NBA: Celtics push Nets to brink, Raptors stay alive in playoffs

NEW YORK (AFP) – The Toronto Raptors stayed alive, the Utah Jazz pulled degree and the Boston Celtics pushed the Brooklyn Nets to the brink of elimination in the NBA playoffs on Saturday (April 23).

Jayson Tatum scored 39 factors to lead the Celtics in a 109-103 victory over the Nets in Brooklyn that pushed their lead in the NBA Eastern Conference first-round sequence to 3-0.

No NBA workforce has come again from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven sequence, and the Celtics will strive to wrap this one up on the Nets’ residence flooring on Monday.

Once once more the Celtics’ suffocating defence neutralised Brooklyn’s scoring star Kevin Durant, who completed with 16 factors.

Durant grabbed eight rebounds and handed out eight assists however tried simply 11 pictures. It was Bruce Bown who led the Nets with 26 factors as Brooklyn’s different massive star, Kyrie Irving, additionally completed with 16 factors after taking part in by means of foul bother.

“We know what he’s capable of, everybody does,” Tatum stated of Durant. “Someone like him, you can’t let it be easy.”

The Celtics led many of the sport earlier than the Nets minimize the deficit to three factors late in the third quarter.

Boston responded with two baskets from Marcus Smart and a steal and dunk from Jaylen Brown to take an 81-72 lead into the fourth.

Jaylen Brown completed with 23 factors for the Celtics, who pushed the lead to 15 in the fourth quarter earlier than the Nets closed in once more, pulling inside 5 factors with 22 seconds remaining.

Tatum made two free throws and got here up with a steal and a closing dunk to finish it.

“I think it just shows the growth of our team,” Tatum stated. “Early in the season, we gave up big leads all the time. And we figured it out. You’re never going to be perfect, it’s all about how you respond. We kept responding.”

In Toronto, ahead Pascal Siakam scored a playoff career-high 34 factors and Gary Trent Jr. added 24 in the Raptors’ 110-102 conquer the Philadelphia 76ers to stay alive in their sequence, trimming the deficit to 3-1.

“We played hard,” Siakam stated. “Whenever I get it going, we know that’s going to be dangerous.”

The Sixers can nonetheless advance in the best-of-seven set with a game-five victory at residence on Monday.

“We need to go back to the drawing board and do whatever it takes to be better,” 76ers star centre Joel Embiid stated.

Embiid, the NBA scoring chief, was nagged by a proper thumb damage, reportedly torn ligaments, regardless of producing 21 factors and eight rebounds.

“I’m not really worried about what can happen, I’m worried about what I can do,” he stated of taking part in by means of the painful damage.

Embiid made it clear any steered surgical procedure will come after the post-season.

“It’s the playoffs,” he stated. “Nothing is going to stop me.” Siakam scored 15 factors in the fourth quarter, holding off a Sixers fightback try in the ultimate minutes, particularly silencing Embiid.

“We made it tough on him to score and we live with whatever happens,” Siakam stated.

In Salt Lake City, Rudy Gobert’s slam dunk with 11 seconds remaining gave the Utah Jazz a 100-99 victory over the Dallas Mavericks that knotted their Western Conference sequence at two video games apiece.

The Jazz spoiled the return from damage of Mavericks guard Luka Doncic.

The Slovenian star, who hadn’t performed since April 10 due to a left calf pressure, scored 30 factors on 11-of-21 capturing whereas knocking down 10 rebounds.

“I was really excited,” Doncic stated of getting again on court docket. “I missed basketball.”

He sank a jumper to put Dallas forward and added a 3-pointer with 39 seconds remaining to give the Mavericks a 99-95 lead.

But Utah’s Donovan Mitchell answered with a 3-point play and after Dwight Powell missed two free throws for Dallas, Gobert’s slam dunk produced the deciding factors.

Dallas had one final possession however Utah defenders swarmed Doncic, who handed to Spencer Dinwiddie solely to watch the ultimate shot fall quick.

“We tried to get it out of Luka’s hands, tried to make him pass,” stated Gobert, who completed with 17 factors and a game-high 15 rebounds.

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