Canada's Jamal Murray pours in 35 points to help Nuggets eliminate Timberwolves
Suns eliminate Clippers in Game 5; Young lifts Hawks over Celtics to force Game 6
Nikola Jokic had a triple-double and Jamal Murray scored 35 points as the Denver Nuggets eliminated the Minnesota Timberwolves 112-109 in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series on Tuesday night.
Anthony Edwards, who led Minnesota with 29 points, hit the back iron on a 27-foot three-point attempt at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime.
Jokic overcame a slow offensive start to finish with 28 points, 17 rebounds and a dozen assists. He made just 8 of 29 shots, but scored eight points down the stretch to help the Nuggets fend off the pesky Timberwolves.
The top-seeded Nuggets will face the Phoenix Suns series in the second round.
Denver advanced thanks to making 32 of 36 free throws.
Jamal Murray showed out as the Nuggets won to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals 😤<br><br>35 PTS<br>4 REB<br>5 AST<br>5 3PM<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAPlayoffs?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAPlayoffs</a> presented by Google Pixel <a href="https://t.co/xxpSlMaT7Z">pic.twitter.com/xxpSlMaT7Z</a>—@NBA
Michael Porter Jr. was held without a basket until his dunk with 10:08 left in the game. Jokic missed eight of his first 10 shots 48 hours after tying his career playoff high with 43 points in a Game 4 overtime loss at Minnesota.
Karl-Anthony Towns added 26 points for the Wolves, Rudy Gobert had 16 points and 15 rebounds before fouling out and Nickeil Alexander-Walker chipped in 14 points.
The Nuggets got 14 points from Aaron Gordon and Bruce Brown, who was in Edwards' face on the game-tying attempt at the buzzer. Porter scored all eight of his points in the fourth quarter, including a pair of clutch three-pointers after missing his first five shots from behind the arc.
The Nuggets went into halftime with the lead for the fifth time in the series, but they were up just 48-47 after Jokic and Porter combined to go 2 for 16 from the floor.
Murray, whose 16 first-half points kept the Nuggets in it after they fell behind by 13 early on, got a long rebound and pulled up for a 26-foot three-pointer when no defender picked him up in transition. That put Denver ahead 48-45 with their first lead since the opening minutes.
The Wolves, who avoided a sweep with an overtime win in Minneapolis on Sunday, jumped out to a 25-12 lead before the Nuggets began chipping away.
Booker scores 47 as Suns eliminate Clippers
Devin Booker scored 47 points, including 25 in a spectacular third quarter, to lead the Phoenix Suns past the Los Angeles Clippers 136-130 on Tuesday night and win the Western Conference first-round playoff series in five games.
Los Angeles had multiple chances to tie in the final three minutes, but could never convert. Durant made a layup to push Phoenix's lead to 134-130 and then made two free throws to put the Suns up six with 31.3 seconds left.
Durant finished with 31 points while Deandre Ayton had 21 points and 11 rebounds. Booker shot 19 of 27 from the field.
Devin Booker (41 PTS) just went OFF in Q3.<br><br>25 PTS (10-11 FG, 3-4 3PM) 🔥<br><br>He's in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PLAYOFFMODE?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PLAYOFFMODE</a> on TNT ‼️ <a href="https://t.co/OIiXSMnDO9">pic.twitter.com/OIiXSMnDO9</a>—@NBA
Durant's final free throws capped a wild back-and-forth second half that saw the Clippers take a 71-61 lead early in the third.
But the Suns — led by Booker's stellar shot making — unleashed a powerful wave of offence, pouring in 50 points in the third quarter to take a 111-94 lead into the fourth. Booker made 10 of 11 shots in the rally, including three three-pointers and a tomahawk fastbreak dunk.
The flustered Clippers had no answer until it was too late. Norman Powell led Los Angeles with 27 points while Mason Plumlee scored 20 off the bench.
It was a tough night for Russell Westbrook, who scored 14 points on 3 of 18 shooting and had a costly turnover in the final minute.
Game 1 against the Nuggets is Saturday in Denver.
Young's long 3 helps Hawks force Game 6 vs. Celts
Trae Young had 38 points and drained a long go-ahead three-pointer from beyond the top of the key with 1.8 seconds left to help the visiting Atlanta Hawks cap a late comeback and beat the Boston Celtics 119-117 Tuesday night.
The victory trims Boston's lead in the first-round playoff series to 3-2 and sends the teams back to Atlanta for Game 6 on Thursday.
ICE TRAE WINS IT FOR THE HAWKS 🥶<br><br>38 PTS TO FORCE A GAME 6 😱 <a href="https://t.co/6BOoEh4ZQz">pic.twitter.com/6BOoEh4ZQz</a>—@NBA
John Collins added 22 points for Atlanta, who played without Dejounte Murray, who was suspended for one game for bumping official Gediminas Petraitis with his chest while walking off the court after the end of Game 4.
Jaylen Brown scored 35 points and Jayson Tatum added 19 for the Celtics, who were outscored 37-25 in the fourth quarter.
The Celtics bobbled their initial inbounds pass and had another chance with 0.5 seconds left, but Tatum's fading three-point try found only air as time expired.
Brown, who has been recovering from a late-season facial fracture, went unmasked for most of the Celtics' victory in Game 4, saying he found energy after taking it off during a 31-point scoring night.
He wore it again for Game 5 and maintained the same intensity, leading all scorers with 23 first-half points and connecting on 10 of his first 13 shots.
Banchero wins rookie of the year
Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero became the frontrunner to win rookie of the year race from the very moment that he went No. 1 in last year's draft.
And nobody caught him.
The former Duke standout averaged 20 points per game. He had 15 games of at least 25 points and 40 games of at least 20 points, both the most among rookies this season. And he won rookie of the month four times, each of those announcements only further indicating that he was ahead of the field.
He became the third player to win rookie of the year as a member of the Magic, joining Shaquille O'Neal in 1993 and Mike Miller — who represents Banchero — in 2001.
Banchero got 98 of the 100 first-place votes from a panel of writers and broadcasters who cover the league. Jalen Williams of the Oklahoma City Thunder was second and Walker Kessler of the Utah Jazz was third. Kessler got the two first-place votes that Banchero didn't receive.