The NBA resumed its playoff schedule in the bubble Saturday after a three-day player strike to protest police brutality in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Games continue today at the league’s campus at Walt Disney World in Florida. Action from the playoffs will be updated here throughout the day.
Jamal Murray drops 50, forces Game 7
The Denver Nuggets have forced the first Game 7 inside the NBA bubble.
The Nuggets, behind yet another phenomenal night from Jamal Murray, beat the Utah Jazz 119-107 on Sunday night to even the series 3-3.
The Nuggets, after falling into a quick 10-point hole in the first quarter, jumped back into control in the second quarter and never looked back. They pushed their lead to 14 points midway through the fourth quarter and held on to grab the 12-point win.
Murray dropped 50 points in the win while shooting 9-of-12 from behind the arc. It marked his second 50-point game in this series alone, making him just the fifth player in NBA history to do so in a single series.
Donovan Mitchell — who also accomplished that feat in this series — dropped 44 points while also hitting nine 3-pointers in the game. Mike Conley added 21 points for the Jazz.
Game 7 of the series will take place on Tuesday.
Clippers hold on to take series
They nearly blew yet another 20-point lead, but the Los Angeles Clippers held on to put the Dallas Mavericks away and advance to the second round of the playoffs.
The Clippers, who jumped ahead to a massive 23-point lead in the third quarter on Sunday afternoon, survived a late Dallas run to beat the Mavericks 111-97 and end the series 4-2.
The Mavericks put up a fight in the first half, and went into the locker room down just six points behind a 15-point outing from Luka Doncic. Clippers forward Marcus Morris was ejected from the contest in the first quarter after getting called for a flagrant foul on Doncic for smacking him in the head as he drove to the hoop.
Marcus Morris with the hard foul on Luka Doncic pic.twitter.com/TIqrWVW9Ql— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) August 30, 2020
The incident was just the latest between the two this series, most recently following Morris stepping on Doncic’s ankle in Game 5.
The Clippers then broke the game open in the third quarter, using an early 14-3 run to grab a 23-point lead. Though Doncic and the Mavericks cut that lead back down to single digits — Doncic dropped 16 points in the third quarter alone — it was too late. The Clippers held on to snag the 14-point win and end the series.
Doncic finished the day just shy of another triple-double. He dropped 38 points and had nine rebounds and nine assists in the loss, and shot 15-of-28 from the field. Dorian Finney-Smith added 16 points, and Tim Hardaway Jr. finished with 10. They struggled as a team from behind the arc, making just 11 of their 37 3-point attempts.
Leonard led the Clippers with 33 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists. He is the first player in the past 20 seasons to have at least 30 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and five steals in a playoff game, too. Both Paul George and Ivaca Zubac added 15 points in the win.
Celtics cruise past Raptors to open series
Six Celtics players got into double figures as Boston opened its Eastern Conference semifinal series against Toronto with an easy 112-94 win.
Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 21 points as Boston’s defense held the Raptors to just 37 percent shooting from the field.
Fred VanVleet had an especially poor day shooting. He averaged nearly 18 points per game on 41 percent shooting in the regular season but was just 3-of-16 on Sunday and had 11 points.
After leading 39-23 at the end of the first quarter, Boston led by 10 or more points for the final 32 minutes of the game after Tatum hit a three to put the Celtics up 42-30 with 8:04 to go in the second.
Every time Toronto showed a spark in the second half and offered a shred of hope to Raptors fans that a comeback could be possible, Boston quickly extended its lead and extinguished all comeback possibilities thanks to an impressive shooting effort from three-point range.
The Celtics were 17-of-39 from deep while Toronto struggled mightily. The Raptors were just 10-of-40 on threes as VanVleet was just 2-of-11 behind the arc.
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