NBA: Jokic, Brunson both reach 40-point mark as Nuggets, Knicks take 3-2 leads

By Sports Desk May 15, 2024

Nikola Jokić scored 16 of his 40 points in the third quarter and the Denver Nuggets shut down Anthony Edwards to pull away for a 112-97 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves for a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference semifinals on Tuesday.

Jokic, who was presented with his third NBA MVP before the game, shot 15 of 22 from the field and had 13 assists and seven rebounds with no turnovers as the home team won for the first time in this series.

Aaron Gordon added 18 points and 10 rebounds and Jamal Murray had 16 points for the Nuggets, who can wrap up the series in Game 6 in Minnesota on Thursday night.

Edwards was limited to 18 points on 5-of-15 shooting, while Karl-Anthony Towns scored 23 points.

After the Wolves took a 55-53 lead early in the third quarter, Jokic assisted on four consecutive baskets during Denver’s 11-2 run for a 64-57 lead it would not relinquish.

His dunk with 7:12 remaining made it 98-80, and Jokic’s 3-pointer at the shot clock buzzer gave the Nuggets a 14-point advantage with just over 3 minutes left.

 Brunson powers Knicks to series lead

Jalen Brunson poured in 44 points and the New York Knicks dominated the glass in a 121-91 win over the Indiana Pacers to move a win away from their first Eastern Conference finals trip since 2000.

The Knicks bounced back from a blowout loss in Game 4 on Sunday and guaranteed themselves at least one more game at Madison Square Garden, though they can wrap up the series with a win in Indiana in Game 6 on Friday night.

Game 7, if necessary, would be Sunday at MSG.

Brunson injured his right foot in Game 2 and was held to 18 points Sunday, his lowest of the playoffs. He shot 18 for 35 from the field in this one and reached the 40-point mark for the second time in this series and fifth time this postseason.

Josh Hart had 18 points and 11 rebounds, Alec Burks scored 18, Deuce McBride added 17 points after he was inserted into the starting lineup and Isaiah Hartenstein had seven points and 17 rebounds. The Knicks had a 53-29 advantage on the glass.

Pascal Siakam scored 22 points for the Pacers, who will try to stay unbeaten at home in the postseason to prolong the series. Myles Turner had 16 points, but All-Star Tyrese Haliburton was limited to 13 after averaging 29.7 over the last three games.

Brunson made consecutive baskets to extend New York’s lead to 13 early in the second quarter and then had the first bucket in a 9-0 run that made it 65-47 with 2:11 left in the first half.

Indiana had the deficit down to 70-63 on Turner’s 3 early in the third quarter, but the Knicks put the game out of reach with a 19-1 run that featured 3s by McBride and Brunson.

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    Shortly later, the New York Knicks' season ended.

    Brunson sustained a broken left hand and sat out the fourth quarter in the Knicks' 130-109 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Sunday.

    With the win, the Pacers reached the Eastern Conference finals, where they'll face the top-seeded Boston Celtics.

    Brunson, who had averaged 31.8 points and 5.7 assists in the first six games of the series against Indiana, had 17 points on 6-of-17 shooting and nine assists before exiting.

    Instrumental to New York's success in 2023-24, Brunson finished fifth in NBA MVP voting during the regular season after averaging 28.7 points, 6.7 assists and 3.6 rebounds.


  • Doncic 'one of best in the world' - Kidd praises star man after Mavericks win Doncic 'one of best in the world' - Kidd praises star man after Mavericks win

    Mavericks coach Jason Kidd hails Luka Doncic as “one of the best players in the world” after the Dallas Mavericks made it to the Western Conference finals.

    P.J. Washington Jr. sank two free throws with 2.5 seconds remaining to seal a 117-116 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday to send them to the finals with a 4-2 series win.

    Doncic finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his third-straight triple-double to help Dallas on their way, with Kyrie Irving and Derrick Jones Jr. each adding 22 points as they rallied from a 17-point deficit in the third quarter.

    Kidd praised Doncic for another inspired performance after the game, saying: "He's one of the best players in the world, but sometimes we lose sight that it's not just built [around Doncic].

    "One guy can't get you there. You need a team. Right now, he's got a team that he believes in."

    Doncic is just the fifth player to have three straight playoff triple-doubles in history, and he wants to soak in what he describes as a tough win.

    "We won the series. That's what matters in the end," Doncic said.

    "We won 4-2, [even though] we didn't have home advantage. It's great that we won, but just struggles are going to come. You got to stay positive and keep hooping.

    "Today is about today's game, and tomorrow we'll think about the conference finals.

    "I think we should all enjoy this, because this, I would say, was a really hard series."

    Kyrie Irving matches his scoring high for the series with his 22 points, but was quick to admire Washington’s late impact.

    "I think he [Washington] was just waiting for his moment.

    "He's played well the majority of the series, so we had some confidence in him that eventually he would make some big-time shots and grateful that he knocked them down. Man, that's just pure confidence and belief."

  • NBA: Washington's late free throws send Mavericks to Western Conference finals NBA: Washington's late free throws send Mavericks to Western Conference finals

    P.J. Washington Jr. sank two free throws with 2.5 seconds remaining and the Dallas Mavericks rallied for a 117-116 victory over the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday to reach the Western Conference finals for the second time in three seasons.

    With the Thunder ahead 116-115 after Chet Holmgren’s dunk, Washington pump-faked to get Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the air and the whistle blew as his shot fell short.

    After the Thunder’s challenge was unsuccessful, Washington made the first two free throws before intentionally missing the third. Jalen Williams’ desperation heave at the buzzer wasn’t close.

    Luka Dončić had 29 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his third straight triple-double and Kyrie Irving and Derrick Jones Jr. each added 22 points for Dallas, which rallied from a 17-point deficit in the third quarter.

    The Mavericks will face the winner of the Minnesota-Denver series with that headed to Game 7 on Sunday.

    Gilgeous-Alexander had 36 points and Williams finished with 22, nine rebounds and eight assists. The Thunder lost four of five games following a 5-0 start to the playoffs.

    Holmgren’s dunk with 8:26 left in the third extended the Thunder’s lead to 77-60, but Doncic and Irving combined for the next 13 points to make it 77-73.

    The final sequence capped a fourth quarter that had five lead changes and two ties in the final five minutes.

    Irving improved to 14-0 in closeout games in his career and had a 3-pointer to get Dallas within two midway through the fourth, the closest it had been since the second quarter. 

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