LA Clippers vs Dallas Mavericks
Kawhi Leonard impressed yet again as the LA Clippers take a 2-1 lead in the series against the Dallas Mavericks but Luka Doncic exited through injury on the night.
Leonard top the charts with 36 points and provided nine rebounds and eight assists that led the Clippers to a 130-122 win over the Mavericks in Game 3 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series on Friday.
The Mavericks lost more than a game on Friday, however, potentially losing their best player, Luka Doncic, to a left ankle sprain suffered in the third quarter.
They now trail the series 2-1 with the Clippers now firmly in control after it appeared that the odds of Doncic playing at 100 per cent in Game 4 seem slim since he could only wince through a few fourth-quarter minutes.
Kawhi Leonard, despite pouring in 36 points on 13-of-24 shooting, also provided his trademark stellar defence to help give his Clippers the series lead. Another off night for Paul George wasn’t enough to keep Leonard from the victory, and with Doncic now compromised, the Clippers should feel fairly secure in their chances.
Two more wins will send them through to the second round.
Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown help Boston take 3-0 lead over Philadelphia
The Boston Celtics took a commanding 3-0 lead over the Philadelphia 76ers with a 102-94 victory in Game 3 on Friday night.
While Jayson Tatum starred in the first two games for the Celtics, which they won, it was, however, Kemba Walker who carried the load for Boston in Game 3.
Walker hit big shots back-to-back for Boston and finished with 24 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. Jaylen Brown added 21 points for the Celtics, while Tatum was held to just 15.
Joel Embiid led the way for the 76ers as he has been doing through the series but it looks really difficult for them to go through. He finished the game with 30 points and 13 rebounds.
Embiid got a bit of help from Philadelphia’s backcourt, as Shake Milton and Josh Richardson both scored 17 points. The Sixers now find themselves just one loss away for their season to come to an end.
They can, of course, take solace in the fact that no team in NBA history has ever come back from being down 3-0 to go on and win the series. Philadelphia will have an opportunity to be the first, but history clearly isn’t on their side.
Meanwhile, Game 4 between the Celtics and 76ers is set to tip on Sunday.
Utah rose to 2-1 series lead over Denver after win in Game 3
All the noise about the unstoppable Denver Nuggets offense with Michael Porter Jr. as a starter were silenced in this tie. After only managing 105 points in Game 2 of their first-round series against the Utah Jazz, which they lost, the Nuggets didn’t even hit 90 in a 124-87 loss in Game 3.
Now trailing the Jazz by 2-1 despite going ahead in the series first, they’ll have to go back to find their mojo on both ends of the floor if they plan on surviving the suddenly surging Jazz, who got a major boost in the form of Mike Conley on Friday.
Conley hit seven of his eight 3-point attempts on his way to a game-high 27 points despite only playing his first postseason game with the Jazz. Rudy Gobert chipped in another 24 and 14 rebounds of his own.
The Denver Nuggets team now have just two games to figure out a way around this surprising Jazz juggernaut.
Toronto running away with the tie against Brooklyn as they take a 3-0 lead
The Toronto Raptors eviscerated the Nets and took a commanding 3-0 series lead in the process, cruising to a 117-92 win in Game 3. The Raptors were never behind over the course of the game and made life difficult for the Nets with its strangling defense tactic.
The Nets got off to a hot start in Game 2 and maintained a small lead through three quarters, but Toronto never let Brooklyn get close enough to challenge the lead this time around.
Pascal Siakam scored 26 points for the Raptors and red hot Fred VanVleet added 22 as the Toronto Raptors take a 3-0 series lead for the first time in team history.
Siakam made 11 of 23 shots from the floor while collecting eight rebounds and five assists for Toronto, who shot 50.5 percent from the field.
VanVleet also made eight of 13 shots, hitting six three-pointers, including a buzzer-beater from beyond midcourt that put Toronto up 57-42 by half-time.
He hit yet another three-pointer with about a minute left in the third quarter that helped Toronto take an 84-68 lead into the fourth.
Reserve Serge Ibaka contributed 20 as the Raptors led by as many as 31 points and posted their second double-digit win of the series.
Kyle Lowry nearly posted a triple-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, while Norman Powell also chipped in 11.