NBA·Roundup

Jamal Murray puts Nuggets on his back to fight off elimination against Jazz

Giannis Antetokounmpo was voted NBA Defensive Player of the Year on Tuesday, becoming the fifth player to win that award and MVP in a career.

Clippers take control over Mavs; Antetokounmpo named defensive player of the year

Denver's Jamal Murray reacts after a shot during the fourth quarter of the Nuggets' season-saving 117-107 Game 5 win over the Utah Jazz on Tuesday. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Canada's Jamal Murray scored 33 of his 42 points in a second half where he played every minute and the Denver Nuggets avoided elimination by beating the Utah Jazz 117-107 on Tuesday night in Game 5.

The Nuggets trail the sixth-seeded Jazz 3-2 with Game 6 on Thursday.

Murray, from Kitchener, Ont., was unstoppable down the stretch in nearly matching his 50-point effort in Game 4. He hit 17 of 26 shots and had eight assists, including a pass to Nikola Jokic for a 3-pointer with 23.6 seconds remaining that sealed the win.

"Whenever he's like that we are winning the game or we are really close," said Jokic, who also didn't sub out in the second half. "That's what we need from him."

WATCH | Murray leads Nuggets past Jazz:

Jamal Murray keeps Nuggets alive with 42-point performance against Jazz

Sports

10 months ago
1:25
After scoring 50 points in a Game 4 loss, Nuggets guard Jamal Murray of Kitchener, Ont., scored 42 points in Denver's 117-107 Game 5 win over the Utah Jazz. 1:25

The dynamic tandem of Murray and Jokic clearly weren't ready to leave the NBA bubble just yet. Jokic had it going early as he scored 21 of his 31 points in the the first quarter.

Murray took over late after his team fell behind by as many as 15 points in the third quarter.

"We've all got a will to win. Simple as that," explained Murray, who played through a bruise on his knee. "That can carrying you. That can take you places."

With the game tied at 101, Murray scored nine straight for Denver to put the Nuggets up by nine with 1:20 to go.

Donovan Mitchell finished with 30 points while wearing a pair of bright, multicolored shoes. The sharpshooter is averaging 37.6 points over the five games.

Reserve Jordan Clarkson added 17 points and Joe Ingles found his rhythm with 13. Ingles had a combined two points in the previous two games.

"I thought at some level, we just lost our composure when we were ahead," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "Oftentimes, when a team's making a run you get a little distracted, and that's when we have to come together even more. Our guys know that, and we'll come out ready to play the next game."

Leonard, Clippers crush Mavericks

Los Angeles' Kawhi Leonard defends as Dallas' Luka Doncic drives to the basket during the Clippers' 154-111 win over the Mavericks in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series on Tuesday. (Ashley Landis/Pool/Getty Images)

Paul George scored 35 points, Kawhi Leonard added 32 and the Los Angeles Clippers rolled past the Dallas Mavericks 154-111 on Tuesday night to take a 3-2 lead in their first-round Western Conference playoff series.

Montrezl Harrell added 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Clippers, who set a franchise record for points in a playoff game. Los Angeles can clinch the series on Thursday.

Dallas' Luka Doncic, who hit a game-winner at the buzzer in Game 4 to cap off a 43-point triple-double, was held to 22 points on 6-for-17 shooting.

Mavericks centre Kristaps Porzingis sat out with right knee soreness. It was the second straight game the 7-foot-3 Latvian missed.

Dallas coach Rick Carlisle was ejected in the third quarter of the testy game, which included six techincals and a flagrant-1 foul.

Leonard scored 22 points and Paul George scored 18 to help Los Angeles take a 76-52 lead at halftime. The Clippers shot 61 per cent in the first half and led by as many as 27 points.

The Clippers continued the onslaught in the second half, bumping the lead to as many as 45 points.

Greek Freak in rarefied air

Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo blocks a shot attempt by Dallas' Luka Doncic during a seeding game in August. The Bucks star was named defensive player of the year on Tuesday. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Giannis Antetokounmpo was voted NBA Defensive Player of the Year on Tuesday, becoming the fifth player to win that award and MVP in a career.

The Milwaukee Bucks all-star, who was MVP last year and is the favourite to repeat this season, ended the two-year reign of Utah centre Rudy Gobert as defensive player of the year.

Antetokounmpo received 75 first-place votes from a panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters, finishing with 432 points. Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis was second (200 points; 14 first-place votes) and Gobert (187 points; six first-place votes) third.

Antetokounmpo joined Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson and Kevin Garnett as players to do the MVP-Defensive Player of the Year double. He was runner-up for the defensive award last year.

He led the Bucks to the NBA's best record and helped them limit opponents to 101.6 points per 100 possessions, the league's top defensive rating, as of March 11. Voting was conducted on games through then, before the season was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

At 6-foot-11, Antetokounmpo is able to handle a matchup with any frontcourt player, especially because the Bucks also have 7-footer Brook Lopez behind him at centre.

Milwaukee allowed only 96.5 points per 100 possessions with Antetokounmpo on the court, giving him the lowest defensive rating among the more than 300 players who averaged at least 15 minutes per game.

The Bucks were holding opponents to an NBA-low 41.3% shooting from the field when the season was suspended and Antetokounmpo often ended up with the shots that were missed. He was leading the league with 11.5 defensive rebounds per game, while also averaging a little more than a steal and block.

He became the first Bucks player to win Defensive Player of the Year since Sidney Moncrief, who earned the first two that were awarded in the 1982-83 and 1983-84 seasons.

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