Luka Doncic beats buzzer with long 3-pointer in OT as Mavericks even series with Clippers
Donovan Mitchell scores 51 points as Jazz take 3-1 series lead against Nuggets
Luka Doncic stepped back for a winning 3-pointer — on a tender ankle, no less.
Another installment in the ever-growing legend of Doncic.
Doncic's deep shot at the buzzer capped a triple-double and the short-handed Dallas Mavericks beat the Los Angeles Clippers 135-133 in overtime Sunday to even the playoff series at two games apiece.
Doncic finished with 43 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists for his second straight triple-double.
"We know this kid has got a flair for the dramatic," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "He's a guy that lives for these moments."
WATCH | Doncic, Mavs stun Clippers in OT:
To think, Doncic was a game-time decision due to the left ankle he hurt in Game 3. But once he stepped on the floor, he knew he would give it a go.
And once crunch time hit, the ankle wasn't even a thought.
"One of the best feelings I've ever had as a player," Doncic said about the winner. "Just something special."
Marcus Morris hit a 3-pointer with around 9 seconds remaining in OT to give the Clippers the lead. It simply set the stage for Doncic's winner over Reggie Jackson. His teammates rushed out to congratulate him.
"Big-time players make big-time plays. He's a big-time player," teammate Trey Burke said. "He's proved it already in this league."
Mavs' biggest playoff comeback win
Doncic's theatrics helped the seventh-seeded Mavericks post their biggest playoff comeback win, overcoming a 21-point, second-quarter deficit. Their previous best was 19 against the Spurs in San Antonio during Game 5 of the 2003 Western Conference Finals.
Dallas used a 16-0 run in the third to take the lead — and led by 12 points in the fourth before the Clippers rallied.
Lou Williams tied it at 121 by hitting two of three free throws with 50.6 seconds remaining in regulation. After Dallas failed to score on the next possession, the Clippers called a timeout to set up a play with 24.7 seconds left.
Kawhi Leonard's 3-point shot with 0.2 seconds remaining was off the mark. The Mavericks failed on a lob toward big man Boban Marjanovic to send it to overtime.
"Bottom line is the last play didn't lose the game for us," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "It was our entire play from the second quarter on."
Doncic didn't have centre Kristaps Porzingis, who sat out with right knee soreness.
The 21-year-old Doncic hurt his left ankle in the last game. He hardly looked hampered, going 18 of 31 from the floor. He tested the ankle often, too, with jump stops, pivots and an impressive Euro-steps to gain separation.
Doncic gets a breather
Doncic got a breather to start the fourth quarter. He sat on the bench as trainers worked on his ankle. He then hopped up and down in the hallway and rode an exercise bike before returning with 8:33 remaining and the Mavericks leading 106-96.
The teams exchanged 3-pointer after 3-pointer down the stretch of the fourth, with the Clippers pulling to 119-117 on Leonard's 3-pointer with 1:56 left. The play was set up when Jackson saved a ball from going out of bounds on his end and tossed it all the way over to Leonard in the offensive end.
Williams scored 36 points off the bench for the second-seeded Clippers, and Leonard had 32. Paul George finished with nine points as his struggles continued. He was 3 of 14 from the field and is shooting 29% in the series.
"If I make shots this series could be a little different," George said. "That's what it comes down to. Give them credit, they're playing well. Luka's playing phenomenal."
Mitchell powers Jazz past Nuggets in Game 4
Donovan Mitchell added his name to a prestigious list that includes Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and Wilt Chamberlain.
The four are the only NBA players to notch two 50 or more point games in a single post-season.
And Mitchell looks to just be getting started.
Mitchell scored 18 of his 51 points in the fourth quarter and the Utah Jazz withstood a 50-point night from Jamal Murray of Kitchener, Ont., to beat the Denver Nuggets 129-127 on Sunday and take a 3-1 lead in the playoff series.
Mitchell was 15 of 27 from the floor and went 17 of 18 from the free throw line. The 23-year-old Mitchell scored 57 points in Game 1. He's averaging 39.5 points in the series.
Since the return to action, he's looked like a different player. For that, he credits a chip on his shoulder.
"I love hearing negative things about me," Mitchell said. "The knock on me has been inefficient, not a team player. I pride myself on being a team player. ... People are going to say what they say. You can't please everybody. For me, it's how can I help my team win? Tonight it was scoring 50. Some nights it's not.
"They want to talk. It's just more fuel to the fire for me."
He's flattered to be joining such elite company. Iverson had a pair of games with 50 or more points in the 2001 playoffs, while Jordan accomplished the feat in `88 and '93, and Chamberlain in '60, according to the Jazz.
"I've got a lot of work to do to catch up to those guys," Mitchell cracked.
The Jazz can close the series out in Game 5 on Tuesday. But the Nuggets aren't ready to go home from the NBA bubble just yet, Murray said.
"There's a lot of fight in us left," he said. "One game at a time."
Murray sets Canadian record
Murray's 50-point performance set a new record for points scored by a Canadian in any type of NBA game. Steve Nash dropped 48 points for the Phoenix Suns in Game 4 of the 2005 Western Conference Semifinals against the Dallas Mavericks, while Murray matched that with 48 points in a regular season game against the Boston Celtics in Nov. 2018.
Murray also scored the most-ever points by a Denver player in a post-season game. His offensive explosion surpassed Spencer Haywood's mark of 45 in an ABA playoff contest on April 19, 1970. Murray also had 11 rebounds.
"He put his fingerprints all over the game — scoring, rebounding, play-making," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said.
Nikola Jokic added 29 points, including three dunks. Jokic is not known for his dunking despite his 7-foot frame.
Leading 109-108 with 4:02 remaining, the Jazz were on the fast break when Paul Millsap fouled Mitchell. The officials ruled it a clear-path foul. Mitchell hit both free throws and after getting the ball out of bounds, Mike Conley hit a jumper to extend the lead to five.
From there, the Jazz simply held on. Rudy Gobert had a big game with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Conley added 26 points in his second game since returning to the NBA bubble after leaving for the birth of his son.
After two blowouts by the Jazz, this game got back to being close. But once again the Jazz took control with a third-quarter spurt. They outscored the Nuggets 33-24 in the quarter and moved to plus-50 in the third for the series.
Kemba Walker helps Celtics complete sweep of Sixers
The Celtics are moving on, while the 76ers are heading into an uncertain future.
Kemba Walker scored 32 points and Boston pulled away in fourth quarter to complete a first-round series sweep over Philadelphia 110-106 on Sunday.
Jayson Tatum added 28 points and had a playoff career-high 15 rebounds for Boston, which advances to the Eastern Conference semifinals and a meeting with the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors swept the Nets.
Boston's win marks the first sweep in 15 playoff series meetings between the teams. It also is the third straight season that Philadelphia has failed to advance past the second round.
Walker went to the playoffs twice during his eight seasons in Charlotte, but never made it out of the first round. He said this is a small piece of what he sought in signing with Boston in free agency last summer.
"This is the reason I came to Boston," he said. "That's why I'm here for. To play high-level basketball each and every night. That's what we've been doing."
Joel Embiid led the 76ers with 30 points and 10 rebounds. Tobias Harris added 20 points and five rebounds despite leaving briefly after a scary fall that bloodied his left eye.
'A lot of regrets'
Embiid couldn't put a finger on one thing that upended the team this post-season.
"There's a lot of regrets," he said. "I feel like the focus wasn't always there. We just gotta look ourselves in the mirror and do better."
Harris was trying to contest a shot by Tatum at the 2:40 mark of the third quarter and inadvertently had his legs taken out from under him by Tatum. Harris fell on the left side of his face and laid on the court for several minutes as medical staff attended to him.
He suffered a left eye laceration and was cleared of a possible concussion. He returned to the game with 5:12 left in the fourth with a bandage over his left eye.
"I felt OK enough to go back out there and try and do something to help us win," Harris said. "I rather go down with my guys than sitting in the back."
'Some type of bad luck'
But Harris out, Boston scored the final nine points of the third quarter as part of a 12-0 run. The Celtics' lead grew to 96-79 in the opening minutes of the fourth.
"It just feels like we're the Sixers, we always have some type of bad luck," Embiid said.
Intensity was high throughout the game, with Philadelphia's Harris, Josh Richardson and coach Brett Brown all drawing technical fouls. Marcus Smart also received one for Boston.
The 76ers entered the playoffs without All-Star guard Ben Simmons, who underwent season-ending surgery on his left knee following an injury during the seeding portion of the bubble schedule.
Philadelphia did its best to adjust without him, hanging in defensively against a Boston team that ended the regular season boasting one of the league's most efficient offences. But the 76ers had issues scoring points down the stretch in close games.
That included Embiid, who despite posting back-to-back 30-point games in Games 2 and 3, at times struggled to keep up the scoring load in the second half of games. He also had two critical mistakes in Game 3.
The loss was the latest shortcoming for a 76ers team that entered the season with much higher aspirations after adding Al Horford in free agency to play in the frontcourt alongside Embiid and Harris.