The New York Knicks are "hopeful" on All-Star Julius Randle's availability for the Easter Conference Semifinals after re-injuring his left ankle and exiting their Game 5 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Randle left Wednesday's game with 1:17 remaining in the second quarter after landing awkwardly on the same ankle which sidelined hm for the final five games of the regular season.

Knicks head coach Tim Thibodeau revealed after their Game 4 win on Monday that Randle was still dealing with the ankle issue originally sustained on March 29 against the Miami Heat.

Randle was only able to play 16 minutes in Game 5 before exiting when he rolled his ankle, scoring 13 points with four rebounds and six assists.

"It would be premature for me to comment," Thibodeau told reporters after the game. "Obviously, he has to be re-examined tomorrow. We're hopeful that it's not bad."

The Knicks' triumph means they get a longer break prior to the Conference Semifinals commencing on May 31 against Miami, who knocked out the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks.

"The turnaround will be quick," Thibodeau said. "That's the next challenge, be ready."

The magnitude of the Knicks' victory was not lost on Thibodeau, marking the franchise's first postseason series win in more than a decade, dating back to 2012.

"The tradition of the Knicks, not only what it means to the city and the league," he said. "We have the best fans in the world, best city in the world, best arena in the world.

"They respond to the way this team plays. They play hard. They play smart and they play together. There's still a lot of work to be done. We have a lot of areas to improve upon. We're looking forward to the next challenge."

Jalen Brunson scored 23 points, while R.J. Barrett added 21, with Mitchell Robinson pulling in 11 offensive rebounds from his 18 for the game.

The Knicks out-rebounded the Cavs throughout the series, including 48-30 in the clincher and Cleveland All-Star Donovan Mitchell cited that physicality as the difference.

"They outplayed us," Mitchell said. "It's as simple as that. They did their job and we didn't.

"For me, personally, I don't feel like I was the player I needed to be for this group. I just didn’t deliver."

Jimmy Butler delivered another clutch display with 42 points including a dramatic game-tying shot to send Game 5 to overtime before the Miami Heat eliminated the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks 128-126 on Wednesday.

The OT victory at Fiserv Forum meant the Heat completed a shock 4-1 first round series triumph, becoming the sixth eight seed to beat a top seed and the first in more than a decade, dating back to 2012.

The Heat launched another fourth-quarter rally led by Butler, similar to Game 4, fighting back from a 102-86 three-quarter time deficit.

Butler scored 14 fourth-quarter points including a game-tying three-pointer with 2:11 left, along an incredible falling alley oop layup from Gabe Vincent's inbound with time almost expiring to send the game to OT.

Miami went ahead early in OT and did not surrender their lead, although the Bucks spurned the final possession as the clock expired with Grayson Allen unable to get a shot away.

Butler finished with 42 points on 17-of-33 shooting with eight rebounds, four assists and two steals. Kevin Love made five triples with 12 rebounds, while Gabe Vincent added 22 points and Bam Adebayo had a triple-double with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

For the Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 38 points with 20 rebounds and Khris Middleton shot four-of-10 from three-point range in his 33 points.

Road Warriors take lead in series

The Golden State Warriors claimed a rare road win at the right time, as they claimed a 3-2 series lead over the Sacramento Kings with a 123-116 victory.

Stephen Curry scored 31 points on 12-of-25 shooting, making only two-of-10 from beyond the arc, coming up with a patient three-point play to ice the game with 22.4 seconds left.

The Kings had closed within one point at 111-110 with 4:14 left, with Malik Monk getting hot to finish with 21 points after being scoreless midway through the third. De'Aaron Fox scored a team-high 24 points on nine-of-25 shooting with seven rebounds and nine assists but six turnovers.

Klay Thompson went five-of-11 from three-point range in his 25 points, while Draymond Green scored 20-plus points for the first time since Christmas 2019 with 21 points off the bench.

Grizzlies stay alive, Knicks progress

Desmond Bane and Ja Morant starred as the Memphis Grizzlies stayed alive in the playoffs with a 116-99 win over the Los Angeles Lakers after a strong first half.

The Grizzlies led by as much as 17 points in the first half and while the Lakers closed the gap, Memphis pulled away again led by Bane's 33 points with four three-pointers, while Morant added 31 points with 10 rebounds and seven assists.

Xavier Tillman did a brilliant defensive job on LeBron James who was kept to 15 points on five-of-17 shooting, going scoreless in the fourth quarter. Anthony Davis had 31 points and 19 rebounds. The Lakers lead the series 3-2 with Game 6 in LA.

The New York Knicks advanced into the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals with a 106-95 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers rounding out a 4-1 series win, their first series triumph since 2013.

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards was cited for two cases of third-degree assault after allegedly hitting two women with a chair immediately after his side's NBA playoffs elimination.

Edwards raced off the court after missing an attempted game-tying three-pointer on the buzzer as the Timberwolves lost 112-109 to the Denver Nuggets in Game 5 at Ball Arena sealing their elimination.

As Edwards exited down the tunnel, he grabbed a folding chair and swung it before throwing it, allegedly striking two women in the process.

The Denver Police Department confirmed on Wednesday that they are investigating the incident, although they noted neither woman was seriously injured. According to reports, the police held up the Timberwolves team bus to cite Edwards after the game.

The Timberwolves said in a statement: "We are aware of the alleged incident regarding Anthony Edwards following Game 5 in Denver and are in the process of gathering more information. We have no further comment at this moment."

A third-degree assault charge in Colorado carries a punishment of up to 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $1000. The former NBA Draft top overall pick is scheduled for a June 9 court date in Denver.

Devin Booker was lauded for his incredible 47-point performance against the Los Angeles Clippers but acknowledged the Phoenix Suns would take "a good lesson" from their series-clinching win.

The Suns wrapped up a 4-1 series victory with a 136-130 success on Tuesday in which Booker tied his playoff career high. He scored 25 points in the third quarter alone, another high mark in any single quarter.

That display epitomised a sensational series for Booker, who averaged 37.2 points, shooting 60.2 per cent from the field and 85.7 per cent from the foul line.

Only Michael Jordan, in the first round in 1992, had previously averaged 35 or more points on 60 per cent shooting from the field and 80 per cent shooting from the line.

Reflecting on the third quarter, team-mate Kevin Durant said: "It was spiritual.

"I don't scream too much in games as I get older, but when he hit that three at the top of the key, I felt that energy, and I know everyone in the crowd felt it. We feed off his aggression."

Coach Monty Williams added: "When he's going like that, we're not calling any plays."

The fourth quarter was a different story, however.

Booker had only six points as the Clippers, still without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, outscored the Suns by 11 to threaten a fightback.

"I think it's a good lesson for us moving forward," Booker said. "Don't play with your food. Finish out as strong as you can. Keep playing all the way until the whistle blows."

Jaylen Brown was frustrated by the way the Boston Celtics gave the Atlanta Hawks "life" in Game 5, passing up a "tremendous opportunity" to clinch their first-round playoff series.

The Celtics were 3-1 up heading into Tuesday's game in Boston, but they now must go on the road again to attempt to finish the job in Atlanta.

That is after the Hawks won 119-117 in perhaps the biggest upset of the postseason so far.

Dejounte Murray was missing for the Hawks, serving a one-game suspension, but All-Star team-mate Trae Young finished with 38 points and 13 assists in a dominant performance.

"We had a tremendous opportunity," Brown said. "We controlled the game for the most part, and then Trae Young just put on a hell of a performance in the fourth quarter."

Indeed, Young had 16 points in the fourth quarter, including each of the Hawks' last 14.

Atlanta outscored Boston by 12 points in the fourth, having still trailed by eight entering the final four minutes before Young took over, hitting a 30-foot, game-winning three over Brown with three seconds left.

"We made some bonehead plays, some fouls," Brown added. "We gave them some opportunities to get going. We've just got to finish the game.

"We let the game get away from us a little bit, and they just hit shot after shot down the line. When you give a team life, you give them a chance, and that's what we did."

Trae Young kept the Atlanta Hawks' season alive with a deep three-pointer in the final seconds of their 119-117 road victory against the Boston Celtics in Game 5 on Tuesday.

The win, which cut the Celtics' lead to 3-2, looked exceedingly unlikely when a Jaylen Brown three-pointer put Boston ahead 109-96 with 6:10 on the clock.

Seven quick John Collins points brought the Hawks back into the contest, before back-to-back pull-up threes from Young tied things at 111-111 with 2:30 remaining.

After trading free throws late, the Hawks got the ball back with seven seconds, trailing by one with their season on the line.

Showing no fear, Young pulled up from way beyond the three-point line and drilled it, leaving not enough time on the clock for the Celtics to get a shot up.

Young had 14 points in the final 3:18 of play, finishing with a game-high 38 points on 14-of-33 shooting, while also adding a game-high 13 assists as fellow starting guard Dejounte Murray was out serving a one-game suspension.

John Collins chipped in 22 points (nine-of-18 shooting) and Bogdan Bogdanovic made the most of his spot start with 18 points (six-of-nine shooting), six rebounds and five assists.

For the Celtics, Brown was clearly their top performer with 35 points (15-of-23 shooting), while it was another disappointing showing from Jayson Tatum, hitting only one of his 10 three-point attempts on his way to 19 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

Nuggets knock out the Timberwolves

Despite the best efforts of young Minnesota Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards, the Denver Nuggets prevailed 112-109 in Game 5 to secure the 4-1 series win.

Edwards again led the Wolves in scoring with 29 points (13-of-27 shooting), but he was outgunned by Nuggets guard Jamal Murray.

Murray finished with a game-high 35 points (12-of-23 shooting), making up for Nikola Jokic's uncharacteristic shooting night (28 points on eight-of-29 shooting), although he still collected a big triple-double with 17 rebounds and 12 assists.

The Nuggets will face the Phoenix Suns in the second round.

Booker leads the way as Clippers season comes to an end

Devin Booker capped a terrific individual series with another 47 points and 10 assists as his Suns beat the Los Angeles Clippers 136-130 in Game 5.

Booker came into the contest averaging 34.8 points and 5.5 assists while shooting 57.1 per cent from the field and 43.5 per cent from deep in the first four games of the series, and he shot 19-of-27 to close things out for a 4-1 series win.

Kevin Durant added 31 points and Deandre Ayton collected 21 points with 11 rebounds, closing the door on a Clippers team that never stood a chance after injuries to both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

The first overall pick of the 2022 NBA Draft has lived up to the hype, with Orlando Magic wing Paolo Banchero being named NBA Rookie of the Year on Tuesday.

Banchero, 20, looked every bit of a future All-Star, leading all rookies with an average of 20.0 points per game, while his 6.9 rebounds per game had him fifth in the class, and his 3.7 assists per game were the third-most among first-year players.

While he was an inefficient scorer, shooting 42.7 per cent from the field, 29.8 per cent from deep and 73.8 per cent from the free throw line, on any given night he could put together an All-NBA quality performance.

His best performances included a 31-point, six-rebound, two-steal performance in a hard-fought road win against the Boston Celtics in December, hitting six of his seven three-point attempts, and he flirted with his first career triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in an overtime win against the Miami Heat in March.

He ended up collecting 98 out of the 100 possible first-place votes, with Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler receiving the other two to finish in second, and promising Oklahoma City Thunder wing Jalen Williams rounded out the podium spots.

There was a late push for Kessler from the analytics community as the 21-year-old showed he was already capable of playing winning basketball, finishing fourth in the league for blocks per game (2.3), and his 3.3 blocks per game after the All-Star break led the league.

Kessler also shot 72.0 per cent from the field – the third-highest mark among all players averaging at least 20 minutes per game – although his 51 per cent figure from the free throw line is a concern going forward.

LeBron James described it as "pretty cool" to record a first 20-20 of his career in steering the Los Angeles Lakers to a 3-1 lead in their first-round playoffs series against the Memphis Grizzlies.

The veteran has been fired up for the Lakers in the playoffs and had 22 points to go with 20 rebounds as Los Angeles secured a 117-111 overtime win to take a commanding advantage.

James also had seven assists and committed just one turnover in what was a record-extending 270th playoff game for the NBA's all-time leading points scorer.

"I just try to be as great as I can be offensively, but more importantly on the defensive end," James said. 

"That was the mindset tonight. I was able to make a couple of plays. My teammates told me I had 20 and 20. It's the first time I've done it in my career, so that's pretty cool, I guess."

It was James who drained the basket to force overtime then nailed a layup while being fouled that saw the Lakers go up by five in overtime with a little under 30 seconds remaining.

The latter bucket saw James flex his muscles in front of a boisterous home crowd.

"I've been a part of moments where you know you get a dagger play or a kill shot," James said. 

"I felt like that play — it wasn't going to close the door, but there wasn't much light at the end. I just let the emotion come out."

Anthony Davis said of James: "He just took over down the stretch. Got us a bucket to get to overtime.

"All our guys [performed], it was a good team effort. This team is not going to go away."

The Lakers will aim to get the series wrapped up back in Memphis in Game 5 on Wednesday.

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler scored the fourth-most points in NBA playoff history as he led a remarkable 119-114 comeback win in Monday's Game 4 against the Milwaukee Bucks.

The win in front of Miami's home fans gave the Heat a 3-1 series lead against the league's top overall seed, and it was on the back of a spectacular 56-point explosion by Butler.

Butler had 35 points through three quarters as his Heat trailed 89-78 heading into the last period, but after the Bucks jumped ahead 101-89 with just over six minutes remaining, Miami came roaring back.

The Heat put together a 13-0 run from that point to stick their nose in front, setting up Butler to carry his team home.

Butler, a six-time All-Star, put up 21 points in the fourth quarter to finish with 56 all up, shooting 19-of-28 from the field, three-of-eight from deep and 15-of-18 from the free throw line to set a new Miami playoff franchise record.

His 56 points is tied with Charles Barkley (1994), Michael Jordan (1992) and Wilt Chamberlain (1962) for the fourth-most ever in a playoff game, trailing only Donovan Mitchell's 57 (2020), Elgin Baylor's 61 (1962) and MJ's 63 (1986).

No other Miami player scored more than Bam Adebayo's 15 points (six-of-16 shooting), although Caleb Martin provided a crucial spark off the bench with 12 points (four-of-five), nine rebounds and two steals.

For the Bucks, two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was terrific in his return from a two-game absence, putting together a big triple-double with 26 points (12-of-22), 13 assists, 10 rebounds, two blocks and a steal.

Brook Lopez was also immense, with the Defensive Player of the Year candidate contributing a team-high 36 points (13-of-23), 11 rebounds, three blocks and two steals.

The Bucks will look to keep their season alive back in Milwaukee for Game 5, and if they can take that, they will head back to Miami for Game 6, with a chance to earn a Game 7 at home.

LeBron sets new career high in overtime win

LeBron James is somehow still setting career-highs in year 20, snatching down a personal-best 20 rebounds as he carried the Los Angeles Lakers to a 115-108 home win in Game 4 against the Memphis Grizzlies.

James had never secured more than 19 rebounds in a game before – regular season or playoffs – but he had five offensive rebounds to go with 15 on the defensive end, and his Lakers needed every bit of his efforts.

Trailing 104-102 with six seconds remaining, James was the one to nail the game-tying layup and send the contest to overtime, and he would drain the dagger in the extra period as well with a three-point play against Grizzlies rival Dillon Brooks to jump ahead 113-108 with less than 30 seconds on the clock.

The four-time NBA Finals MVP finished with 22 points on eight-of-18 shooting, dishing seven assists and blocking two shots, and he played a team-high 45 minutes.

James had no choice but to produce given how poorly his star team-mate Anthony Davis played on the offensive end, finishing with just 12 points on four-of-13 shooting, and he only had seven points at the conclusion of regulation, although his 14 rebounds and five blocks were important.

Desmond Bane was the offensive focal point for the Grizzlies, scoring a game-high 36 points on 13-of-29 shooting, while Ja Morant was clearly hampered by his injured shooting hand, finishing eight-of-24 from the field for his 19 points, seven assists and three steals.

The Grizzlies will attempt to keep the series alive when the series heads back to Memphis for Game 5, now trailing 3-1.

Just two years ago, Lauri Markkanen had fallen out of the starting lineup for the Chicago Bulls and was scoring a career-low 13.6 points per game.

In 2022-2023, he has been voted the NBA's Most Improved Player after finding a new home with the Utah Jazz.

Markkanen received 69 of 100 first-place votes to claim the award, beating out fellow finalists Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Brunson.

Playing for his third team in as many years, Markkanen broke out this season by averaging 25.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists – all improvements on his numbers last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers of 14.8/5.7/1.3. In February, Markkanen played in his first career All-Star game, where he was named a starter.

He is the first Jazz player to win the award, and the Finland native is the seventh international player to claim the honour.

Markkanen received news of winning the award while fulfilling his required military service in Helsinki.

Markkanen has been involved in several trades and failed to put down roots with his two previous clubs, but he was given a larger role with the Jazz after being part of the deal that sent Donovan Mitchell to Cleveland.

After struggling to find his role with the Bulls and Cavaliers, the seven-foot forward has emerged as a cornerstone in Utah.

Markkanen accepted his award remotely on a TNT telecast, crediting his career-best season to his situation with a new team.

"The right place at the right time," Markkanen said of his first season in Utah.

The Atlanta Hawks are preparing for Game 5 against the Boston Celtics without Dejounte Murray after he was hit with a one-game suspension on Monday for his conduct towards an official.

The incident occurred at the end of Atlanta's Game 4 loss, where Murray was seen to make contact with a referee, and he was accused of verbally abusing them also.

He will miss Tuesday's next game in Boston, which could be the last game of the Hawks' season as they go in down 3-1.

Speaking to the media after being alerted of Murray's suspension, Hawks head coach Quin Snyder said his young star knows he was out of line, and it makes the task ahead even more difficult.

"Beating Boston in the Garden in the situation we're in right now, we all know is a challenge in and of itself," he said. "[But] it's something the entire group has to absorb.

"Dejounte recognizes his part in the situation. That's just not something you can do. You'd have to ask him directly as far as what had transpired previously. 

"I think there was frustration over the course of the game that built up, and he didn't handle it the way that he needs to – he knows that, we talked about it."

As far as filling the gaping hole Murray's absence leaves in the rotation, Snyder was not willing to reveal his thinking.

"Who starts [for Murray]? I'm not sure," he said. "Normally, historically, when one of those guards is out, you could start another guard, or you can go big. 

"We just found all this out. We need to meet as a staff and talk about it and see what makes the most sense for us relative to our opponent. Dejounte, not just in this series, but over the course of the year, has been a real important part of what our team does. 

"We've got to understand that contributions are going to have to come from a number of different players across the board. I don't think you can plug and play in a situation like this. Everybody's got to do their part."

If the Hawks can take Game 5, they will get a chance to tie the series at 3-3 back home in Game 6.

The Houston Rockets have made a deal to make Ime Udoka the franchise’s next head coach, multiple media outlets reported Monday.

Before committing to Udoka, the Rockets reportedly talked to the league office and the Boston Celtics about the circumstances surrounding the end of his tenure with the Celtics.

Udoka was fired last offseason after the Celtics discovered he was in an inappropriate relationship with a fellow team employee.

Best known in his playing days for his defensive stopper role with the San Antonio Spurs, Udoka’s only season of head coaching experience came in 2021-22, when he led the Celtics to a 51-31 record and an NBA Finals appearance.

At the end of the regular season, the Rockets declined to pick up an option on the contract of Stephen Silas, officially opening a head coaching vacancy.

Silas had a combined record of 59-177 in his three seasons leading Houston through a full roster tear-down and rebuild.

The Rockets will be one of three teams with a 14-percent chance at landing the top overall pick in the 2023 draft as the team looks to build around a very young core of Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, Jabari Smith Jr. and Tari Eason.

At full strength, the Rockets had the second-youngest starting lineup in the league this season, averaging 21 years and 147 days old.

The Milwaukee Bucks will receive a huge boost for Monday's Game 4 against the Miami Heat as two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo returns from a two-game injury absence.

Antetokounmpo missed Game 2 and Game 3 after suffering a hard fall early in Game 1, resulting in a back contusion.

After dropping the series opener, the Bucks responded with an emphatic Game 2 victory at home to tie things up, before the Heat jumped ahead 2-1 with their Game 3 triumph in Miami.

Antetokounmpo finished the regular season top-five in both scoring (31.1 points per game) and rebounding (11.8 rebounds per game), and his return will be an enormous boost for the Bucks, who posted the best record in the league at 58-24.

Speaking before Monday's game, Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer declared his star "ready to go".

"We'll keep our eyes on him like we do really all our guys, but there's been nothing put on him from medical or anything like that," he said.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra responded to the news by saying it will be a significantly tougher test with Antetokounmpo in the line-up, but he wants the Bucks at full strength.

"You can do all the prep behind the scenes but [Antetokounmpo] is going to bring it at a different level of physicality and force than what we can cover in a practice," he said.

"We have great respect for him and what he can do... when you get in the playoffs, you want everybody available."

Anthony Edwards channelled his inner-Michael Jordan after admitting he "took it personally" as he made sure the Minnesota Timberwolves did not go down 4-0 to the Denver Nuggets.

Having lost the first three encounters in their Western Conference first-round playoff series, the Timberwolves had one last chance to get on the board, and needed overtime to do it.

Edwards top-scored for his team with 34 at Target Center, though the hosts almost blew it after throwing away a 12-point lead in regulation.

Minnesota were able to get the job done eventually though, winning 114-108 to take the series to Game 5 in Denver, and Edwards made his motivation clear.

"I don't ever want to say I got swept in my career," he said. "So I definitely took it personally tonight."

Despite comfortably being his team's top scorer on Sunday, Edwards was in the mood for modesty after the game, focusing more on the shots he missed.

"I played terrible if you ask me," he said. "I took three bad threes, three terrible possessions, and I damn near shot us out the game. I didn't play that good tonight."

After his team's win, Wolves coach Chris Finch wanted his team to take confidence from the victory

"I think we gotta continue to get into something," Finch said. "I think that's part of the problem is we get down [on ourselves] or we're trying to close out the game too early."

Nuggets star Nikola Jokic scored 43 points with 11 rebounds and six assists, but he and his team still have work to do to finish Minnesota off.

"The hardest thing to stomach about this game is that we were unwilling and unable to get necessary stops," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said.

Game 5 takes place at Ball Arena on Tuesday.

In the classic 1994 comedy film, Jim Carrey puts on a mask that gives him special powers. In the 2023 NBA playoffs, Jaylen Brown seemingly had the same effect after removing his.

With nine minutes left in the second period, and having only scored two points, Brown emerged from a timeout without the protective mask he has worn since fracturing his cheekbone in February.

He went on to finish with 31 points as the Boston Celtics beat the Atlanta Hawks 129-121 at State Farm Arena to go 3-1 up in their Eastern Conference first-round series.

"I was talking to [Marcus] Smart when JB took his mask off and was like, 'Oh, s***. It's go time,'" Celtics guard Jayson Tatum said, who also put up 31 points. "I knew he was going to turn it up a notch."

Brown had scored just one from seven field-goal attempts prior to taking off his mask, going on to net 11 from 15 after that.

"Maybe it was all in my head, but I just needed a different look," Brown said. "As soon as I took it off, things started to turn around a little bit."

It was an astonishing turn in form from Brown, who is averaging 23.3 points per game in the playoffs so far.

"I've just started getting comfortable with it since I've been wearing it," he added about the mask. "When I first put it on, I didn't like it too much, and I had to wear it.

"I just needed something different [on Sunday]. I don't know what it was: Change my shoes, wipe my hands off, take the mask off, whatever it is I needed to do, I needed to do to help our team get a win, and that's what I was trying to do."

The Celtics can clinch the series in Game 5 when they return to TD Garden on Tuesday.

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