

    Anthony Edwards credited Karl-Anthony Towns after he halted his slump to keep the Minnesota Timberwolves alive in their Western Conference finals series against the Dallas Mavericks.

    Towns scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half as Minnesota held off a late Dallas rally for a 105-100 road win, forcing a Game 5 in Minneapolis on Thursday.

    That came after a difficult start to the series for the four-time All-Star, with coach Chris Finch saying it was "hard to watch" his struggles in Game 3.

    Towns shot just 27.8 per cent in the series' first three games, but was 9 of 13 from the floor and made 4 of 5 from 3-point range on Tuesday.

    Edwards, who narrowly missed out on a triple-double with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, said Towns was the primary reason the Timberwolves retained hope of an NBA Finals berth. 

    "Everything came together for him; he was super confident," Edwards said of Towns. 

    "He played exceptionally well, and he came through big-time. He was the reason we won tonight."

    Finch echoed Edwards' praise, saying: "KAT's a great player. His struggles were not going to last forever. He got himself going. 

    "Even when he got deep in foul trouble, we left him out there, just let him roll, and he played smart, played under control, rebounded really well for us, executed defensively. We're really proud of him. Tonight was a great step for him."

    While it was Towns' efforts that gave Minnesota a lead to defend, it was Edwards who made certain of the victory with a mid-range jumper after the Mavs pulled within three points just over a minute before the buzzer. 

    Towns, who fouled out with one minute and 38 seconds on the clock, said of his team-mate's game-sealing shot: "I was on the bench and had a front-row seat. I feel like he was visualising that make and he got to exactly the spot he wanted to.

    "I'm honoured to be playing with my brother here, seeing him every day put the work in, and I knew when he got to that shot it was a high likelihood he was going to make that."

  • NBA: Timberwolves hold off Mavericks to force Game 5 NBA: Timberwolves hold off Mavericks to force Game 5

    Anthony Edwards just missed a triple-double, Karl-Anthony Towns scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half and the Minnesota Timberwolves held on to beat the Dallas Mavericks 105-100 on Tuesday to avoid being swept in the Western Conference finals.

    Facing a 3-0 series deficit on the road, the Wolves conjured their best defensive game of the series to force a Game 5 on Thursday night in Minneapolis.

    Dallas' Luka Doncic finished with 28 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists but was held to 7-for-21 shooting. Kyrie Irving shot 6 of 18 from the field to finish with 16 points.

    "That game's on me. Just didn't give enough energy," Doncic told reporters after the game. "They won one game. We've just got to focus on the next one."

    Towns, who shot 27.8 per cent in the series' first three games, was 9 of 13 from the floor and made 4 of 5 from 3-point range. Despite his redemptive performance on offense, Towns fouled out with 1:38 remaining after falling for a Doncic pump fake at the 3-point line.

    Edwards was assertive from the opening tip, scoring 14 points in the first quarter, and finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

    The Mavs pulled to within 100-97 with just over a minute remaining before Edwards hit a mid-range jumper to extend the Minnesota lead. On Dallas' following possession, Kyle Anderson stole the ball from Irving to extinguish the threat.

    The Mavericks played without standout rookie center Dereck Lively II due to a neck sprain after taking a rough fall in Game 3.

    No team has ever come back from a 3-0 series lead, but the Wolves will hope to keep the pressure on Dallas in Game 5.

     

  • Timberwolves hold off Mavericks to force Game 5 Timberwolves hold off Mavericks to force Game 5

    Anthony Edwards just missed a triple-double, Karl-Anthony Towns scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half and the Minnesota Timberwolves held on to beat the Dallas Mavericks 105-100 on Tuesday to avoid being swept in the Western Conference finals.

    Facing a 3-0 series deficit on the road, the Wolves conjured their best defensive game of the series to force a Game 5 on Thursday night in Minneapolis.

    Dallas’ Luka Dončić finished with 28 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists but was held to 7-for-21 shooting. Kyrie Irving shot 6 of 18 from the field to finish with 16 points.

    “That game's on me. Just didn't give enough energy,” Dončić told reporters after the game. “They won one game. We've just got to focus on the next one.”

    Towns, who shot 27.8 percent in the series’ first three games, was 9 of 13 from the floor and made 4 of 5 from 3-point range. Despite his redemptive performance on offence, Towns fouled out with 1:38 remaining after falling for a Dončić pump fake at the 3-point line.

    Edwards was assertive from the opening tip, scoring 14 points in the first quarter, and finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

    The Mavs pulled to within 100-97 with just over a minute remaining before Edwards hit a mid-range jumper to extend the Minnesota lead. On Dallas’ following possession, Kyle Anderson stole the ball from Irving to extinguish the threat.

    The Mavericks played without standout rookie center Dereck Lively II due to a neck sprain after taking a rough fall in Game 3.

    No team has ever come back from a 3-0 series lead, but the Wolves will hope to keep the pressure on Dallas in Game 5.

     

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