NBA Playoffs: Mavs hit back against Jazz, Sixers and Warriors in control
Dallas, Texas - Jalen Brunson scored a career-high 41 points to carry the Dallas Mavericks to a 110-104 home victory, tying their NBA Playoff series against the Utah Jazz at 1-1.
With the Mavs missing Luka Dončić for the second straight game due to injury, Brunson scored 15 of their first 18 points as the two sides went into quarter-time tied at 24. It stayed neck-and-neck until a 7-0 run late in the second quarter gave Utah a seven-point lead at the long break.
Dallas' Maxi Kleber hit one three-pointer in each of the first two quarters, but caught fire in the second half, going three-for-four from long range in the third term and repeating that effort in the fourth quarter to finish with 25 points off the bench.
Kleber's biggest shots were back-to-back bombs to turn a 98-96 deficit into a 102-98 lead, which Dallas never relinquished, on the way to finishing eight-of-11 from three, while not attempting a single a two-point field goal.
Brunson finished an incredible 15-of-25 from the field and six-of-10 from three, and added eight rebounds, five assists, and two turnovers.
For Utah, Donovan Mitchell top-scored with 34 points on 13-of-30 shooting, while Rudy Gobert grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked two shots.
The series heads to Utah next for Game 3 and Game 4.
Sixers hold off Raptors rally
Despite strong first and fourth quarters for the Toronto Raptors, they went down 112-97 against the Philadelphia 76ers to fall down 2-0 in the series.
In an up-tempo first quarter where both sides were making shots, Fred VanVleet was the early standout, hitting four of his seven three-point attempts to head into quarter time with 14 points and his Raptors leading 33-32.
For the next two quarters, it would be all Philadelphia, out-scoring the Raptors 63-38 over the second and third frames to take full command of the contest, peaking at a 95-66 lead with 30 seconds remaining in the third.
The 76ers' intensity dropped in the last as the game was essentially won, which allowed Toronto to pull the margin back to 11 points with 6:30 to play, but that would be as close as things got as a Tyrese Maxey three and a string of free throws kept Philly's lead in the teens as the clock winded down.
Joel Embiid was the best player on the floor, scoring 31 points on nine-of-16 shooting (12-of-14 free throws) with 11 rebounds, while Maxey was unstoppable for the second game in a row, scoring an efficient 23 points on eight-of-11 shooting and adding nine rebounds with eight assists.
Tobias Harris also earned a mention with his 20 points and 10 rebounds, while O.G. Anunoby was the lone bright spot for the Raptors, scoring 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting and flashing some intriguing ability as a primary scoring option.
Toronto will host Game 3 and Game 4 of the series, with unvaccinated players unable to enter Canada, which means Matisse Thybulle will not travel with the 76ers.
Poole stars again for the Warriors
After scoring a team-high 30 points in Game 1 against the Denver Nuggets, Jordan Poole was at it again in the Golden State Warriors' 126-106 win in Game 2.
While he did not top-score this time around, Poole was arguably the Warriors' best player through the first three quarters, racking up 27 of his 29 points up to three-quarter time as his side led 101-81 heading into the last.
Poole has emerged as the third "Splash Brother" this postseason, with the original two also enjoying big games on Monday, as Stephen Curry scored a game-high 34 points in 23 minutes off the bench, while Klay Thompson chipped in with 21.
For Denver, MVP favorite Nikola Jokić was ejected in the fourth quarter for his second technical foul after accumulating 26 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists in 28 minutes.
Cover photo: Collage: USA TODAY Sports