Jalen Brunson's Game 7 ended with a fractured left hand.

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.

 

Rick Carlisle hailed the efforts of his Indiana Pacers players after they forced their playoff series with the New York Knicks to Game 7.

Carlisle challenged his players directly in the wake of their loss in Game 5, which put them 3-2 down in the series.

And the Pacers responded with a fine display in a 116-103 victory, which sees the series go down to the wire, with Game 7 set for Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

"It was just activity. We played harder tonight, which was a must," Carlisle said.

"We moved the ball better and we got more rebounds, and that's obviously a big key to the series.

"We gotta brace for Sunday. And we must be ready."

Tyrese Haliburton had 15 points and nine assists for the Pacers, and said: "Coaches challenged our effort, I think that was the biggest thing.

"We had some boneheaded things happen [in Game 5].

"He [Carlisle] just really challenged our group [players] 1-15 on how can we be better."

Jalen Brunson finished with 31 points for the Knicks, but he was not overly impressed by his own performance. 

"They try to make things difficult," Brunson said. "And I have to adjust as well. Show me different looks and I have to do a better job of reading it."

Rick Carlisle insists there are "no excuses" after the Indiana Pacers' 121-91 defeat to the New York Knicks saw them fall behind in the Eastern Conference semi-final series.

Jalen Brunson top-scored with 44 points in Game 5 at Madison Square Garden as the Knicks edged 3-2 ahead in the series with a commanding win that moved them to the brink of their first Eastern Conference finals appearance since 2000.

Pascal Siakam's contribution of 22 points proved academic for Indiana, who must continue their unbeaten postseason run on home soil in Game 6 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse if they are to take the series into a decider.

The Pacers are making their first playoff appearance since 2018-19 - and targeting a first Conference finals appearance in 10 years - and Carlisle believes his side's marginal inexperience proved crucial in Game 5.

"There are no excuses," he said. "But all the guys on our roster, I believe it's the first time they've been in a Game 5, tied 2-2, going on the road. So, you learn a lot in those situations very quickly.

"This is a different circumstance, and as a playoff series, it's going to get harder and harder. Their overall level of fight in this game was superior to what ours was, and that's the bottom line."

Tyrese Haliburton added: "They made a lot of shots today. But with the ones they did miss, they grabbed the offensive rebounds."

Meanwhile, Knicks guard Miles McBride saluted the character of his team-mates, who bounced back from a humbling 121-89 defeat in Game 4.

"I think the shift started in the locker room in Indiana," he said. "We talked about it and knew we had to respond."

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.

Jalen Brunson refused to make excuses for the New York Knicks after injuries and fatigue hampered them in their Game 4 defeat to the Indiana Pacers on Sunday.

The Pacers recorded a dominant 121-89 win at Gainbridge Fieldhouse to level the teams' Eastern Conference semifinal series at 2-2, with Tyrese Haliburton scoring a team-high 20 points.

Haliburton was one of six Indiana players in double figures but it was their defense that did the hard yards, limiting Brunson to just 18 points in support of Alec Burks, who had 20 points of his own.

Brunson entered the contest averaging a league-high 34.6 points this postseason, but he was 6-of-17 shooting and received little support from elsewhere as Josh Hart had two points in 24 minutes and Donte DiVincenzo tallied seven.

The Knicks were sluggish from the off as they played a second straight game without defensive stopper OG Anunoby, who sustained a hamstring injury in Game 2.

Brunson, however, was not about to excuse their poor performance.

"We can talk about fresher legs and you can give us all the pity that we want," he said. "Yeah, we're shorthanded, but that doesn't matter right now. 

"We have what we have and we need to go forward with that. There is no excuse. There's no excuse whatsoever. If we lose, we lose. That's what that was."

The series will now head back to Madison Square Garden on Tuesday for Game 5, and Pacers coach Rick Carlisle expects a strong response from their opponents.

"New York is a team that has shown that it has an indomitable will to compete and rise above anything people say they can't do," Carlisle said. 

"We've seen it throughout the season. We've seen it in this series. We're believers in that, and so we've got to focus on us. 

"Everything is going to be a situation where you've got your hands completely full."

Nikola Jokić scored 16 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter as the Denver Nuggets held off the Minnesota TImberwolves to earn a critical 115-107 win in Sunday's Game 4 of a Western Conference semifinal series. 

Aaron Gordon also provided the Nuggets a huge lift by amassing 27 points on 11-of-12 shooting as the reigning NBA champions evened the series at 2-2. Jamal Murray added 19 points, 12 of which came in the third quarter, to help Denver to its second straight victory in Minnesota after the TImberwolves won Games 1 and 2 on the road.

The best-of-seven series will return to Denver for Tuesday's pivotal Game 5.

Denver also overcame another superb performance from Minnesota's Anthony Edwards, who put up a play-off career-high 44 points for his third 40-point effort in this post-season. 

Edwards' All-Star teammate Karl-Anthony Towns struggled, however, as he was held to 13 points on 5-of-18 shooting to go along with 12 rebounds. 

The Nuggets never trailed after taking a 23-22 lead on Gordon's three-point play with 2:39 left in the first quarter. They led 29-24 after one period, then scored the final eight points of the first half to own a 64-49 advantage at intermission.

Murray capped the opening half by draining a 3-point shot from half-court as the buzzer sounded.

Denver's lead swelled to as many as 18 points early in the third quarter, but the Timberwolves gradually chipped away and cut their deficit to 111-104 when Edwards followed teammate Jaden McDaniels' 3-pointer with a running layup with 1:41 left to play.

Minnesota didn't make another basket the rest of the way, though, and Jokic sealed the outcome by scoring off a Gordon feed out of a timeout with 25.8 seconds remaining to make the score 115-107.

 Pacers clamp down on Knicks to even series

The Eastern Conference now has a series all even at two games apiece as well after the Indiana Pacers came through with a dominant 121-89 Game 4 rout of the New York Knicks.

Tyrese Haliburton led a balanced Indiana scoring attack with 20 points, but it was the Pacers' defence that provided the biggest reason why the series is now all tied as it heads back to New York for Tuesday's Game 5.

The Knicks shot a meagre 18.9 per cent (7 for 37) from 3-point range, their lowest accuracy rate in a play-off game since 2000, and 33.7 per cent overall in by far their most lopsided defeat of this post-season. Star guard Jalen Brunson, who entered the contest averaging a league-leading 34.6 points per game in the post-season, was held to 18 points on 6-of-17 shooting.

T.J. McConnell added 15 points and 10 assists for Indiana, which immediately assumed control by opening the game on a 19-6 run and shooting 60.9 per cent in the first quarter.

New York, on the other hand, went 6 of 23 from the field in the opening period and trailed 34-14 entering the second. 

The Pacers continued to dominate in the second quarter, building a lead as large as 30 points and taking a commanding 69-41 advantage into the break. Five Pacers scored in double figures in the first half, led by Haliburton's 13 points.

New York failed to mount a challenge in the second half as well, as the Pacers extended the margin to 101-63 after three quarters and led by as many as 43 points in the fourth.

Alec Burks finished with 20 points to lead the Knicks, who played without defensive stopper OG Anunoby for a second straight game due to a left hamstring injury he sustained in Game 2. 

 

Nikola Jokić had 24 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists and Jamal Murray bounced back with 24 points as the Denver Nuggets rolled to a 117-90 rout of the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals on Friday.

Michael Porter Jr. scored 21 points and Aaron Gordon had 13 for the Nuggets, who cruised to an easy win on the road after dropping the first two games at home.

They are the 30th team in the history of the NBA playoffs to lose the first two games at home in a best-of-seven series. Five of them have rallied to win, most recently the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round in 2021.

Game 4 is Sunday in Minneapolis.

Murray totalled just 25 points on 9-of-32 shooting over the first two games but was 11 of 21 in this one.

Denver shot 14 of 29 from 3-point range with Gordon and Porter combining to hit 7 of 9.

Anthony Edwards was held in check with 19 points and Karl-Anthony Towns had 14 for a Wolves team that suffered its first loss in seven playoff games.

Minnesota shot 10 of 33 from long range and fell behind by as many as 34 points down the stretch.

Pacers rally to cut deficit to 2-1

Andrew Nembhard drilled a 31-foot, tiebreaking 3-pointer with 16 seconds left and Tyrese Haliburton had 35 points with six 3-pointers as the Indiana Pacers rallied for a 111-106 win over the banged-up New York Knicks in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Knicks lead the series 2-1 with Game 4 on Sunday in Indianapolis. New York held a nine-point lead with 9:45 remaining but was unable to hold the lead with star guard Jalen Brunson slowed by a right foot injury.

Nembhard scored all five of his points in the final minute, connecting on a long 3 as the shot clock expired to give the Pacers a 109-106 lead.

Brunson missed a potential tying 3 with 14 seconds left and finished with 26 points on 10-of-26 shooting.

Donte DiVincenzo scored 35 points and was 7 for 11 on 3s, while Alec Burks, who came in having played just 1 minute in the playoffs, scored 14 points in 21 minutes for the Knicks, who played without starting forward OG Anunoby.

It’s unclear whether Anunoby can recover from his injured left hamstring to play Sunday.,

Haliburton triggered Indiana’s comeback in the fourth quarter. He completed a three-point play and then made back-to-back layups to make it 98-96. After Brunson made a free throw, Pascal Siakam tied the score with a three-point play.

The teams traded the lead four more times, with Brunson’s 3 tying it at 106 with 42 seconds remaining.  

 

Jalen Brunson was hailed "a warrior" by team-mate Donte DiVincenzo after his return from injury inspired the New York Knicks to a second-half turnaround against the Indiana Pacers.

The Knicks ran out 130-121 winners in Game 2 at Madison Square Garden to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semi-final series.

Things did not look good for the hosts, who also lost OG Anunoby in the third quarter to a hamstring injury, as Brunson was forced to exit during the first quarter with a foot problem.

However, with the Knicks trailing 73-63 at half-time, the point guard received a raucous ovation from the home supporters as he returned to warm up in a bid to shake off his injury.

"He's a warrior," said DiVincenzo, who finished with 28 points. "There was no doubt in my mind he'd be back."

"He's a great leader, and the players all have respect for that when a guy tries to give whatever he has. It says a lot about him," coach Tom Thibodeau added.

"To me, the actions say a lot more than the words. It says that you care a lot about your team and your team-mates."

Brunson's return certainly inspired New York, who were already without Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson and Bojan Bogdanovic due to season-ending injuries.

He notched up 24 of his 29 points during the second half as the Knicks moved halfway towards reaching their first Eastern Conference final since 2000.

"It was really cool," Brunson said of his half-time reception. "But I just knew I had to get my mind in the right place to figure out how I was going to attack in the second half."

Jalen Brunson shook off a right foot injury to score 24 of his 29 points in the second half, and the New York Knicks withstood an injury to OG Anunoby for a 130-121 win over the Indiana Pacers to take a 2-0 lead on Wednesday in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Brunson was forced to exit in the first quarter with the injury but returned to warm up at halftime, sending the Madison Square Garden crowd into a frenzy.

He fell short of becoming the second player in NBA history to score 40 or more points in five straight playoff games, but still provided the spark to move the Knicks halfway to their first East finals appearance since 2000.

The series shifts to Indiana for Game 3 on Friday.

Anunoby scored a career playoff-high 28 points before leaving in the third quarter with a left hamstring injury. New York is already playing without three key players (Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson and Bojan Bogdanovic) due to season-ending injuries.

Donte DiVincenzo also scored 28 points with six 3-pointers, Josh Hart had 19 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists and Isaiah Hartenstein added 14 points, 12 boards and eight assists for the Knicks, who hit nearly half of their 3-point attempts (14 for 30).

Tyrese Haliburton bounced back from a poor Game 1 with 34 points, nine assists and six rebounds for the Pacers, who hurt themselves by shooting 10 for 17 from the free throw line.

New York Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau hailed Jalen Brunson after he became just the fourth player to score 40 points in four straight playoff games, saying: "Whatever it is we need, he'll provide."

Brunson continued his incredible postseason form with 43 points in the Knicks' 121-117 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of the teams' Eastern Conference semifinal series on Monday.

He is just the fourth player to achieve that feat in NBA history and the first since Hall of Famer Michael Jordan in 1993. Jerry West and Bernard King are the other players to do so. 

Brunson also added six rebounds and six assists, while Donte DiVincenzo and Josh Hart supported him with 25 and 24 points respectively.

Speaking after the game, Thibodeau credited Brunson for his single-minded approach as he said: "You could go on and on every night, and the thing I love about him is he's all about the team.  

"All he cares about is winning, and he cares about his team-mates, and he's like, in the end, what do we need? Do we need a big bucket? Whatever it is we need, he'll provide."

Brunson has averaged 12.4 fourth-quarter points in his last five games, and he came up clutch again on Monday by making six of 10 shots and all eight of his free throws in the final period.

The All-Star guard, however, chose to give credit to his team-mates, saying: "The little things can go a long way. The 40 points are cool and all, but it's the little things that help us win games like that. 

"So I'm just happy I have the group of guys that I do. I just know that we're going to fight every single day. That's all I'm thinking about."

There was a hint of controversy about the Knicks' win as Indiana center Myles Turner was called for a moving screen on DiVincenzo with just 12.7 seconds left.

The Pacers challenged the call but failed to overturn it, having earlier seen Aaron Nesmith contentiously pulled up for a kicked ball – a decision the referees admitted to getting wrong after the game.

Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said: "We're not expecting to get calls in here. It would have been nice if they laid off that one, but they didn't. So that's just the way it goes."

Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns each had 27 points as the Minnesota Timberwolves frustrated the Denver Nuggets once again to take a stunning 2-0 series lead on the reigning NBA champions.

Monday's 106-80 rout put the third-seeded Timberwolves in firm control of this Western Conference semifinal series, as they'll host the next two games after taking the first two matchups in Denver. Game 3 is set for Friday in Minneapolis.

Minnesota improved to 6-0 this post-season by shutting down Nikola Jokić and the second-seeded Nuggets' potent offence, and did so even with three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert unavailable as he attended the birth of his child.

The Timberwolves held Denver to 32.6 per cent shooting in the first half while taking a commanding 61-35 lead into the break, and the Nuggets finished the night shooting 34.9 per cent while committing 16 turnovers.

Jokic was held in check as the two-time league MVP was held to 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting, while Jamal Murray ended 3 of 18 from the field while managing just eight points in 36 minutes.

Aaron Gordon paced Denver, which entered the series 14-1 in its last 15 play-off games dating back to 2022, with 20 points. Jokic did record 16 rebounds and eight assists and Murray amassed 13 rebounds.

Towns added 12 rebounds for Minnesota, which led by as many as 32 points in the third quarter and finished with its largest margin of victory in a road play-off game in franchise history.

Brunson joins exclusive club, leads Knicks past Pacers in Game 1

Jalen Brunson extended his streak of 40-point performances and led a fourth-quarter rally that propelled the New York Knicks to a 121-117 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Brunson netted 21 fourth-quarter points and 43 overall for his fourth consecutive post-season game with 40 or more. The All-Star guard is just the fourth player in NBA history to achieve the feat and first since Hall of Famer Michael Jordan did so in 1993.

Donte DiVincenzo added 25 points and put New York ahead for good on a 3-pointer with 40.4 seconds left that snapped a 115-115 tie. 

The second-seeded Knicks trailed No. 6 seed Indiana 94-85 early in the fourth quarter before closing the gap with an 8-0 run. Brunson scored the first three points of the spurt, which DiVincenzo capped with a 3-pointer that brought New York within one with 8:56 remaining.

The Knicks later scored nine straight points - seven coming from Brunson - to take a 113-109 lead with 2:42 left, but two New York turnovers led to six consecutive Indiana points as the Pacers moved ahead by a 115-113 count with 1:33 to go.

Brunson buried a short jumper on the ensuing possession, however, and DiVincenzo knocked down a 28-footer after Indiana's Andrew Nembhard missed a 3-point try to send the Knicks back in front.

Pascal Siakam's layup with 26.6 seconds left to play brought Indiana within 118-117, but the Pacers went scoreless the rest of the way and Brunson sealed the outcome with three late free throws.

Siakam finished with 19 points and Myles Turner had 23 for Indiana, though Pacers' All-Star Tyrese Haliburton was held to six points in 36 minutes after being listed as questionable for Game 1 due to back spasms.

Josh Hart also had a big night for New York, which will host Game 2 on Wednesday, by compiling 24 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists. 

 

Jalen Brunson scored 14 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter and Josh Hart made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 24.4 seconds left as the New York Knicks advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals with a 118-115 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday.

Donte DiVincenzo added 23 points, OG Anunoby had 19 and Hart finished with 16 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists as the Knicks reached the second round for the second consecutive season.

New York will face Indiana in the East semis after the Pacers eliminated the Bucks in six games. Game 1 is Monday at Madison Square Garden.

Brunson became the first player to score 40 or more points to close out a series since Michael Jordan for Chicago against Cleveland in 1989.

Joel Embiid had 39 points and 13 rebounds but was held to six points in the fourth quarter. Buddy Hield scored 20 points off the bench and Tyrese Maxey was a non-factor in the first half and finished with 17 points on 6-of-18 shooting as the 76ers failed to win a playoff round for the first time since 2019-20.

The Knicks led 109-101 with 2 ½ minutes remaining in the back-and-forth game, but Kelly Oubre Jr. hit a 3 and a layup sandwiched around Maxey’s layup to make it a one-point game.

After Brunson’s layup put New York up 111-108 with under a minute to play, Maxey converted a three-point play with 35 seconds left to tie it.

Hart drilled a 3 from the top of the key before Embiid’s layup four seconds later made it 114-113. DiVincenzo and Brunson each sank two free throws to seal it.

 

Pacers advance with rout of Bucks

Obi Toppin led six players in double figures with a playoff career-high 21 points and the Indiana Pacers won a playoff series for the first time in a decade with a 120-98 rout of the Milwaukee Bucks.

T.J. McConnell had 20 points and nine assists off the bench, Pascal Siakam added 19 points and Tyrese Haliburton contributed 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers, who had lost their last six playoff series since 2014.

Indiana will face New York in the next round after the Knicks eliminated Philadelphia.

The Pacers went 8-3 against the Bucks this season and handed Milwaukee its second straight first-round exit.

Damian Lillard returned from a right Achilles injury with 28 points and Bobby Portis added 20 and 15 rebounds for the Bucks, who shot just 42.2 percent (35 for 83) from the field and 25.9 percent (7 for 27) from 3-point range.

Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo missed the entire series after straining his left calf on April 9.

The Pacers used a 15-3 run in the first quarter for a 29-19 lead and never trailed again.

Milwaukee cut the deficit to 85-78 with 6:05 left in the third, but McConnell capped an 11-0 run with consecutive 3s to make it 96-78 early in the fourth.

Tyrese Maxey scored seven points in the final 25 seconds of regulation to save Philadelphia’s season and finished with a playoff career-high 46 as the 76ers staved off elimination in their Eastern Conference first-round series with an unlikely 112-106 victory over the New York Knicks on Tuesday.

Down six with 28 seconds left in regulation, Maxey converted the rare four-point play with 25 seconds to play, and after Josh Hart’s free throw, hit a 35-foot 3-pointer to tie it at 97 with 8.1 seconds remaining in front of a stunned Madison Square Garden crowd.

Joel Embiid had 19 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists and nine turnovers for the 76ers, who will host Game 6 on Thursday.

Maxey added nine assists and was 7 of 12 from 3-point range.

Brunson scored 40 points and Hart had 18 with nine rebounds for the Knicks, who were tantalisingly close to reaching the Eastern Conference semifinals for the second straight season.

Brunson scored the first five points of overtime but Maxey's 3 triggered a 9-0 run that Embiid capped with a 3-point play with 1:40 left for a 106-102 lead. Brunson tied it with a 3 but Kelly Oubre Jr. made the tiebreaking basket with 62 seconds to play, and Tobias Harris sealed it with two free throws. 

 

Short-handed Bucks stay alive

Khris Middleton had 29 points and 12 rebounds and Bobby Portis added 29 with 10 boards as the Milwaukee Bucks stayed alive with a 115-92 win over the Indiana Pacers in Game 5 despite missing leading scorers Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard.

Portis had the highest point total of his playoff career and made amends after he was ejected from a Game 4 loss. Middleton had his third straight game with at least 25 points.

Tyrese Haliburton scored 16 points and Myles Turner added 13 for the Pacers, who still lead the series 3-2 and will try to close it out at home in Game 6 on Thursday. Indiana hasn’t advanced past the first round since 2014.

The Bucks got a balanced effort without Antetokounmpo and Lillard, as every starter scored in double figures. Antetokounmpo has missed the entire series and hasn’t played since straining his left calf on April 9. Lillard sat out a second consecutive game after injuring his Achilles tendon in Game 3 on Friday.

 

Cavs edge Magic for 3-2 lead

Donovan Mitchell scored 28 points and Evan Mobley came up with a huge block in the final seconds to lift the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 104-103 win over the Orlando Magic to take a 3-2 lead in their Eastern Conference series.

After Mitchell missed a jumper with 15.7 seconds left, Franz Wagner drove the left side for a potential game-tying layup but was denied at the rim by Mobley with six seconds left.

Mitchell, who had 14 fourth-quarter points, was then fouled and made two free throws with 3.2 seconds remaining to up Cleveland’s lead to 104-100. Paolo Banchero made a 3-pointer in the final second for the final margin.

The Cavs bounced back at home after losing two road games and can finish off the Magic in Orlando in Game 6 on Friday.

Max Strus scored 16 points to help Cleveland offset the loss of starting center Jarrett Allen (bruised rib) and Mobley added 14 points and 13 rebounds.

Banchero scored 16 of his 39 points in the fourth quarter and grabbed eight rebounds, but the next closest Magic player was Wagner with 14 points.  

 

Jalen Brunson will not spend too long thinking about his 47-point haul in Game 4 against the Philadelphia 76ers as he looks towards the second round of the playoffs.

The New York Knicks took a 3-1 lead in their first-round series thanks to a 97-92 victory on Sunday.

Brunson inspired the Knicks with a stunning 47-point performance, while he also chipped in with 10 assists.

But with the Knicks just one win away from progressing, Brunson is not resting on his laurels.

"I'll look back when I retire," Brunson said.

"Seriously. It's great right now, it helped us get a win.

"But it's not going to do anything for us going forward."

Brunson's haul was a franchise record, as he surpassed Bernard King (46) for the most points scored in a playoff game for the Knicks.

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said: "I think we learned that throughout the course of the season. Jalen has played at such an incredibly high level all season long, and we can play off that.

"We have a little bit of everything. And the rebounding has been terrific. Everyone questioned the rebounding with Josh [Hart] at the power forward. We've been the best rebounding team all year. Everyone questioned Jalen being a leader.

"We have a lot to prove. It takes four to win a series, that's what we have to focus on."

The Sixers are staring down the barrel of an early exit, but Joel Embiid, who finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds, does not believe the pressure is on Philadelphia.

"One at a time," said Embiid. "We know we're good enough. We didn't make shots, so we just got to keep trusting ourselves.

"We got no pressure. We're the seven seed, down 3-1, a lot of guys are hurt.

"I don't know why we would feel the pressure. So we should just go out there and go out and play our best basketball and one at a time, win one, come back home, win another one and then Game 7 over there. So, yeah, I'm looking forward to it. Yeah. No pressure."

Fresh from putting up 50 points in the Philadelphia 76ers' Game 3 win over the New York Knicks, Joel Embiid revealed he has been suffering from Bell's palsy, a condition affecting the left side of his face and causing blurred vision.

The reigning NBA MVP added eight rebounds and four assists to his half-century as the Sixers dragged themselves back into their first-round series after two road losses.

He became the first player in playoff history to record a 50-point game while attempting fewer than 20 shots, going 13 of 19 from the floor and making 19 of 21 free throws.

He did it while suffering from a condition which causes temporary weakness or lack of movement in one side of the face.

Embiid has to continually use eye drops to combat the blurred vision, and he says the symptoms could last for weeks or months.

"I think it started a day or two before the Miami game [in the Play-In tournament], and I had bad migraines and thought it was nothing," Embiid said in his post-game press conference. 

"It's pretty annoying, you know, with the left side of my face, my mouth and my eye. So yeah, it's been tough.

"I'm not a quitter, so I've got to keep fighting, but yeah, it's unfortunate. That's the way I look at it. It's not an excuse. I've got to keep pushing."

Smiling, he added: "I just hope it could stay like this. I've got a beautiful face. I don't like it when my mouth is looking the other way.

"Like I said, it's an unfortunate situation, but everything happens for a reason. Like I said, I've got to take care of myself mentally."

Embiid has endured a difficult season after landing the NBA's top individual prize last year. He missed two months after undergoing surgery to repair the lateral meniscus in his left knee in February.

Still wearing a brace on the affected knee, Embiid said he is still unable to trust it completely. 

"No, I'm just trying to keep pushing," he said when asked if he had 100 per cent confidence in his condition. "Like I said, I'm not going to quit. 

"Even if it's on one leg, I'm still going to go out there and try, but no, that's not an excuse. I've got to keep playing better and better and better. 

"Tonight I got lucky. I made a few shots. I've got to find a way to rebound, and I don't even care about rebounds. I've just got to make sure that my man doesn't get it, and then box out my man and take him out of the play. Whatever it takes to win."

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