NBA

Kyrie leads Mavericks past Kings to stay in play-in hunt, Bucks clinch East's top seed

By Sports Desk April 05, 2023

Kyrie Irving led the Dallas Mavericks' second-half rally from a 13 point third-quarter deficit to boost their play-in hopes with a 123-119 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.

Irving scored 25 of his 31 points in the second half as the Mavs claimed an important win to improve to 38-42, having trailed 71-60 at half-time at American Airlines Center.

The win sees the Mavs draw level with the 10th-placed Oklahoma City Thunder in the fourth and final play-in tournament spot in the West with two games to play. OKC have the tiebreaker edge.

Dallas play the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs in their final two games, while the Thunder take on the Utah Jazz and the Memphis Grizzlies.

Mavs point guard Irving shot 12-of-23 from the field with six-of-10 from beyond the arc along with four rebounds, eight assists and two steals.

Luka Doncic was outstanding on Dallas' backcourt too, with 29 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, while Tim Hardaway Jr scored 24 points including five triples.

Irving led Dallas' third-quarter 12-0 run, flipping the game on its head, ending their own three-game losing skid.

De'Aaron Fox scored 28 points with eight assists for the Kings, with Domantas Sabonis recording a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. All five Kings starter scored double-digit points.

Sacramento also had a season-high 22 offensive rebounds, recording 30-14 second chance points.

Clippers claim crunch win over Lakers

The Los Angeles Clippers claimed a critical 125-118 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in the race to avoid the play-in tournament, while extending their recent winning run in the Battle of LA to 11-0.

Norman Powell scored a team-high 27 points off the bench, while Kawhi Leonard added 25 points and seven rebounds. The Lakers, playing the second game of a back-to-back, had LeBron James score 33 points with eight rebounds and seven assists.

The Clippers snapped their two-game losing run and ended the Lakers' four-game winning streak, improving to a 42-38 record to sit fifth ahead of the Golden State Warriors (42-38).

The Lakers are 41-39 in seventh alongside the New Orleans Pelicans (41-39), who won 138-131 over the Memphis Grizzlies despite Jaren Jackson Jr's 40 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.

Bucks and Celtics clinch No.1 and No.2 seeds

The Milwaukee Bucks were without Giannis Antetokounmpo and lost Khris Middleton midgame both due to knee soreness but triumphed 105-92 over the Chicago Bulls to secure the East's number one seed.

The Bucks flexed their muscle without the star duo with Bobby Portis scoring 27 points with 13 rebounds, Brook Lopez adding 26 points and seven rebounds and Jrue Holiday contributing 20 points with eight rebounds and 15 assists.

Milwaukee have locked in top spot with a 58-22 record, while the Boston Celtics won 97-93 over the Toronto Raptors to confirm the East's number two seed with a 55-25 record.

Malcolm Brogdon came off the bench to score 29 points from 35 minutes, while Jaylen Brown managed 25 points and 11 rebounds with Jayson Tatum out with a bruised left hip.

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    That wasn't enough, however, for J.B. Bickerstaff to keep his job as the team's coach.

    The Cavaliers decided to dismiss Bickerstaff from his position on Thursday, according to a statement made by the team.

    Since taking over for John Beilein in 2020, Bickerstaff went 170-159 in five seasons with Cleveland and led the franchise to the play-offs each of the last two years.

     

    In 2023-24, Bickerstaff helped direct Cleveland to a 48-34 record and the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference play-offs.

    The Cavs then beat the Orlando Magic in the first round for the franchise's first play-off series win since the team lost to the Golden State Warriors in the 2018 NBA Finals. It also marked Cleveland's first trip to the conference semi-finals without LeBron James on the roster since 1992-93.

    The Cavs' season ended in the conference semis, where they lost to the NBA-best Boston Celtics in five games.

    Bickerstaff's team, however, was significantly undermanned with five-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell missing the final two games against the Celtics with a left calf strain and fellow All-Star Jarrett Allen missing the last eight play-off games due to a right rib contusion.

    "J.B. is a well-respected NBA coach and an incredible human-being," Cavaliers president of basketball operations Koby Altman said in a statement. "Over the past four years, he helped establish a culture that progressively drove players to become the best versions of themselves. Decisions like these are never easy, particularly when you look back at where this franchise rebuild started under his leadership. The NBA is a unique business that sometimes requires aggressive risk-taking to move a franchise forward and ultimately compete for championships. We owe a ton of gratitude for everything J.B. has contributed to the Cavaliers and his engagement in the Cleveland community. We wish J.B., his wife Nikki and their three children the best in their future endeavours."

  • Finch bemoans Timberwolves' failure to see out win against Mavericks Finch bemoans Timberwolves' failure to see out win against Mavericks

    Chris Finch lamented the Minnesota Timberwolves’ lack of composure in their Western Conference finals Game 1 defeat to the Dallas Mavericks.

    The Timberwolves lost 108-105 on the road on Wednesday, failing to hold onto their lead in the final four minutes.

    Minnesota sank just 11 of 18 from the free-throw line and committed five turnovers in the final frame, allowing Dallas to complete a late turnaround. 

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    "It cost us a game in the Denver series. It certainly had an impact on this game tonight, too. We've got to be better in clutch moments."

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    Luka Dončić scored 15 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter and Kyrie Irving added 30 points as the Dallas Mavericks edged the Minnesota Timberwolves 108-105 on the road in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Wednesday night.

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