Michael Malone refused to blame a bizarre equipment mix-up for his Denver Nuggets' Game 4 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.

Denver headed into the game with a 3-0 first-round series lead, but ahead of a Game 4 where they could have sealed their progression, some Nuggets players warmed up in flip-flops after a delay in their shoes arriving to the arena.

Following the equipment mix-up, the Nuggets fell to a 119-108 loss as LeBron James led the way for the Lakers with 30 points to keep his team in the series.

Despite the pre-match muddle, Malone says to blame that for the ensuing defeat would be a "reach".

"Is it ideal? No," Malone told reporters. "But hopefully we can figure that out and make sure it never happens again.

"If you want to dig into stuff and say, 'well, we lost because for some strange reason our players didn't have their shoes when they got here for their normal warm-ups, that we had guys out there shooting around with flip-flops'. Is it ideal? No. But I'm not an excuse guy. And I'm not going to point to the reason we got our butts kicked in the paint because shoes weren't here."

Denver had been forced to overturn double-digit deficits in all three of their series victories prior to Saturday's defeat, and Michael Porter Jr. again lamented his team's slow start while crediting the Lakers.

"We talked about getting off to a better start," Porter Jr. explained. "It takes a lot of energy to come back from these double-digit leads, down 20, down 15, whatever it is.

"Tonight they [Lakers] did a good job of sustaining it. Whenever we got within 10 or eight, it seemed like they made a 3-pointer or made a big shot. So credit to them."

Jayson Tatum believes his Boston Celtics team showed their toughness as they claimed a 104-84 Game 3 win over the Miami Heat on Saturday.

As the top seed in the Eastern Conference, Boston eased to victory in the opening match of the first-round series. However, the eighth-seed Heat hit back in Game 2, taking a 111-101 triumph to level the series.

Game 3 belonged to the Celtics, though, with a strong defensive display and a big performance from Tatum, who finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds, allowing Boston to once again get their noses in front ahead of Game 4.

In Tatum's view, the Celtics were able to match their ability with a strong mindset in Game 3 to help them regain control of the series.

"Everybody knows how talented we are," Tatum told reporters. "But can we be the tougher, harder-playing team?"

"If we can combine that with the talent, it's going to be hard to beat us.

"Can we start off every game, essentially, punching first instead of reacting? That's a test we have to be up for every single night."

The Heat hit 23 3-pointers in their Game 2 victory, but the Celtics' defensive display was a big improvement on Saturday, limiting the Heat to just 84 points.

Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra acknowledged the Celtics' much-improved performance in Game 3, though he still believes his team has the ability to haul themselves back into the series again.

"They were the more physical team," Spoelstra explained. "They bodied us [and] bullied us.

"We have enough to get the job done. We know we have to play hard, and we also have to play well."

LeBron James says the Los Angeles Lakers face a "one-game series" against the Denver Nuggets after clinching a lifeline in their Western Conference first-round battle in Game 4.

The Lakers avoided a sweep with Saturday's 119-108 home win over the reigning NBA champions, halting an 11-game losing streak in head-to-head meetings with Denver. 

James had 30 points while Anthony Davis added 25 points and 23 rebounds as Los Angeles finally saw out a lead to stay alive in the playoffs.

They now return to Denver for Game 5 on Monday, knowing no team has ever overturned a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series. 

James, however, is taking things one game at a time, saying: "Well, the only opportunity for us is just to play the next game. 

"We've given ourselves another life. We've given ourselves another lifeline, and it's a one-game series for us.

"Monday's game is the most important game of the season for us, and we understand that and we know that, it's at that stage where if you lose, you're done. You win and you keep going."

Davis' 25 points came on 11 of 17 shooting, and he is averaging 30.5 points and 15.8 rebounds throughout a series in which he is often up against likely 2023-24 MVP Nikola Jokic.

Davis attracted scrutiny when he appeared to blame head coach Darvin Ham for the Lakers' defeat in Game 2, but James says he doesn't have anything to prove through the rest of the series.

"AD doesn't have to prove anything to anybody," James said. "He's one of the best bigs we have in the game, one of the best bigs in the world. He's showing that again through the first four games."

Davis, meanwhile, was relieved to see the Lakers produce through four quarters, having squandered a 20-point lead back in Game 2.

"We have a lot of confidence in our team," Davis said. "We've had the lead a lot this series. 

"It's just been our second halves, actually our third quarters, where we haven't been able to execute at scoring the basketball. So our confidence was never lost at any point in the game."

LeBron James scored 30 points and Anthony Davis added 25 and 23 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers avoided a sweep with a 119-108 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday in their Western Conference first-round series.

D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves each added 21 points to help the Lakers end an 11-game losing streak to the Nuggets, a stretch that included seven consecutive playoff losses.

The Lakers, who notched their first win over the Nuggets since December 2022, will try to stave off elimination again in Game 5 back in Denver on Monday.

Nikola Jokić had 33 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists for his 18th career playoff triple-double and second in this series.

Michael Porter Jr. added 27 points and 11 rebounds for the defending NBA champion Nuggets.

Los Angeles pushed its lead to 106-87 with six minutes remaining, but Denver whittled it down to six on Jokic’s three-point play with 1:25 to play. Reaves, though, hit a short jumper and added four free throws to seal the win.

 

Celtics roll over Heat

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown led a balanced attack with 22 points apiece and the Boston Celtics led wire-to-wire in a 104-84 rout of the Miami Heat to take a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.

Game 4 is Monday in Miami, where the Celtics are 9-2 in their last 11 games and 6-1 in their last seven in the postseason.

Kristaps Porzingis added 18 points and Derrick White had 16 for top-seeded Boston, which reclaimed the home-court edge that it lost when Miami won Game 2.

The Celtics continued their bounce-back trend, improving to 15-4 in the games immediately following a loss this season with an average margin of victory in those games of 12.2 points.

Bam Adebayo scored 20 points and Nikola Jovic added 15 for the Heat, who are still without starters Jimmy Butler and Terry Rozier due to injuries.

 

Thunder push Pelicans to brink of sweep

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 24 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder knocked down 17 3-pointers in a 106-85 win over the New Orleans Pelicans for a 3-0 lead in their first-round series.

Jalen Williams and Josh Giddey each scored 21 points and combined to go 7 for 11 from long range to help the top-seeded Thunder move a win away from the franchise’s first postseason sweep since eliminating Dallas in 2011-12.

Oklahoma City can complete the sweep in New Orleans in Game 4 on Monday night. No team in NBA history has ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit.

Brandon Ingram scored 19 points and CJ McCollum added 16 for the Pelicans, who continued to struggle offensively without injured star Zion Williamson. They were 9 for 32 from 3-point range and turned the ball over 21 times, leading to 23 Thunder points.

The Thunder took control with a 14-0 run in the second quarter for a 54-39 lead. They led 60-46 at halftime and maintained at least a 10-point advantage the rest of the way.

Luka Doncic saluted "team player" P.J. Washington following his confrontation with Russell Westbrook during the Dallas Mavericks' victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Mavericks prevailed 101-90 in Game 3 to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round series, with Doncic falling just shy of a triple-double with 22 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

Although, it was a feisty affair at the American Airlines Center, where Washington and Westbrook were both ejected after an altercation following the latter's foul and shove on Doncic.

The five-time NBA All-Star was grateful for Washington's support and intervention, paying tribute to his team-mate.

"The things he does, he's a team player," Doncic said. "He helps all of us. I'm just really happy we've got him on our team.

"I'm used to [getting subjected to extra physicality. I just try to stay calm and keep playing basketball."

Mavericks coach Jason Kidd was also pleased by the togetherness demonstrated by his players with emotions running high.

"We're all competing for each inch to try to win," he said. "This series is going to be more mental as it goes on, just because of the physicality.

"It's very physical, but the mental aspect of this series, we have to be sharp and we have to understand what's taking place. I thought the guys did a great job of protecting one another."


 

Kevin Durant has urged the Phoenix Suns to use their supporters' frustrations as 'fuel' to reduce their first-round series arrears against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Suns fell 3-0 behind in the series as they went down 126-109 in Game 3 at Footprint Center, where Anthony Edwards led the way for the Timberwolves with 36 points.

No team has overturned a 3-0 deficit in NBA playoff history, and the home fans' disappointment in their side's performance was evident with many heading for the exits long before the contest's conclusion.

Durant, who finished with 25 points, empathises with the supporters.

"They expect so much out of us, and they pay their hard-earned money, and they deserve to react how they want to react," he said. "It's on us as players to use it as fuel, and hopefully it ignites us for the next game [on Sunday]."

The Suns have now lost five successive playoff games - the joint-longest streak in their history - and face the prospect of getting swept for the first time in a quarter of a century.

"I've never been swept a day in my life," guard Bradley Beal said. "I'll be damned if that happens."

Head coach Frank Vogel added: "There's no quit in our group. This group does not want the season to come to an end. We want this really bad, so it is disappointing. It is frustrating.

"We're all very invested in this, and we're all pouring everything we have to bring these fans a team they could be proud of, and we feel like we can still do that, but we haven't played well enough in this series."

Tyrese Haliburton capped his first career playoff triple-double with a three-point play with 1.6 seconds left in overtime that gave the Indiana Pacers a 121-118 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Friday's Game 3 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinals series.

Haliburton's winning shot and 18-point, 10-rebound, 16-assist performance lifted the sixth-seeded Pacers to a 2-1 lead in this best-of-seven series, which resumes in Indianapolis with Sunday's Game 4.

Indiana also received a big effort from Myles Turner, who set a playoff career-high with 29 points and grabbed nine rebounds. 

With the game tied at 118-118, Haliburton was fouled by Patrick Beverley as he drained a 15-foot floater with time winding down. The All-Star point guard then calmly hit the ensuing free throw for a three-point Indiana advantage.

The third-seeded Bucks were able to get a shot off before the buzzer, but Khris Middleton's 3-point try missed the mark as time expired.

Middleton did record a playoff career high of 42 points to go along with 10 rebounds on a night Milwaukee was again without Giannis Antetokounmpo due to a strained left calf that's sidelined him the entire series.

Damian Lillard scored 19 of his 28 points in the second half for Milwaukee, which overcame a 17-point third-quarter deficit to force overtime on Middleton's 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds remaining in regulation.

 

Doncic leads Mavericks to chippy win

Luka Dončić fell just shy of a triple-double and the Dallas Mavericks turned up the defense in a chippy 101-90 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers for a 2-1 lead in their first-round series.

Doncic finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists and Kyrie Irving scored 19 of his 21 points in the final 13-plus minutes, including eight in the final 78 seconds of the third quarter.

The Mavericks continued their strong defense from Tuesday’s Game 2 road win and won at home three years after losing all three first-round home games in a seven-game loss to the Clippers.

Game 4 is Sunday in Dallas.

James Harden and Norman Powell each scored 21 points but stars Paul George and Kawhi Leonard had little impact, combining for just 16 points on 7 for 18 from the field.

An already testy game reached a boiling point midway through the fourth quarter, when Russell Westbrook slung Doncic around after fouling him.

Westbrook was called for a technical for that contact and for shoving P.J. Washington after Washington confronted him. Washington was also called for a tech during the sequence, and already had one from an earlier shoving match with Terance Mann.

 

Edwards, balanced Timberwolves handle Suns

Anthony Edwards scored 36 points to lead six players in double figures and the Minnesota Timberwolves rolled to a 126-109 win over the Phoenix Suns to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their first-round series.

Edwards had nine rebounds and five assists, Rudy Gobert added 19 points with 14 rebounds and Karl-Anthony Towns chipped in 18 points and 13 boards as Minnesota took a 3-0 series lead for the first time in franchise history.

They can complete the sweep in Game 4 on Sunday.

Minnesota for the third straight game used a big third quarter to turn a close game into an easy win. The Wolves hit 7 of 11 3-pointers during the surge, including four from Nickeil Alexander-Walker, for a 95-73 lead entering the fourth.

Phoenix never got the deficit below double digits in the fourth and is one loss away from getting swept for the first time since 1998-99.  

Bradley Beal scored 28 points and Kevin Durant added 25 for the Suns, who played without starting guard Grayson Allen (sprained left ankle). He led the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage this season.

 

LeBron James has urged the Los Angeles Lakers to deal with the pressure, and thrive under it, as they aim to avoid a series sweep against the Denver Nuggets.

The Lakers slumped to a 3-0 lead in their first-round series against the reigning NBA champions following a 112-105 loss on Thursday.

Denver have now won 11 straight games against the Lakers, who squandered a big lead in Game 2 and were no match for the Nuggets in Game 3, with Nikola Jokic and Aaron Gordon in fine form.

James had 26 points and Anthony Davis had 33 for the Lakers, but Los Angeles went just 5 of 27 from the floor and missed 15 of their first 16 3-pointers.

Defeat means the Lakers will have to become the first team in NBA history to rally from a 0-3 playoff deficit to keep their postseason alive. 

James, though, laid down the gauntlet for his teammates.

"It's one game at a time, at this point. You lose, you go home. You come out with the mindset, 'Let's get one, force a Game 5, and then we go from there,'" James said.

"As long as you still have life, then you obviously have belief. I just think you play 'til the wheels fall off. That's what it's always about for me.

"That's a mindset, and I know [Davis] feels the same way.

"You're supposed to have anxiety and pressure, or feel the pressure.

"That's what it's about. This is what the postseason is about.

"Me and this guy [Davis], have been playing together for six years. We've been to the mountaintop. We've been close to the mountaintop. We've played a lot of games.

"We know what it takes to win. We know what it takes to win a championship and how damn near perfect you got to be. That's not like something that's so crazy to obtain."

Lakers coach Darvin Ham came under criticism from some fans following the Game 3 loss, but he paid credit to the Nuggets.

"They have a championship confidence," he said.

"That starting group has been together for a long time. Their net rating is off the charts as a starting group. They had guys step up and make plays."

The Nuggets are taking nothing for granted.

"I think every game is tougher and tougher," Jokic said.

"They were up 20 in Denver; they were up 12 today in the first half. I think it's really hard to play against the same team over again.

"You can't get bored with the style of the play or whatever. You just need to keep doing you, especially for us - because we won the last three - and just trust what we are doing and don't get bored with success because it can go wrong really quick."

Fresh from putting up 50 points in the Philadelphia 76ers' Game 3 win over the New York Knicks, Joel Embiid revealed he has been suffering from Bell's palsy, a condition affecting the left side of his face and causing blurred vision.

The reigning NBA MVP added eight rebounds and four assists to his half-century as the Sixers dragged themselves back into their first-round series after two road losses.

He became the first player in playoff history to record a 50-point game while attempting fewer than 20 shots, going 13 of 19 from the floor and making 19 of 21 free throws.

He did it while suffering from a condition which causes temporary weakness or lack of movement in one side of the face.

Embiid has to continually use eye drops to combat the blurred vision, and he says the symptoms could last for weeks or months.

"I think it started a day or two before the Miami game [in the Play-In tournament], and I had bad migraines and thought it was nothing," Embiid said in his post-game press conference. 

"It's pretty annoying, you know, with the left side of my face, my mouth and my eye. So yeah, it's been tough.

"I'm not a quitter, so I've got to keep fighting, but yeah, it's unfortunate. That's the way I look at it. It's not an excuse. I've got to keep pushing."

Smiling, he added: "I just hope it could stay like this. I've got a beautiful face. I don't like it when my mouth is looking the other way.

"Like I said, it's an unfortunate situation, but everything happens for a reason. Like I said, I've got to take care of myself mentally."

Embiid has endured a difficult season after landing the NBA's top individual prize last year. He missed two months after undergoing surgery to repair the lateral meniscus in his left knee in February.

Still wearing a brace on the affected knee, Embiid said he is still unable to trust it completely. 

"No, I'm just trying to keep pushing," he said when asked if he had 100 per cent confidence in his condition. "Like I said, I'm not going to quit. 

"Even if it's on one leg, I'm still going to go out there and try, but no, that's not an excuse. I've got to keep playing better and better and better. 

"Tonight I got lucky. I made a few shots. I've got to find a way to rebound, and I don't even care about rebounds. I've just got to make sure that my man doesn't get it, and then box out my man and take him out of the play. Whatever it takes to win."

The Denver Nuggets are on the brink of sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers after opening up a 3-0 lead in the teams' first-round series on Thursday, registering their 11th straight win against them.

Aaron Gordon had a playoff career-high 29 points and added 15 rebounds, while Nikola Jokic was just short of a triple-double with 24 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists as Denver clinched a 112-105 win.

Having squandered a big lead in Game 2, the Lakers failed to respond at home as the Nuggets began the second half with a 24-10 run to pull away from their hosts. Los Angeles failed to get closer than eight points in the fourth. 

LeBron James had 26 points, six rebounds and nine assists, while Anthony Davis had 33 points and 15 rebounds, but Los Angeles were let down by their shooting from the field.

They shot just 5 of 27 from the floor, missing with 15 of their first 16 3-point attempts. 

Game 4 takes place at Crypto.com Arena on Saturday, with the Lakers needing to become the first team in NBA history to rally from a 0-3 playoff deficit to keep James' 21st season alive. 

A small group of home fans showed their displeasure with head coach Darvin Ham after the loss, staying behind to chant, "fire Darvin" as the rest of the crowd filtered out.

Embiid's half-century takes Knicks-Sixers to 2-1

Joel Embiid's huge 50-point haul breathed fresh life into the Philadelphia 76ers' series with the New York Knicks, bringing the Sixers back to 2-1 after two road losses to start the playoffs.

The 76ers triumphed 125-114 as Embiid became the first player in playoff history to score 50 points on fewer than 20 shots in a game, going 13 of 19 from the floor and making 19 of 21 free throws.

Philadelphia were three down at the half but produced a huge third quarter, Embiid dragging his team into a 98-85 lead with four 3s in that period.

Tyrese Maxey supported Embiid with 25 points and seven assists, after the NBA admitted the officials missed a foul on him in the closing stages of the Sixers' controversial Game 2 loss.

Jalen Brunson led the Knicks with 39 points and 13 assists while Josh Hart tacked on 20 points, but Donte DiVincenzo only had five after hitting the decisive 3-pointer in Game 2.

Cavs suffer worst playoff loss as Magic hit back

The Orlando Magic also hit back after losing the first two games of their first-round series, dealing the Cleveland Cavaliers the heaviest loss in their playoff history on Thursday.

Taking the series back to Kia Center after a pair of road losses, Orlando recorded a 121-83 win behind Paolo Banchero's 31 points, with Jalen Suggs adding 24 for the fifth seeds in the East.

Orlando led by as many as 43 points in the fourth quarter before ultimately settling for a 38-point margin. The Cavs' previous worst playoff loss was a 36-point defeat to the Washington Wizards in 2008.

Franz Wagner tacked on 16 points and eight assists for Orlando, who now have the chance to level the series at home in Game 4 on Sunday.

Cleveland had four players in double figures but none managed more than the 15 put up by both Jarrett Allen and Caris Levert, the visitors shooting a miserable 8 of 34 (23.5 per cent) from the floor. 

The Miami Heat are desperate to silence their doubters and are using outside criticism as fuel in their first-round playoff series against the Boston Heat, having levelled it up at 1-1.

That is according to forward Bam Adebayo, who had 21 points and was nine of 13 shooting in the Heat's 111-101 win at TD Garden on Wednesday.

Miami buried their hosts under a mountain of 3-pointers in Game 2, setting a franchise record for a postseason game by shooting 23 of 43 (53.5 per cent) from the field.

Speaking after the game, Adebayo said the way in which the Eastern Conference's eighth seeds have been written off by neutrals was spurring them on.

"We've been doubted a lot through our playoff runs, people saying we couldn't do a lot of stuff that we eventually did," Adebayo said.

"So for me and my team, why lose belief now? Our backs are against the wall. Everybody's against us. So just use that as fuel.

"Our guys believe we can win. So, let's make it mano a mano… a cage fight. Let's hoop!"

Caleb Martin joined Adebayo on 21 points with five 3s, being booed by the Boston crowd every time he touched the ball following his heavy collision with Jayson Tatum in Game 1.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. contributed 14 points with three 3s, Nikola Jovic added a trio of 3s and Haywood Highsmith came off the bench to sink three 3s.

Martin said Miami's new shoot-on-sight mentality was part of a plan drawn up by Erik Spoelstra, saying: "I think it was about realising that being passive hurts us. 

"We'd just be playing into their gameplan. We're too good of a shooting team to hesitate from 3."

Spoelstra himself said the Heat had taken the decision to be more proactive after being sunk by Boston's 3-point shooting in Game 1.

"I understand the math of it," the Miami coach said. "We're not going to shoot 50 of them. That's not realistic."

Tyler Herro had 24 points and 14 assists and hit six of Miami’s franchise playoff-record 23 3-pointers as the Heat defeated the Boston Celtics, 111-101, to even their first-round series at a game apiece on Wednesday.

Bam Adebayo had 21 points and 10 rebounds and Caleb Martin added 21 points with five 3s for the Heat, who shot 53.5 percent (23 of 43) from long range to break the franchise playoff record of 20 3s, set against Milwaukee in 2021.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. contributed 14 points with three 3s, Nikola Jovic added a trio of 3s, nine rebounds and six assists and Haywood Highsmith came off the bench to hit three 3s.

The series shifts to Miami for Games 3 and 4 on Saturday and Monday.

Jaylen Brown scored 33 points and Jayson Tatum added 28 for the top-seeded Celtics, who cut Miami’s lead to 102-96 with three minutes left. But Martin hit a 3 and Herro made a driving layup to essentially seal the win.

Tatum scored 14 points in the first quarter and showed no ill effects after he was undercut by Martin while going after a rebound in the final minute in Game 1.

 

Gilgeous-Alexander, Holmgren power Thunder

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 33 points and Chet Holmgren added 26 to lead the hot-shooting Oklahoma City Thunder to a 124-92 rout of the New Orleans Pelicans and a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference first-round series.

Jalen Williams had 21 points, seven assists and five rebounds for the Thunder, who shot 59 percent (46 for 78) from the floor and made 14 of 29 (48.3 percent) from 3-point range.

Game 3 will be Sunday in New Orleans.

Jonas Valanciunas had 19 points and Herbert Jones and Brandon Ingram each added 18 as the Pelicans continued to struggle offensively without injured star Zion Williamson (strained left hamstring).

New Orleans missed 19 of 26 from beyond the arc and made 33 field goals to 46 for Oklahoma City.

The NBA has acknowledged numerous refereeing errors after the Philadelphia 76ers were on the wrong end of late decisions in a chaotic defeat to the New York Knicks.

Nick Nurse, Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey all voiced 76ers frustration after the Knicks came back from 101-96 down to win 104-101 on Monday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final series.

Philadelphia coach Nurse suggested his timeout calls were ignored on two separate occasions in the frantic finale, while Maxey and Embiid were left aggrieved with foul decisions during the same period.

In its Last Two Minute Report, the league concurred with the 76ers claims after admitting Maxey was fouled in the build-up to Jalen Brunson's 3-pointer that cut Philadelphia's lead to just two.

The same report also found that Maxey was illegally felled by Josh Hart, turning over for Donte DiVincenzo missing a decisive go-ahead 3-pointer before making the winning shot with 13 seconds remaining.

"[Maxey] did his job," Embiid said after the game when asked about the turnover in the closing seconds. "That's on the league. That's on the NBA.

"That's on the referees. I hate to put the game on them. But I am sure the two-minute report is going to come out and we are going to see what happened."

Maxey blamed himself and refused to dwell on the matter after the 76ers fell 2-0 down in the best-of-seven series, while Nurse was also left disappointed on the sidelines by the officiating.

Nurse claimed he twice attempted to call timeout, with the league's report acknowledging one of those should have been granted when 76ers point guard Kyle Lowry was inbounding the ball.

"I guess I got to run out onto the floor or do something to make sure and get his attention, but I needed a timeout there to advance it," Nurse lamented after the game.

The Last Two Minutes Report reviewed two other errors in officiating, having missed an Embiid foul on DiVincenzo before Brunson's 3-pointer and a defensive violation by Knicks forward OG Anunoby.

Though the NBA acknowledged the mistakes, no replay will be granted – a decision the Knicks are all too familiar with.

New York wanted a replay earlier this season after referee Jacyn Goble made an incorrect call for a foul on Houston Rockets guard Aaron Holiday, though that call was labelled as human error.

Both teams will be hoping for less drama when Games 3 and 4 come on Thursday and Sunday in Philadelphia.

The NBA has acknowledged numerous refereeing errors after the Philadelphia 76ers were on the wrong end of late decisions in a chaotic defeat to the New York Knicks.

Nick Nurse, Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey all voiced 76ers frustration after the Knicks came back from 101-96 down to win 104-101 on Monday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final series.

Philadelphia coach Nurse suggested his timeout calls were ignored on two separate occasions in the frantic finale, while Maxey and Embiid were left aggrieved with foul decisions during the same period.

In its Last Two Minute Report, the league concurred with the 76ers claims after admitting Maxey was fouled in the build-up to Jalen Brunson's 3-pointer that cut Philadelphia's lead to just two.

The same report also found that Maxey was illegally felled by Josh Hart, turning over for Donte DiVincenzo missing a decisive go-ahead 3-pointer before making the winning shot with 13 seconds remaining.

"[Maxey] did his job," Embiid said after the game when asked about the turnover in the closing seconds. "That's on the league. That's on the NBA.

"That's on the referees. I hate to put the game on them. But I am sure the two-minute report is going to come out and we are going to see what happened."

Maxey blamed himself and refused to dwell on the matter after the 76ers fell 2-0 down in the best-of-seven series, while Nurse was also left disappointed on the sidelines by the officiating.

Nurse claimed he twice attempted to call timeout, with the league's report acknowledging one of those should have been granted when 76ers point guard Kyle Lowry was inbounding the ball.

"I guess I got to run out onto the floor or do something to make sure and get his attention, but I needed a timeout there to advance it," Nurse lamented after the game.

The Last Two Minutes Report reviewed two other errors in officiating, having missed an Embiid foul on DiVincenzo before Brunson's 3-pointer and a defensive violation by Knicks forward OG Anunoby.

Though the NBA acknowledged the mistakes, no replay will be granted – a decision the Knicks are all too familiar with.

New York wanted a replay earlier this season after referee Jacyn Goble made an incorrect call for a foul on Houston Rockets guard Aaron Holiday, though that call was labelled as human error.

Both teams will be hoping for less drama when Games 3 and 4 come on Thursday and Sunday in Philadelphia.

Jason Kidd lauded Luka Doncic's defensive work after the Dallas Mavericks saw off the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Mavs beat the Clippers 96-93 on Tuesday, restoring parity in their playoff series.

Doncic finished with 33 points and 13 rebounds, though it was his defensive efforts that impressed coach Kidd.

"I think his defense has been great this whole series," Kidd said.

"We know they're going to put him in pick-and-roll. A couple years ago we saw this, and we had to tell him to participate.

"But I think he's participating at a high level on both ends. He's leading not just on the offensive end but also the defensive end."

According to ESPN, the Clippers missed all 11 shots that were contested by Doncic, whose teammate Maxi Kleber added: "When he gets his stops like this and pushes it, it's even more fun for us because we already know what he does on offense. 

"It spreads to everybody else. He's bringing the energy, and he's going to set the tone for us. And when he does stuff like that, it gives everybody juice."

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