Jayson Tatum scored 33 points and the Boston Celtics beat the Philadelphia 76ers 128-101 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in the first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.
Tatum scored a career playoff high for the second straight game after scoring 32 points in the opener Monday.
Kemba Walker added 22 points and Jaylen Brown had 20 for the Celtics. Boston shot 51 per cent from the field and committed just seven turnovers, including two in the first three quarters.
The Celtics lost starting forward Gordon Hayward to a right ankle sprain in Game 1, and expect him to be out for approximately four weeks. Marcus Smart stepped into the starting lineup, and Boston adjusted seamlessly.
The 76ers led by 14 in the first quarter, but the Celtics rallied to lead 65-57 at halftime.
Brown’s 360-degree dunk with just under eight minutes left in the third quarter put the Celtics up 74-59. Boston extended its lead to 98-75 at the end of the third quarter. The Celtics held the 76ers to 22 per cent shooting in the period.
Mavericks control Clippers in Game 2
Luka Doncic scored 28 points and the Dallas Mavericks put together the pivotal run when he was out to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 127-114 and even the Western Conference playoff series at a game apiece.
Two nights after scoring 42 points in the highest-scoring debut in post-season history, Doncic played just nine minutes in the second half. He finished with eight rebounds and seven assists.
Kawhi Leonard had 35 points and 10 rebounds, but Paul George had a mostly miserable performance for the second-seeded Clippers. They played without starting guard Patrick Beverley because of a calf injury.
Doncic picked up his fourth foul less than a minute into the third quarter, shaking his finger toward the Dallas bench that he didn’t want to come out.
He kept stayed on then and when he did come out toward the end of the period, Dallas put together a strong stretch of basketball. A finishing 14-4 spurt made it 98-85 entering the fourth, the Mavs pushed the lead to 18 in the final 12 minutes.
Reserves Trey Burke, Seth Curry and Boban Marjanovic were all in double figures for the Mavs, who shot 50 per cent from the field.
George finished 4 for 17 for 14 points.
Game 3 is Friday.
Jazz crush Nuggets to even series
Donovan Mitchell scored 21 of his 30 points in a big third quarter and the Utah Jazz beat the Denver Nuggets 124-105 to even the first-round playoff series at a game apiece.
Mitchell was 10 of 14 from the floor. He helped the Jazz break open the game in the third quarter and increase the lead to 31 in the fourth.
Jordan Clarkson scored a personal playoff-best 26 points on a day the Jazz shot 51.7 per cent from the floor. They also had 32 assists and hit 20 3-pointers.
Game 3 is Friday.
“We stayed locked in and communicated. That’s what we need the whole series,” Mitchell said. “We need the same energy and intensity.”
Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr. had 28 points, and Nikola Jokic added 28 points and 11 rebounds.
It was a rare blowout in what’s been a tight showdown between the two teams all season. Despite Denver winning the previous four games, counting the regular season, the total margin was only 21 points.
“All of our games are usually close games and this one got away from us,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “We have to learn from it. We have to look it. We can’t be afraid to look into the mirror and see why we lost. But once we do that let’s turn the page.”
This bodes well for the Jazz: Guard Mike Conley could back for the next game. He returned to the NBA bubble Monday night after leaving for the birth of his son and is going through a four-day quarantine.
“It only adds positives having a player like Mike Conley, and a leader like Mike Conley, back with us,” said centre Rudy Gobert, who had 19 points.
No new positives in bubble
The NBA is into the post-season without having any confirmed coronavirus cases among players inside the bubble at Walt Disney World.
The league and the National Basketball Players Association announced Wednesday that none of the 341 players who had been tested since results were last released on Aug. 12 had been positive.
The season resumed at Disney on July 30 and the post-season began Monday. Players have been tested daily while on campus. There were two cases of players testing positive upon their arrival at Disney, both of which were found before either made it out of the initial mandatory in-room quarantine.