LUKA DONCIC had 28 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and the Dallas Mavericks earned a 127-114 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday near Orlando to even their opening-round Western Conference playoff series at one win apiece.
Kristaps Porzingis added 23 points and seven rebounds, Tim Hardaway, Jr. scored 17 points, and Trey Burke finished with 16 points as the Mavericks leveled the best-of-seven series.
Seth Curry chipped in 15 points and Boban Marjanovic, a former Clipper, hit six of eight shots on his way to 13 points. Marjanovic added nine rebounds.
Kawhi Leonard had 35 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers. Lou Williams contributed 23 points, while Paul George, who was limited by foul trouble, had 14 points and 10 boards. Marcus Morris Sr. had 14 points and eight rebounds.
Game 3 is Friday.
The Clippers trailed by 18 points early in the fourth quarter. They sliced the lead to 10 late in the game but got no closer.
Doncic picked up his fifth foul with 11:37 left and sat for more than seven minutes, but the Mavericks didn’t miss a beat. They boosted their lead to 108-90 after a bucket by Burke at 8:53 before hanging on for the win.
After trailing by eight in the third, Montrezl Harrell’s basket helped the Clippers close the gap to 85-83 with 2:28 left in the third. But a 13-2 surge to end the quarter after a layup by Burke put the Mavericks up 98-85.
The Mavericks bolted to a 15-2 advantage to open the game. However, by the end of the quarter, Los Angeles cut the deficit to 29-25.
But the Mavericks increased the margin to 44-27 after Doncic found Marjanovic for a dunk with 7:46 remaining in the second.
The Clippers rallied again. Two free throws by Williams capped a 21-8 run and pulled them within 52-48 with 3:08 left in the quarter.
Dallas led 61-56 at the break.
Clippers guard Patrick Beverley (strained calf) missed the contest.
RAPTORS 104-NETS 99
Norman Powell scored 12 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, Fred VanVleet had 24 points and 10 assists and Toronto rallied to defeat Brooklyn to grab a 2-0 lead in the first-round series.
The Raptors, who raced to a 33-point first-half lead in Monday’s win, fell behind by 14 in the first quarter of Game 2 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference clash.
The Nets still led by six entering the fourth quarter, but the defending NBA champion Raptors opened the period with a 19-5 run to lead 93-85 with 6:21 remaining.
JAZZ 124-NUGGETS 105
Donovan Mitchell scored 30 points and Jordan Clarkson added 26 to help Utah run away with a victory the Denver in Game 2 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series.
Mitchell also dished out eight assists to help the Jazz even the series at 1-1. Utah finished with 32 assists on 45 baskets and shot 20 of 44 (45.5%) from the 3-point arc. Royce O’Neale chipped in a career-high eight assists to help fuel the offense. The Jazz turned the ball over only eight times.
Nikola Jokic scored 28 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out six assists to lead Denver. Michael Porter Jr. added 28 points for the Nuggets, who trailed the entire second half.
CELTICS 128-76ERS 101
Boston recorded a second straight comfortable win to begin its playoff series against Philadelphia, getting 33 points from Jayson Tatum for a 2-0 series lead.
Equaling the most 3-pointers in their heralded postseason history, the Eastern Conference’s third seed outscored the 76ers 57-15 from beyond the arc to successfully follow up on a 109-101 win in the opener.
Kemba Walker added 22 points and Jaylen Brown 20 for the Celtics, who had lost three of four to the 76ers in the regular season. Joel Embiid led all scorers with 34 points for the 76ers. — Reuters