Jimmy Butler said the Miami Heat's ability to call each other out for "BS" helps them turn games around like they did against the Boston Celtics.

Miami recovered from a 17-point deficit to beat the Celtics 106-101 and take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday.

Butler, who had 14 points in Game 2, said the Heat spoke to each other openly when things were going wrong.

"We look each other in the eye and tell each other when it's BS," he told reporters.

"Spo [Erik Spoelstra, coach] is going to do it, I'm going to do it, Jae [Crowder] is going to do it, Tyler [Herro] is going to do it, Duncan [Robinson], all the way down the line, because it's unacceptable.

"We know when we're not playing the way that we're supposed to be playing. And as bad as it sounds, it's like a switch. It just turns on, and, 'oh, there we go right there.' I'm telling you, straight face communication, move on and get it done."

The fifth seeds in the Eastern Conference, Miami hold a surprise 2-0 lead over the Celtics after being led by Bam Adebayo, who had a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds.

But Butler warned his team they had achieved nothing heading into Game 3 on Saturday.

"We haven't done anything. We haven't. We can't get excited that we're up 2-0 because as good as it is to be 2-0, it could easily be 4-2 Boston," he said.

"So we're going to come into the same way knowing that we've got to be better and stay humble about it. Not getting too high.

"Stay in the middle, keep playing basketball the way we're supposed to be playing."

LeBron James dismissed talk about the Los Angeles Clippers following their NBA playoff exit as the Los Angeles Lakers superstar marvelled at upcoming opponents the Denver Nuggets.

A blockbuster all-Los Angeles Western Conference final was quashed by the rallying Nuggets, who overturned a 3-1 series deficit against the second-seeded Clippers to set up a Lakers clash.

Asked about not playing Kawhi Leonard's Clippers for a place in the NBA Finals, three-time champion James told reporters on Thursday: "I don't have a comment about it really.

"I was just sitting back and watching the game from a fan's perspective, seeing big shots be made, big plays being made, missed shots, things of that nature. I was also [watching] as a scout, scouting both teams at the same time."

A follow-up question centred on the Lakers and Clippers settling their battle for supremacy in Los Angeles but James replied: "What were we settling?"

Lakers team-mate Anthony Davis added: "We aren't focused on any other team but the Lakers. That's kind of been us, our whole thing the entire season. We focused on our own team.

"Our focus isn't on the Clippers or the 'Battle of L.A.' It's more so what can we do to finish our season strong."

James and Davis were speaking on the eve of Game 1 between top seeds the Lakers and the Nuggets at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

The Nuggets overpowered the shocked Clippers as they became the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a series twice in the same postseason, having rallied past the Utah Jazz.

Led by Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets will contest their first Conference final since losing to the Lakers in 2008-09.

"Very resilient, very confident, very driven, very well-coached team," James said as he lauded the third-seeded Nuggets.

"It takes a lot of energy, effort, a lot of desperation to be able to come back from a 3-1 deficit. They did it twice. So the respect level is out of this world for what we have for this ballclub. That's how we're going into this series: understanding what they're capable of, where they stand."

The Miami Heat earned a commanding lead over the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs after coming back to win 106-101 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.

In another tense battle at Walt Disney World Resort, the red-hot Heat sensationally prevailed to move 2-0 ahead in the race to the NBA Finals on Thursday.

The Heat trailed by 17 points in the second quarter and were down by 13 at half-time but overcame the deficit to seize control against the Celtics thanks to Bam Adebayo, who erupted for 15 third-quarter points.

Goran Dragic led the way with 25 points, and Miami's supporting cast contributed across the board to take down the Celtics again in Orlando, Florida, where the Heat are on track to reach their first NBA Finals since 2014.

Adebayo finished with 21 points, Duncan Robinson had 18, Jimmy Butler scored 14, Jae Crowder put up 12 and Tyler Herro added 11 of his own.

Kemba Walker posted 23 points for the Celtics, who had a chance to tie the game with 15 seconds remaining but Jaylen Brown (21) missed a three-pointer as Butler sealed Miami's victory via a pair of free throws.

Celtics star Jayson Tatum also had 21 points, with Boston now turning their attention to Saturday's Game 3.

 

Nuggets face Lakers

The Denver Nuggets and top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers will open their Western Conference finals series on Friday. Denver are coming off a stunning Game 7 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis were both named in the All-NBA First Team on Wednesday as the Los Angeles Lakers prepare to face the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals.

The All-NBA selections were announced as the playoffs hot up in Orlando, although the Lakers duo were the only remaining members of the First Team.

James and Davis were joined by James Harden, whose Houston Rockets they beat in the second round, along with reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic.

MVP candidates James and Antetokounmpo were both unanimous votes.

The Los Angeles Clippers' Kawhi Leonard and playoff nemesis Nikola Jokic headlined the Second Team. Jokic led the Nuggets past the Clippers on Tuesday to complete another remarkable series fightback.

Damian Lillard was also included after carrying the Portland Trail Blazers into the postseason, alongside veteran Chris Paul, who impressed following his trade from the Rockets to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Pascal Siakam - disappointing in the playoffs for defending champions the Toronto Raptors - made up the selection.

Meanwhile, in the Third Team, the Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum and the Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler are both still alive as Eastern Conference Finals opponents.

Russell Westbrook, part of the Paul trade, got recognition, too, and was joined by Rudy Gobert and Ben Simmons, the latter ending the season injured.

Jamal Murray demanded the likes of Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley start giving the Denver Nuggets "some damn respect" after their Western Conference semi-final heroics.

The Nuggets dominated the Los Angeles Clippers 104-89 in Orlando on Tuesday to progress from an all-or-nothing Game 7, becoming the first team to recover from a 3-1 deficit twice in the same postseason.

Few tipped the third-seeded Nuggets to get past a Clippers team comprising the likes of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, particularly when the team found themselves in such a precarious position.

"You got [Shaquille O'Neal], you got Charles [Barkley], I think Zach Lowe … Stephen A. [Smith], all y'all better start giving this team some damn respect," Murray said. 

"Because we put in the work. We shouldn't have been down 3-1, but to come back down 3-1 against the Clippers is a big achievement, so it's fun just to change that narrative."

Murray was influential for the Nuggets, putting up 40 points, and he feels the star-studded Clippers failed to cope with Denver's enthusiasm.

"We've got a lot of energy, and we brought it and they didn't match that," Murray said. 

"They've got who they got. They've got a talented squad. They've got Doc [Rivers], too. They've got assistant coaches who are about to be head coaches. 

"We know what they have, we just outworked them a little bit with our young legs."

Nikola Jokic had promised head coach Michael Malone one of two presents on his 49th birthday prior to the game: "I'm either going to get you home or get you to the Western Conference Finals." 

After it proved to be the latter, Jokic said the Nuggets are relishing proving the doubters wrong.

"Nobody wants us here. Nobody thinks we can do something. We proved ourselves and proved [to] everybody we can do something," he said.

"This is a really interesting team. We don't have many superstars."

Next up is a daunting task against an in-form Los Angeles Lakers side led by LeBron James, but Jokic said: "They gotta worry about us, too."

Paul George accepts the Los Angeles Clippers failed to live up to lofty expectations but insists the season never felt like a "championship-or-bust" scenario.

The Clippers were among the favourites to become NBA champions after bringing in superstars George and Kawhi Leonard but their wait for a maiden Conference Finals appearance continued after a disappointing evening in Orlando on Tuesday.

George had just 10 points on 4-of-16 shooting and Leonard put up only 14 as the Denver Nuggets ran out 104-89 winners in a Game 7 of the Western Conference semi-finals, becoming the first team to recover from consecutive 3-1 series deficits in the same postseason.

While the defeat hurts for George now, he remains convinced the team will continue to grow together.

"It was obvious pressure to live up to the title expectations. But as a player, I mean, you want that. It's the first time I've been in that situation where we're expected to win," George said. 

"But it is what it is. It's no cop out. The fact of the matter is, we didn't live up to that expectation.

"But I think internally, we've always felt, this is not a championship-or-bust year for us. We can only get better the longer we stay together and the more we're around each other. 

"The more chemistry as a group, the better. I think that's really the tale of the tape of this season. We just didn't have enough time together."

George is keen not to see any knee-jerk reactions, responding when asked what roster changes he would like to see: "None. None. It's our first year together. 

"You can't even say we want to change our roster. We like what we've got. I mean, we've been saying it all year. It's just about chemistry, being together. 

"The more we can be together, the better we'll be. It's year one. We've got a lot to reflect on. A lot to look at going forward and to get better with."

George and Leonard, a title winner with the Toronto Raptors last season, fell short this year but the former has enjoyed playing alongside his new team-mate.

"I mean, it was great. Great first season with Kawhi. You know, still learning, figuring each other out," he said. 

"But I thought we had a great year playing off each other. We can only improve off that. But I mean, it's pressure you want. It's pressure you want. You want that pressure. 

"It's the first time I've been on a team and not be considered an underdog. So it was different, but you want that pressure as a competitor, as a guy that wants to compete. You want that pressure. 

"We didn't make it to where we wanted to get to. Tip our hats off to Denver. They played great, and again, all we've got to do is look forward to the next one."

Leonard added: "We were right there. There's no excuses. We should have finished it off. Like I said, the last three games pretty much mirrored each other."

The Denver Nuggets made history by completing another stunning comeback as they reached the Western Conference finals after blitzing the Los Angeles Clippers in their NBA series decider.

Denver won Game 7 of the Western Conference semi-finals 104-89 on Tuesday to set up a blockbuster playoff showdown against top seeds the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Nuggets overpowered the shocked Clippers as they became the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a series twice in the same postseason, having rallied past the Utah Jazz.

Trailing 56-54 at half-time, the Nuggets outscored Kawhi Leonard's Clippers 50-33 in the second half in Orlando, Florida, where Denver will contest their first Conference final since losing to the Lakers in 2008-09.

Meanwhile, the Miami Heat dramatically prevailed 117-114 after overtime against the Boston Celtics in the opening game of their Eastern Conference final.

Jimmy Butler's three-pointer put the Heat ahead with 12 seconds remaining and Heat team-mate Bam Adebayo made an incredible block on Jayson Tatum to deny the Celtics star a game-tying dunk at the death.

 

Jokic and Murray fuel Nuggets

Just like they did in the first round of the playoffs, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray led Denver's comeback. The duo completed the fightback against the Clippers, with Murray posting a game-high 40 points. Jokic became the first player in NBA playoff history to record a 20-plus rebound triple-double. Prior to Jokic, no player had put up a triple-double through three quarters of a Game 7 over the last 25 years. He finished with 16 points, 22 rebounds and 13 assists.

The Heat flexed their muscles with a team performance at Walt Disney World Resort. Starters Goran Dragic (29), Jae Crowder (22), Butler and Adebayo (18) all reached double-digit points. Tatum had 30 points and 14 rebounds but it was not enough for the Celtics, while Marcus Smart scored 26 of his own.

 

Clippers crumble

Poised to meet the Lakers in an all-Los Angeles Conference final, the Clippers capitulated against the Nuggets. Their woes were amplified on Tuesday. Two-time NBA champion Leonard was just six of 22 from the field for 14 points. He was only two of seven from three-point range. All-Star team-mate Paul George had 10 points on four-of-16 shooting from the field, while he made just two of his 11 attempts from beyond the arc. As a team, the Clippers were just 37.8 per cent from the field and 25.7 per cent from three-point territory.

 

Heat face Celtics

There will be no playoff action until the Heat and Celtics go head-to-head in Game 2 on Thursday.

Nick Nurse is staying with the Toronto Raptors after agreeing a "multi-year" contract extension, the NBA team announced on Tuesday.

The coach who led his team to the 2019 NBA championship could not mastermind a repeat this year as the Raptors were beaten in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semi-final by the Boston Celtics.

But Dwane Casey's former assistant, named NBA coach of the year in August, is the man Toronto want to lead them forward having made an overwhelmingly positive contribution in his two seasons in charge.

The Raptors went 53-19 in the regular season as they put up a spirited defence of their first championship.

Raptors president Masai Ujiri said: "Our confidence in Nick just continues to grow, and part of that comes from what we've experienced together.

"The past two seasons have been unlike any other in our team’s history - first, winning our championship, and then navigating a global pandemic and committing long-term to the fight against racism and for social justice.

"Nick has proved that he can coach on the court and lead in life, and we're looking forward to accomplishing great things in the future."

Nurse, who coached a number of British Basketball League teams including the Manchester Giants and London Towers, got his big break in the NBA in 2013 when he joined Casey's staff in Toronto.

The 53-year-old Iowa native said: "Toronto has been my home for the past seven years, and I look forward to it being home for many more. I've watched this franchise grow and reach the pinnacle, and I look forward to the challenge of helping us win another championship."

Paul George staying out of foul trouble will be crucial to the Los Angeles Clippers' hopes of reaching the Western Conference Finals, says coach Doc Rivers.

The Clippers head into Game 7 against the Denver Nuggets in Orlando on Tuesday, with rivals the Los Angeles Lakers waiting if they can progress.

Rivers' team blew a 19-point lead in Orlando as the Nuggets forced a deciding Game 7 with a 111-98 victory on Sunday, with the Clippers having also given up a 16-point advantage in the previous contest.

The coach insists there is no secret to explain how the Clippers lost those leads and stressed the importance of his guards remaining out of foul trouble.

George, one of the NBA's premier defensive players, had four fouls in Games 4 and 5 and then five in Game 6, a contest that saw Patrick Beverley foul out in 18 minutes.

"PG can't get in foul trouble," Rivers said ahead of Game 7.

"I think he's been in foul trouble at least two, maybe three of the games, and at times he's not even guarding one of your key guys. We've just got to keep him on the floor.

"The foul trouble by our guards, they have been very hurtful in this series, and not just the last two games.

"We've got to keep our guards on the floor, because if we don't, we've got to go to lineups defensively that are not desirable."

Rivers is comforted to have two-time NBA champion Kawhi Leonard with him for such a big occasion after his heroics in the playoffs with the Toronto Raptors en route to winning last season's title.

"He's unshakable," said Rivers. "Kawhi, you can't guarantee he'll play well or not because he's human and all players are.

"But you know, the moment won't be too big. That's the one thing like with him, you just know that. So that's comforting to know that."

Discussing the two collapses against the Nuggets, Rivers said there was "no secret potion" to explain what happened on those occasions.

He added: "The two things that we didn't do, clearly defensively, they shot almost 60 per cent in the second half. The one thing that did stand out, they went to the free-throw line like on every play."

And Rivers is not planning an emotional pre-game speech to fire up his players before the pivotal matchup.

"I'm going to say 'let’s go win'," he said. "Rah-rah speeches are overrated - that's for the movies.

"They last about three minutes and then you come running out and you're fired up. And then three minutes later you've got to focus on playing basketball. So there’s no secret speech.

"The real thing is you've got to have them prepared, and preparation. That's what we’ll do, we'll get them doing what we've done to get the leads and we'll continue to do it.

"But there's nothing secret or magical. It is about playing basketball. Manning up, moving the ball and doing all of the things we can do."

Paul George is adamant the Los Angeles Clippers remain in the "driver seat" despite another alarming collapse against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semi-finals.

The Clippers blew a 19-point lead in Orlando as the Nuggets forced a deciding Game 7 with a 111-98 victory on Sunday.

It followed the Clippers giving up a 16-point lead in the previous contest, but George still fancies the team's chances of progressing to a Conference Finals series with the Los Angeles Lakers.

"It's positive," George said when asked about the mood among the roster.

"This group's staying together. We still in the driver seat. It's not a panic mode. We have a Game 7. I like our odds with our group. We put ourselves in this position and it's on us to get ourselves out of it.

"We know what we are up against. We have the utmost respect for them as opponents, but I like our chances. I like our odds. I like what we have. Again, it's on us to finish this out.

"We've just got to go back to the film and see what we are doing. I think that's the only question that needs to be answered is why aren't we matching them."

Team-mate Kawhi Leonard, who scored 25 points, said it was a case of the team going "cold" in a third quarter in which the Clippers shot four-for-20.

"We just went cold. We went cold in that third quarter. That's it. We kept getting to the paint, passing the ball, got a little stagnant and just couldn't make shots," Leonard said.

"Just got to leave it all out on the floor and make sure we are paying attention to detail and executing and communicating on the defensive end and that's all we can do, go out there and play hard and just make sure we know the game plan."

The Nuggets' charge came at a pivotal moment when Jamal Murray was left in pain when a layup was blocked by George, who nailed a three at the other end to put the Clippers into their biggest lead.

Nikola Jokic stepped up to the plate, finishing with 34 points including draining four of his six three-point attempts.

"It hurt, it hurt a lot," Murray said of the incident with George. "I was going to come out but not in Game 6, not in an elimination game. Not when my team needed me, and they had my back.

"Everybody's talking about me, but I didn't do nothing. Everybody came in and did their job and more."

On Jokic's performance, Murray added: "He's hitting one-leg step-backs, fading away off one leg with a hand in his face consecutive times, so I'd say he's the best player in the world.

"It was a team effort, but Joker definitely carried us throughout the game."

Mike D'Antoni will not return to coach the Houston Rockets next season, the veteran announced on Sunday.

D'Antoni's contract expired after the Rockets were eliminated from the NBA playoffs following a 4-1 Western Conference semi-final series defeat to top seeds the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.

The 69-year-old, who has already been linked to the Philadelphia 76ers' coaching vacancy, oversaw a 217-101 regular-season record in four campaigns in Houston, where the Rockets reached the Conference finals once and enjoyed three trips to the semi-finals.

"It's with tremendous sadness and gratitude that my wife Laurel and I announce that our incredible journey in Houston has ended for now and that we'll be moving to a new chapter," a statement from D'Antoni read.

"Our time here was among the most memorable experiences of our lives. From the dear friends we've made, the incredible partnerships with civic minded-leaders and city officials, to the wonderful non-profits and the clients they serve. Laurel and I will be forever indebted to this community for embracing our family.

"Most of all, I can't thank enough the entire Fertitta family, Daryl Morey, the staff, and the incredible and dedicated players I've been privileged to coach. The Rockets are a historic NBA franchise with fantastic fans and we've been proud to join with you to play a part in some of the successes here in Houston.

"From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for making us feel like true Houstonians. For that, we will always be truly grateful."

Rockets owner Tilman Feritta added: "I would like to thank Mike D'Antoni and his wife, Laurel, for their incredible contributions to the Houston Rockets organisation and the Houston community.

"Mike is a true professional and an amazing basketball mind. He is a winner, and we have been blessed to have such an outstanding coach and leader to work with the past four seasons."

The Denver Nuggets produced another remarkable recovery to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 111-98 on Sunday and secure a Game 7 in the Western Conference semi-finals.

Denver, who came from 3-1 down to beat the Utah Jazz in seven games in the previous round, had overturned a 16-point deficit against the Clippers in Game 5 to keep their seemingly slim title hopes alive.

This time, the Clippers – looking to reach a mouth-watering match-up against rivals the Lakers – were up by as many as 19 points at one stage in the third.

But the Nuggets never gave up and their star duo of Nikola Jokic (34 points and 14 rebounds) and Jamal Murray (21 points) inspired a second straight stunning win.

The game looked to have moved away from Denver at the end of a damaging first half in which they had 10 turnovers, a 10-0 run led by Paul George (33 points) and Kawhi Leonard (25 points) putting the Clippers in control.

Things went from bad to worse for the Nuggets early in the third when Murray went down with a knock to his groin as George blocked, and Leonard and his team stretched into a game-high lead.

But Murray bravely battled on and a 17-0 run took his team to within one with three minutes left in the third.

The momentum then swung entirely in the final period, with the Clippers shellshocked as Patrick Beverley fouled out and Denver seized the initiative, keeping the Lakers waiting with a flurry of late scores.

Game 7 is on Tuesday.

Russell Westbrook addressed getting into a shouting match with the brother of Rajon Rondo, saying people watching inside the bubble for the NBA playoffs are "supposed to shut your mouth and watch the game".

Westbrook's Rockets were knocked out of the Western Conference semi-finals in Orlando on Saturday after falling to a heavy 119-96 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5.

There was a flashpoint in the fourth quarter when Westbrook reacted to a comment from William Rondo, whose sibling later said he had called the Rockets star "trash".

"People at the game, you're supposed to shut your mouth and watch the game," Westbrook told reporters.

"That's the rules, especially when you have families and people here. Apparently, I guess because [Rajon] Rondo was talking s***, [William] decided he wanted to hop in, too.

"But it's okay. I mean, it's all good, I get it. He wanted to take up for his brother. But those rules stand for everybody, though, no matter who it is – family, whatever.

"He started talking crazy. I don't play that game."

James Harden said the situation was disappointing and added: "It affected us."

Guests inside the NBA bubble have been warned not to be verbally aggressive or enter the floor.

The incident saw William Rondo led away by security, but Rajon hopes his brother is not punished too heavily.

"He didn't do anything crazy," he said. "He called the man 'trash'. Fans do what fans do. He's my brother first. He didn't do anything disrespectful."

The defeat for the Rockets is sure to see speculation about the future of head coach Mike D'Antoni, whose contract is now expired, crank up.

D'Antoni has been linked with positions at the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers but hinted his desire is to remain in Houston.

"We've got a great organisation, great city, great fans, team's great," he said.

"I mean, everything's good here. We'll see what happens, but I couldn't ask for a better situation. I had four years and hopefully it keeps going. You just never know."

The Los Angeles Lakers cruised past the Houston Rockets 119-96 to advance to the Western Conference Finals on Saturday.

LeBron James (29 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists) led the way at the Walt Disney World Resort as the Lakers reached the conference finals for the first time since winning the title in 2010 thanks to a 4-1 series win.

James joined Oscar Robertson as the only players in history to record 250-plus points, 100-plus rebounds and 80-plus assists in the first 10 games of a playoffs.

Anthony Davis posted a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds in a Game 5 during which the Lakers never trailed.

A 35-20 first quarter set up the Lakers' win as they moved through to face either the Los Angeles Clippers or Denver Nuggets.

Rockets star James Harden managed 30 points on 12-of-20 shooting, but Russell Westbrook struggled.

Westbrook was four-of-13 from the field for just 10 points in 36 minutes.

 

Clippers face Nuggets

Leading the semi-final series 3-2, the Clippers can seal a meeting with the Lakers with a win over the Nuggets on Sunday.

Michael Porter Jr was keen to block out the criticism he received for his Game 4 post-match comments after draining a crucial late shot in a huge win for the Denver Nuggets against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The rookie, who finished 1-of-3 from the floor, drilled a three-pointer from the wing with the Nuggets up by two and with just over a minute remaining in Orlando.

Denver went on to win Game 5 111-105 and now trail the fancied Clippers 3-2 in the Western Conference semi-finals.

Porter had attracted criticism following defeat in the previous game when he suggested his scoring troubles in the second half, when he failed to add 15 points in the first, were due to not receiving the ball enough.

Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard was among those to criticise Porter, who said he was not trying to be disrespectful to his team-mates.

"I kinda tried to block that out. Everything I said - I stand by what I say. And I didn't mean it in any type of disrespectful way or anything like that," Porter said. 

"Coaches and my team-mates, they all know that. We talked as a team. Everybody was on the same page coming into today. 

"But Dame and those guys, I respect all those guys - especially those superstars in the league talking to a young guy like me. You want to listen. You don't want to have an ego and think you're always right. 

"So, I took what those guys said and I listened to it. Everybody has their opinion, but that was blocked out before today and everybody was on the same page."

Nuggets coach Michael Malone said the comments had been discussed prior to Game 5 but paid tribute to Porter's confidence on the court.

"During the playoffs, the last thing you want is any kind of a distraction, and if those frustrations are there for Michael, or anybody, it's much better to keep those conversations internal, in the locker and amongst ourselves," Malone said.

"What you love about Michael is, whether it's his youthful inexperience or not really understanding the magnitude of the situation, he has supreme confidence.

"The guy is a tireless worker. He's a gym rat. And for every shot he makes in a game, he's had thousands upon thousands of reps in a practice gym. 

"So what it says is that he has confidence in himself, we have confidence in him, and maybe we didn't find him, he didn't make many shots before that, but every time that kid shoots the ball, I think it's going in."

The Clippers led by 13 points at one stage and Kawhi Leonard said the defeat was something to learn from.

"They are going to keep fighting. It's a lesson for us," Leonard said. "We had leads like this all year and teams have come back on us."

Clippers coach Doc Rivers added: "We definitely lost our discipline. There is no doubt about that. That would be the lesson."

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