Luka Doncic, Mavericks cut down Clippers to take 2-0 series lead back to Dallas

Luka Doncic scored 39 points, Tim Hardaway Jr. added 28 and the Dallas Mavericks again outshot the NBA’s best 3-point team in a 127-121 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night to take a 2-0 lead in the first-round playoff series.

Kristaps Porzingis added 20 points and Maxi Kleber had 13. Hardaway hit a playoff career-high six 3-pointers and Doncic had five as Dallas was 18 of 34 from long-range. The Mavs made 17 3-pointers in winning Game 1 on Saturday.

The Clippers were led by Kawhi Leonard, who scored 30 of his 41 in the first half. Paul George had 28 points and 12 rebounds.

Game 3 is Friday in Dallas.

The Clippers threw just about every body they had at Doncic in an effort to slow the player that burned them with a triple-double in Game 1. But once again, the all-star got plenty of help from his supporting cast.

The Clippers, who led the league with 41 per cent 3-point shooting, went 13 of 33 from long range. They regained their touch in the fourth, when they made five and twice cut their deficit to four points, but Josh Richardson made four straight free throws over the final 21 seconds to preserve the victory.

George was just 1 of 7 from long range. The Clippers made 11 3-pointers in Game 1.

Dallas led by 13 in the fourth on a 3-pointer by Porzingis.

The Clippers cut their deficit to 114-109 on two 3-pointers by Marcus Morris, sandwiched around George’s dunk. But Morris soon fouled out. Doncic scored on consecutive drives and Porzingis dunked with George chasing him for a 120-111 lead.

Leonard made his fourth 3-pointer and Terance Mann scored to draw the Clippers within four, but Hardaway hit from long range.

The Mavs dominated the third, outscoring the Clippers 30-19 to take a 101-92 lead into the fourth. They made five 3-pointers, with Hardaway hitting one to open the quarter and Doncic hitting one to end it. In between, the Clippers missed shots, including George’s miss on a wide-open dunk. George and Morris picked up their third fouls.

Leonard carried the Clippers in the first half with 30 points, the most he’s scored in either half of a postseason game.

Lakers hold on to even series with Suns

Anthony Davis scored 34 points, Dennis Schroder added 24 and the Los Angeles Lakers held on for a hard-fought 109-102 win over the Phoenix Suns in Game 2 of the first-round playoff series on Tuesday night.

It was a big bounce-back game for the Lakers, and especially Davis, who struggled in Game 1 and took personal responsibility for the team’s 99-90 loss on Sunday. His 3-pointer with 2:15 left on Tuesday put Los Angeles up 98-92 and ended a late Suns rally.

LeBron James added 23 points and nine assists. Davis made 18 of 21 free throws and added 10 rebounds and seven assists.

Game 3 is on Thursday in Los Angeles.

The Lakers had a 63-48 lead after a 10-1 run to open the third quarter. James splashed home a 3-pointer to start the scoring and Los Angeles looked like it might put this one away comfortably.

But the Suns slowly clawed their way back. Cam Johnson made two 3-pointers late in the third quarter, including one at the buzzer, to pull Phoenix within 79-72 heading to the fourth.

Jae Crowder made a 3-pointer from the corner and was fouled, converting the free throw for a four-point play that pulled the Suns within 84-83 with 8:09 left in the fourth. Crowder had missed his first 11 3-pointers in the series before that attempt.

Deandre Ayton’s dunk off an offensive rebound with six minutes left put the Suns up 88-86, which was their first lead since the opening minutes. But they couldn’t hold on, struggling to guard James and Davis in the final minutes.

Devin Booker led the Suns with 31 points and made all 17 of his free throws. Ayton had 22 points, 10 rebounds and shot 11 of 13 from the field.

There was a announced sellout crowd at Phoenix Suns Arena, which was capped at 11,919 because of COVID-19 restrictions. That’s about two-thirds of the 18,000-plus capacity.

Harris keys Nets victory

Joe Harris tied a franchise playoff record with seven 3-pointers, Kevin Durant scored 26 points and the Brooklyn Nets routed the Boston Celtics 130-108 on Tuesday night for a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.

Harris had a career playoff-high 25 points and James Harden added 20 as the Nets unleashed their lethal offence after winning Game 1 largely with defence.

Game 3 is Friday in Boston, where the Nets will attempt to build on their first 2-0 lead in a series since they swept the New York Knicks in the first round in 2004.

This one might be headed toward the same result, with the Celtics unable to do much scoring in Game 1 or stop the Nets from doing tons of it in Game 2.

Marcus Smart scored 19 points and Kemba Walker had 17 for the Celtics. Leading scorer Jayson Tatum had only nine points on 3-for-12 shooting before leaving after just 21 minutes when he was poked in the right eye.

Brooklyn coach Steve Nash, centre, and assistant Mike D’Antoni congratulate forward Joe Harris during the fourth quarter of the Nets’ 130-108 Game 2 victory. (Kathy Willens/The Associated Press)

After the Nets scored just 16 points in the first quarter of Game 1, Harris had that by himself in the opening quarter of this one while going 4 for 4 behind the arc.

The Nets had started slowly in Game 1 and in the only game their Big Three played together late in the regular season, and on Monday coach Steve Nash said he thought it might be a while before his three stars could walk on the court and be firing on all cylinders.

It was only a day later for Harris, who led the NBA in 3-point percentage this season.

Harris made three straight 3-pointers to extend a three-point lead to 25-13 and there was a little gasp from the crowd when he then stole the ball and dribbled down on a breakaway, as if he might pull up behind the arc. Instead, he went all the way for the layup and a 14-point lead.





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