Mavs, Celtics take 2-1 series lead

MAVS DUO. Dallas Mavericks’ Kyrie Irving (left) and Luka Doncic celebrate after winning Game 3 of their best-of-seven series against West No.1 seed Oklahoma City Thunder. /
MAVS DUO. Dallas Mavericks’ Kyrie Irving (left) and Luka Doncic celebrate after winning Game 3 of their best-of-seven series against West No.1 seed Oklahoma City Thunder. / AP

DALLAS — Kyrie Irving scored 22 points, including a running left-hander in the lane in the final minute to help Dallas hold on, and the Mavericks beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 105-101 on Sunday, May 12, 2024 (PH time) for a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.

Luka Doncic also had 22 points to go with 15 rebounds, and P.J. Washington scored 27, just two shy of his playoff high from the previous game.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 31 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks, but was called for a charge with Doncic defending on a drive with 29 seconds left and the Thunder trailing by five.

Oklahoma City has lost consecutive games after starting 5-0 in the playoffs. Game 4 is Tuesday in Dallas.

Irving bounced back from just the third single-digit scoring game of his lengthy playoff career with 14 points in the second half, including six consecutive Dallas points in the fourth quarter that helped the Mavs to their biggest lead of the final period at nine.

Doncic came into the game with a sprained right knee and a sore left ankle and took a hard fall on his back in the final two minutes when he and Lu Dort, the primary defender on the NBA scoring champion, jumped for a loose ball. A jump ball was called, and Doncic retrieved the loose ball with Dallas up three.

CELTICS 106, CAVALIERS 93

CLEVELAND — Jayson Tatum scored 33 points, Jaylen Brown added 28 and Boston looked more like themselves after stumbling at home, beating Cleveland in Game 3 to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The top-seeded Celtics didn’t mess around after dropping Game 2 on their home parquet floor by 24.

That lackluster performance — Boston was favored by double digits — was reminiscent of the first round, when the Celtics lost Game 2 against Miami before winning three in a row to eliminate the Heat.

Tatum scored on a three-point play and the Celtics opened the second half with 14 straight points to take a 23-point lead.

Donovan Mitchell scored 33 points for Cleveland, but the All-Star guard aggravated a left knee injury in the fourth quarter and was labored. With Boston up 13 and in control, Mitchell left the court with 1:19 left and walked directly to the locker room. / AP

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