Jaylen Brown revealed emotions were running high in the locker room after the Boston Celtics fell 2-0 down in their Eastern Conference finals series against the Miami Heat.

The Celtics squandered a half-time lead once again as they were beaten 106-101 at Walt Disney World Resort on Thursday.

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

Brown conceded the Celtics had taken the result hard, amid reports guard Marcus Smart had been seen storming out of the locker room.


"It's really just a lot of emotions just flying around," Brown said, per ESPN.

"Obviously we feel like we could have won, we should have won, but we didn't. So just a lot of emotions flying around. That's it."

Speaking about the challenge that now faces the Celtics to turn the series around, he added: "We just got to be sound, execute and stay together. That's it. We feel confident about our abilities, we feel confident about our game plan.

"We just haven't executed it to the extent that we know we can. Two games, we came up short towards the end of the game, and we're looking forward to Game 3. We've gotta find a way to win.

"We just haven't played a full 48 minutes of being locked in and executing the game plan. I feel like maybe about 75 per cent, we played really well.

"It's always one quarter or one sequence of events where we have lapses, and against this team, we can't have those.

"If we take that away, we'll win."

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

However, Walker dismissed the idea that it had been a close-run contest.

"Man, they outplayed us," he said. "They outplayed us. It's really unacceptable on our behalf. It was just a really bad quarter for us.

"We didn't continue to do the things that we did to get us up and get us that lead. I think we got kind of comfortable, and those guys, they took great advantage of it.

"They played hard. They played really hard. They played a lot harder than us. They wanted it."

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."

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.

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.

Jimmy Butler is adamant the best is still to come from the Miami Heat after they reached the NBA Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2014 by eliminating the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Heat came into the playoffs ranked fifth, making them the lowest seed to reach the Eastern Conference finals in 21 years.

The Bucks came into the playoffs as the conference's top seeds, but a 103-94 Heat victory in Tuesday's Game 5 secured a 4-1 triumph for Erik Spoelstra's team.

Butler certainly played his part in the series-clinching win, registering a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds after a shaky first quarter, and he was in a confident mood after the game.

When asked if the Heat had shown their best in the five meetings with the Bucks, Butler said: "No, I don't think so. I don't think we've played a full 48-minute game yet, and that what's promising.

"When we do lock in and decide to play from start to finish, I think the game would be a lot easier. I don't think it's happened yet, but we have to next round."

With regards to leading the team to the conference finals, Butler added: "It means a lot, but like you said, that's not my goal. That's not my guys' goal. It's not the organisation's goal.

"We want to win it, win a championship, and I think that's what we're focused on. These next eight are going to be much harder than the previous eight. We know that, but we're ready."

The Heat were boosted by Giannis Antetokounmpo missing out for the Bucks as he failed to shake off an ankle injury.

But Spoelstra was no less proud of his side, applauding them for their "journey".

"I want our guys to just step back at least for a night, if not two nights, and just reflect," Spoelstra said.

"It's not easy to get to the conference finals, and our organisation knows that. We've been trying desperately to get back to the conference finals. It's not our ultimate goal, we get it, but you can still acknowledge the journey, how hard it is to this point.

"That is why we brought Jimmy Butler here. That is why we put this team together with the veterans, adding Andre [Iguodala] and Jae [Crowder], building around Goran [Dragic] and Bam [Adebayo], having a young core.

"It was to try and do something in the playoffs. It's not easy to get to the conference finals. Otherwise, every team would be doing it."

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo said he will not request a trade after his team crashed out of the NBA playoffs in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

Antetokounmpo watched from the sidelines due to an ankle sprain as the top-seeded Bucks suffered a 4-1 series defeat following Tuesday's 103-94 loss to the Miami Heat.

Attention immediately turned to Antetokounmpo's future, with the reigning MVP set to become a free agent at the end of 2020-21, while he is eligible for a max contract extension worth around $254million this offseason.

But Antetokounmpo dismissed speculation, telling Yahoo Sports: "It's not happening. That's not happening.

"Some see a wall and go in [another direction]. I plow through it. We just have to get better as a team, individually and get right back at it next season."

The Bucks – eyeing a first championship since 1971 – had finished the regular season with an NBA-best 56-17 record, but Milwaukee struggled inside the Orlando bubble at Walt Disney World Resort.

"If winning a championship was easy, everyone would have one," Antetokounmpo said.

"We lost. Everyone saw that we lost. It's disappointing, but what are we going to do? We're going to keep working. I've got confidence in my team-mates."

Antetokounmpo added: "Everyone has a role to play. You see my brother, Thanasis, he's always up cheering and doing whatever he can when he's not playing. I'm no different. This is a team and I'm going to do whatever I can to help our team win games."

"I trust my team-mates," he continued. "It's supposed to be hard."

LeBron James led the way in a record-breaking performance as the Los Angeles Lakers topped the Houston Rockets 112-102 in Game 3 of the Western Conference semi-finals.

James became the all-time leader for NBA playoff wins on Tuesday with his 162nd career victory in the postseason, surpassing Derek Fisher.

The three-time NBA champion and four-time MVP finished with 36 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four blocks to help the top-seeded Lakers claim a 2-1 series lead.

Big performances from James Harden and Russell Westbrook were not enough to lift the Rockets at Walt Disney World Resort.

Meanwhile, Eastern Conference top seeds the Milwaukee Bucks bowed out of the playoffs following a 103-94 loss to the Miami Heat.

Without reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo due to an ankle sprain, the Bucks were eliminated by the fifth-seeded Heat in the second round after suffering a 4-1 series defeat.

The Heat are through to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2014.

 

Davis double-double

While James top-scored for the Lakers, All-Star team-mate Anthony Davis contributed 26 points and 15 rebounds.

It was a vintage performance from Rajon Rondo. The Lakers veteran was eight of 11 from the field and three of five from three-point range for 21 points off the bench.

Rockets star Harden fell short of a triple-double, finishing with 33 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Westbrook recorded 30 points.

Jimmy Butler put up 17 points and 10 rebounds as the Heat advanced.

 

Bledsoe struggles

It was a tough outing for Milwaukee's Eric Bledsoe. In 36 minutes of action, he made just two of his 12 field shots and was one of four from beyond the arc for nine points.

Eric Gordon had 10 points but on two-of-nine shooting from the field, while he converted just two of six three-point attempts.

 

Raptors face Celtics

The Boston Celtics can secure their spot in the Eastern Conference finals by beating defending champions the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 on Wednesday. They lead 3-2.

Giannis Antetokounmpo wanted to play in Game 5 against the Miami Heat, but Mike Budenholzer said there was no way the Milwaukee Bucks were going to risk their star.

Without Antetokounmpo (ankle), the Bucks bowed out of the NBA playoffs in the Eastern Conference semi-finals after a 103-94 loss to the Heat sealed a 4-1 series defeat on Tuesday.

The reigning NBA MVP was ruled out just before the game, but Bucks head coach Budenholzer said Antetokounmpo wanted to play.

"Giannis always wants to play, he's never going to pull himself and there was a plan today," he told a news conference.

"We had to look and put our heads together and listen to Giannis, but listen to our sports performance group led by Troy Flanagan and ultimately Jon Horst is our GM and myself and we couldn't let Giannis go out there. He's not ready, he's not healthy [and] we can't put him at risk.

"Giannis would always play, he wants to be there for his team-mates so really, really hard for Giannis, but I think it was pretty clear from everybody's, probably except for his, perspective what needed to happen."

The playoff exit was a disappointing finish to the campaign for the Bucks, who finished the regular season with the best record at 56-17.

Milwaukee also led the protests that saw the playoffs postponed last month as they called for justice for Jacob Blake, who was shot by police in Wisconsin.

Budenholzer was emotional when speaking about his players, saying: "I think what the team stands for and I think the character, the humanity to stand and be on the right side of history like we did led by George [Hill] and Sterling [Brown] and that was emotional and it's such a great group.

"Winning is important, we had high expectations starting the season, throughout the season, coming here, you always want to realise those expectations. But the relationships, the character, what this group did, I think it would be great if you could have both, but I think if you're going to choose one, I'd like to be with guys who had character and stand for something."

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo has been ruled out of his team's crucial Eastern Conference semi-final Game 5 clash with the Miami Heat due to an ankle injury.

Antetokounmpo re-injured his right ankle during Sunday's 118-115 overtime victory against the Heat as the top-seeded Bucks stayed alive in the NBA playoffs.

However, Antetokounmpo has not recovered in time and will sit out Tuesday's showdown at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, where the Bucks trail 3-1, after being filmed arriving in a moonboot.

Reigning MVP Antetokounmpo left Game 4 in the second quarter, having played less than 12 minutes against the in-form Heat.

Antetokounmpo posted 19 points on eight-of-10 shooting to go with four rebounds and one steal before exiting.

No team in NBA history have recovered from a 3-0 playoff series deficit to advance.

Jimmy Butler feels the Miami Heat eased up after Giannis Antetokounmpo was forced off injured as the Milwaukee Bucks staved off NBA playoff elimination with a 118-115 overtime win on Sunday.

Antetokounmpo was cleared to play late in the day having suffered an ankle sprain in Game 3 of the series, but he appeared to be moving well in the warm-up.

He was sent tumbling by Heat forward Andre Iguodala in the second quarter of Game 4, instantly clutching his ankle after he was left in a heap.

Although the NBA's reigning MVP managed to come back on for a pair of free throws, Antetokounmpo went off again straight after, with the Bucks ruling him out at half-time.

Despite such a blow, the Bucks went on to seal an overtime victory that keeps them alive in the series, having lost each of their first three clashes, and the Heat's Butler thinks they underestimated their opponents once Antetokounmpo had gone.

"Well, it shouldn't affect ours, but I think that we relaxed a little bit," the All-Star said when asked if Antetokounmpo's exit impacted the Heat's mentality.

"We stopped playing basketball the right way. We stopped guarding. We stopped living by our defensive principles. We weren't getting 50-50 balls. We were getting out-rebounded. It was just all bad."

Bam Adebayo added: "I feel like we played like we were up 3-0. That's not giving enough effort, not sacrificing our body, and we ended up losing because we were up 3-0.

"They're a good team, so at the end of the day, we should have played like we were in Game 1, Game 2 and Game 3 ... I feel like we didn't play a maximum effort the whole game."

Khris Middleton became the Bucks' inspiration in Antetokounmpo's absence, ending up with 36 points, eight assists and eight rebounds in 48 minutes on court, while he also sealed the victory with 6.9 seconds left of overtime with a three-pointer.

But he focused on the Greek star, lauding him for even getting on court in the first place.

"We know he was laying it out on the line out there for us," he said.

"His ankle was already in bad shape, and he still went out there in the first quarter in the minutes that, in the first and second quarter, however long he was out there, he gave it his all, and as a team you couldn't do nothing but respect your team-mate for giving his all out there.

"So, we had to have his back tonight, and hopefully we'll have him back again for the next game, but if not, we still have to play as hard as we can.

"We've got to fight every night to keep on playing."

LeBron James and Anthony Davis flexed their muscles with double-doubles as the Los Angeles Lakers levelled their NBA playoff series by topping the Houston Rockets 117-109.

After losing Game 1 in the Western Conference semi-finals, the top-seeded Lakers responded thanks to James' 28 points and 11 rebounds at Walt Disney World Resort, where he finished just one assist shy of a triple-double on Sunday.

Fellow All-Star Davis posted 34 points and 10 rebounds to take down the Rockets in Orlando, Florida.

The Rockets, led by James Harden's 27 points and double-doubles from Russell Westbrook (10 points and 13 rebounds) and P.J. Tucker (18 points and 11 rebounds), outscored the Lakers 41-23 in the third quarter but a 27-17 final period in favour of the Lakers saw Houston fall.

Eastern Conference top seeds the Milwaukee Bucks, meanwhile, stayed alive thanks to a 118-115 overtime win against the Miami Heat in Game 4.

Facing a series sweep and with reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo forced to exit the game due to an ankle injury, the Bucks prolonged their postseason campaign as Khris Middleton put up 36 points.

 

LeBron moves up

The three-time champion and four-time MVP improved to second on the all-time playoffs list for three-pointers made. James now has 386 threes, only behind Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry (470).

Rajon Rondo has struggled for fitness, but the veteran produced an efficient display for the Lakers. He had 10 points, nine assists and five steals against the Rockets off the bench.

Bam Adebayo recorded 26 points and 12 rebounds for the beaten Heat.

 

Giannis cause for concern

Antetokounmpo was already in doubt for Sunday's do-or-die showdown due to his ankle and his availability for Tuesday's Game 5 is up in the air. The Bucks star lasted less than 12 minutes after re-injuring his ankle.

While Westbrook had a double-double, the Rockets star was just four of 15 from the field, while he only made one of his seven three-point attempts.

 

Celtics face Raptors

Can the Toronto Raptors make it three straight wins for a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference semi-finals? The defending champions are in action against the Boston Celtics on Monday. The Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets also meet in Game 3 of their Western Conference semi matchup.

Mike Budenholzer was unsure if Giannis Antetokounmpo would be fit for Game 5 against the Miami Heat, but the Milwaukee Bucks head coach's heart stopped when the star hurt his ankle.

Antetokounmpo left Sunday's 118-115 overtime victory in the second quarter after re-injuring his ankle in the NBA playoffs.

The reigning MVP had posted 19 points in less than 12 minutes before Khris Middleton inspired the Bucks with 36 points as they stayed alive in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

But there is no guarantee Antetokounmpo will be back for Game 5 on Tuesday, with the Heat still leading 3-1 at Walt Disney World Resort.

"As far as for Game 5, they're evaluating him now," Bucks Budenholzer told a news conference.

"He'll get treatment through the night and we'll just see how he does over the next 24-48 hours and no, there was no consideration about him coming back today."

While it was Middleton who ended up keeping the top-seeded Bucks alive, Antetokounmpo was in fine form before his injury.

Budenholzer praised Antetokounmpo and said the injury was a scary moment for the Bucks.

"You feel for Giannis. I hope it's not lost what he did in those first 10 or 12 minutes on an ankle that is not fully 100 per cent," he said.

"He was phenomenal to start the game and gave us a huge boost. I think they threw a big punch early and Giannis was able to keep us afloat and when he went down, all our hearts just stopped for a second."

Heat star Jimmy Butler, who finished with 17 points, felt Miami fell away after Antetokounmpo's injury.

"We relaxed a little bit. We stopped playing basketball the right way. We stopped guarding. We stopped living by our defensive principles," he said.

"We weren't getting 50-50 balls, we were getting outrebounded, it was just all bad."

Giannis Antetokounmpo was ruled out of the rest of Game 4 between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat due to a right ankle sprain in the NBA playoffs.

Bucks star Antetokounmpo sustained the injury by tangling with Andre Iguodala with 10 minutes, 18 seconds remaining in the second period and left the game after shooting two free throws at Walt Disney World Resort on Sunday.

Milwaukee confirmed during half-time that the reigning MVP would not return to the floor for the rest of the Eastern Conference semi-finals clash.

Antetokounmpo appeared to be struggling with a right ankle injury during Game 3, which ended in a 115-100 defeat for the Bucks that sent them 3-0 down in the series.

The top-seeded Bucks needed to win on Sunday to keep their hopes of reaching the Eastern Conference Finals alive.

Antetokounmpo had started the game strongly in Orlando, scoring 19 points on eight-of-10 shooting to go with four rebounds and one steal.

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is questionable for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals against the Miami Heat due to a right ankle sprain.

The top-seeded Bucks trail 3-0 and are facing a stunning series sweep at the hands of the Heat in the NBA playoffs heading into Sunday's crucial clash at Walt Disney World Resort.

Antetokounmpo rolled his ankle in the first half of Milwaukee's 115-100 Game 3 loss to Miami in Orlando, Florida on Friday.

The reigning MVP still posted 21 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists for the struggling Bucks.

No NBA team have overturned a 3-0 series deficit as the Bucks – eyeing their first championship since 1971 – fight to stay alive in the postseason.

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