Welcome to the Yahoo Sports NBA playoff tracker, your daily one-stop shop for all the latest game results from each NBA playoff series. Here’s a look at Tuesday’s games.
The Los Angeles Lakers struggled on Tuesday night without Anthony Davis in Phoenix.
In fact, their Game 5 matchup with the Suns was over by halftime.
The Suns, after taking a 30-point halftime lead, rolled to a dominant 115-85 win to take a 3-2 series lead. Davis’ absence — he missed with a groin injury he suffered in Game 4 on Sunday — was clearly a bigger impact on the Lakers than they anticipated it would be.
Suns shut down Lakers offense
The Lakers were only down eight points after the first quarter on Tuesday, and were very much in the game. That, however, didn’t last.
Their offense shut down almost entirely.
The Suns held the Lakers to just 10 points in the second quarter en route to a massive 30-point advantage headed into the break. The Lakers shot an abysmal 2-of-17 from the field in the period, too, and didn’t hit a field goal for nine full minutes. Their only two field goals were made from inside the restricted zone.
Meanwhile, Phoenix took full advantage. Devin Booker entered halftime with 22 points while shooting 9-of-13 from the field, and the Suns shot better than 54% from the field as a team. They also kept all Lakers players in single digit scoring and just 12 combined field goals.
The Lakers’ offense came back alive somewhat in the third — they scored a respectable 27 points — but it was far too late. The Suns cruised to their 30-point win without much of an issue, and are now just one game away from advancing out of the first round.
Booker finished the night with 30 points while shooting 13-of-23 from the field, and Cameron Payne added 16 points off the bench.
LeBron James led the Lakers with 24 points and seven assists on the night while shooting 6-of-10 from the 3-point line. He was the only starter to score in double figures, and both Dennis Schroder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope were held scoreless. In his defense, Caldwell-Pope played just 15 minutes and left early with a left knee contusion.
As a team, the Lakers shot worse than 35% from the field, the worst they’ve had all season.
Game 6 of the series is set for Thursday night in Los Angeles. If they hope to keep their postseason alive, it will take a much better performance than what they gave on Tuesday to make that happen.
Chris Paul suffers another shoulder injury
With the team up by more than 30 points in the second half, Suns star Chris Paul went down with another shoulder injury.
Paul was boxed out by Wesley Matthews underneath the hoop midway through the third when he suddenly fell to the floor in pain grabbing his right shoulder. He jumped back up and worked his way to the sidelines quickly before lying back down, clearly in pain.
Paul eventually came back into the game and shot a pair of free throws before he walked off the court and directly into the locker room. With the Suns up the way they were, there was no need for him to come back.
Phoenix coach Monty Williams said after the game that Paul “seems OK,” but that he didn’t have an official update.
Paul suffered a similar injury in Game 1. While he has yet to miss a game in the postseason, Paul’s shoulder will clearly be cause for concern for the Suns through at least the rest of this series.
Damian Lillard’s heroics come up short
Damian Lillard certainly tried everything in his power to lead the Trail Blazers to a win on Tuesday night in Denver.
Denver survived a wild 147-140 win in Game 5 of their opening round playoff series with Portland at Ball Arena on Tuesday night to take a 3-2 series lead.
The Nuggets got out to an incredibly hot start and by all accounts seemed to be in full control with a 22-point lead early. Yet by halftime, Portland had cut the deficit back to just three points and then took the lead in the third.
The two bounced back and forth the rest of the way, until the Blazers found themselves down three points with less than 10 seconds left. Lillard, after getting a second chance after a controversial foul call, hit a clutch game-tying 3-pointer to send it into overtime.
He did it again in overtime, too, ending the final minute of the extra period with three straight buckets from behind the arc to send it into a second overtime.
Somehow, though, it wasn’t enough. Portland was held scoreless for the final 3:47 of the second overtime while the Nuggets edged out the seven-point win.
Lillard finished with a playoff career high 55 points while shooting 12-of-17 from behind the arc, which set a new NBA playoff record. He added 10 assists and six rebounds in the loss, too. Lillard did it all on just 24 shots.
“It was the best playoff performance I’ve ever seen,’ Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said, via The Associated Press. “He gave it his all. He made a lot of shots. Look, he gave it his all.
“We’re all disappointed. I have empathy for Dame. I have empathy for anybody on our team. But now’s not the time for empathy. Now’s the time to regroup and come back and get Game 6. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves.”
Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with 38 points and 11 rebounds, and Monte Morris dropped 28 points off the bench.
Game 6 of the series is set for Thursday night in Portland.
James Harden, Nets eliminate Celtics
What’s that saying Giannis Antetokounmpo referenced when his Milwaukee Bucks swept the Miami Heat? “Don’t play with your food.” The Brooklyn Nets played with their food in Game 5 against the Boston Celtics.
The Celtics were once again missing three starters — Jaylen Brown (wrist), Kemba Walker (knee) and Robert Williams (ankle) — and the Nets let them hang around until midway through the fourth quarter, when Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden hit consecutive 3-pointers to turn a slim lead insurmountable.
Brooklyn’s superstar trio combined for 83 points in a 123-109 victory to eliminate Boston, 4-1. The Nets advance to face Antetokounmpo’s Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Game 1 is set for Saturday.
Harden led Brooklyn with 34 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Irving scored 25 points. Durant had 24.
The Celtics hovered inside of single digits for much of the night, drawing within 97-89 on Evan Fournier’s three-point play with just under eight minutes remaining. Maybe it was a feeling of inevitability that permeated the building, but the Barclays Center had a regular-season vibe for much of the night. Boston’s lineup of Jabari Parker, Grant Williams, Payton Pritchard, Romeo Langford and Fournier even finished a +4.
It was not until Durant, Irving and Harden hit their treys on three straight possessions over a 49-second span that the floodgates opened. The Nets pushed their lead to 120-98 on another Durant 3 at the 3:19 mark of the fourth quarter. Brooklyn coach Steve Nash pulled his starters seconds later. Even operating in third gear, the Nets managed 123 points on 51/47/88 shooting splits in a playoff game. Scary stuff, really.
Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 32 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Four other Celtics scored in double figures, including surprising contributions from Langford (17 points) and Parker (13 points). The Celtics leave wondering what might have been had they been able to mount a fully healthy counterattack.
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