NBA

LeBron's Lakers move up to the seventh seed, Brunson drops career-high 48 in Knicks win

By Sports Desk March 31, 2023

The Los Angeles Lakers collected their fifth win from their past six games as they defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 123-111 away from home on Friday.

Lakers center Anthony Davis was the star of the show, piling up a game-high 38 points on 15-of-26 shooting while adding a game-high 17 rebounds and an equal team-high two blocks.

Superstar running-mate LeBron James was not as his offensive best, shooting seven-of-19 from the field, but he found a way to contribute with 10 rebounds, six assists, two blocks and a steal to go with his 18 points.

The Timberwolves actually led by 10 at half-time, but the Lakers came out of the break and produced a 35-18 third period to snatch control of the contest.

An Anthony Edwards three-pointer early in the fourth period cut the Lakers' lead to nine, but from that point Davis would score 15 of Los Angeles' next 17 points, taking over when his team needed him most.

It was a disappointing performance from Edwards, finishing four-of-16 from the field for 11 points. Karl-Anthony Towns was strong with 23 points (eight-of-18), and Mike Conley led the Wolves with 25 (seven-of-11) and seven assists.

It was a costly loss for Minnesota, as they could have begun threatening the sixth-seeded Warriors with a win, but instead dropped down to ninth at 39-39.

The Lakers (39-38) jumped two spots up to seventh, and are just 1.5 games behind Golden State (41-37).

Brunson outduels Mitchell in Cleveland

Jalen Brunson put together one of the best games of his career as he carried the New York Knicks to a 130-116 victory on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Brunson set a new career-high with 48 points on 18-of-32 shooting, and he also dished nine assists. It is the fourth time this season he has scored at least 40 points after never scoring more than 34 during his four years in Dallas.

Donovan Mitchell was determined to match Brunson every step of the way, dropping 23 points in the first quarter on his way to 42 (16-of-23) for the game, but Cleveland fell away in a disappointing 25-14 fourth period.

Barring any major losing streak from either of these teams the rest of the regular season, Cleveland will host New York as the Eastern Conference's four-five first-round playoff matchup.

Banchero bullies the Wizards

Number one draft pick Paolo Banchero showed why he is the future of the Orlando Magic after a dominant display in a 116-109 road win over the Washington Wizards.

Banchero, the runaway Rookie of the Year favourite, scored a game-high 30 points, blocked a game-high three shots and snatched down a team-high 12 rebounds, while also leading the Magic with six assists.

Fellow number one pick Markelle Fultz was similarly impressive, shooting 11-of-15 from the field for his 25 points, six rebounds and four assists, while 21-year-old talent Franz Wagner chipped in 20 points (eight-of-14).

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    The top-seeded Celtics, who were ousted in seven games by the Miami Heat in last year's East finals, completed a sweep of this best-of-seven series by rallying from a nine-point deficit with under nine minutes left.

    Jaylen Brown led Boston's comeback by scoring 10 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and coming up with a key late block that preceded White's winning shot. The Celtics also received 26 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists from Jayson Tatum, as well as another strong performance from their backcourt duo of White and Jrue Holiday.

    Holiday totalled 17 points and nine rebounds while White had 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting along with a game-high five steals.

    The sixth-seeded Pacers were unable to extend the series while playing a second straight game without All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton, who injured his hamstring in Thursday's Game 2.

    Andrew Nembhard led Indiana with 24 points and 10 assists, while Pascal Siakam posted 19 points and 10 rebounds.

    The Celtics will face the winner of the Western Conference finals between the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves, and will host Game 1 on Thursday, June 6. The Mavericks lead that series 3-0 and can advance at home in Tuesday's Game 4. 

    A tightly contested game saw neither side lead by more than eight points until the Pacers put forth a 5-0 run, capped by Nembhard's 3-point play with 8:57 left to play, to take a 94-85 advantage.

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    It remained a two-point game until Brown knocked down a floater with 2:40 left to tie the score at 102-102. Shortly thereafter, the All-Star forward rejected Nembhard in the lane as Boston's Al Horford grabbed the rebound with the contest headed towards the final minute of play.

    Brown then found an open White in the right corner, and the valued guard drained a 23-footer to send the Celtics ahead.

    Indiana had one final chance to force overtime, but Nembhard's 3-point try missed the mark and the Pacers failed to get another shot off. 

     

     

     

  • NBA legend Walton dies at 71 NBA legend Walton dies at 71

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    The NBA announced he passed away following a prolonged battle with cancer.

    During a 10-year professional career, Walton won a pair of NBA titles and was named the 1977-78 league MVP. He was also included on the NBA's 50th anniversary and 75th anniversary teams.

    He was the No. 1 overall pick of the 1974-75 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers following a brilliant collegiate career that saw him win a pair of national titles at UCLA and earn three national player of the year awards.

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    Indeed, they also came from behind late on in Game 6 of their conference semi-final series victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    Irving scored 14 points in the fourth quarter in Game 3, and now has 31 such points this series; the most by any player in this year's conference finals.

    "Unbelievable. That's why some people call him Mr Fourth Quarter, right?" Doncic said of his team-mate. "Just amazing. He's born for these situations. He's born for the clutch situations, so we just get the ball to him."

    "Down the stretch, that's where we make our money," Irving added. "I think we have that poise now, and we're just showcasing our skill sets out there that a lot of teams have to guard, the depth that we have. A lot of teams have to guard each one of us, and you got to pick your poison."

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    "I feel like we're both born for this if you ask me, but it's just basketball. You've got to give the game what it needs at times," said Irving, who called for focus in his franchise's quest for a second NBA title.

    "It doesn't mean anything if we don't win a ring together. Right now, I want to show a lot of respect to the guys that have come before us and have actually done it. And our time will come."

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