Thursday's NBA playoffs: Suns, 76ers, Mavs advance to second round
New Orleans — Chris Paul went 14 for 14 in the best shooting night in NBA playoff history, Devin Booker returned from a hamstring injury to hit a late 3-pointer and the Phoenix Suns beat the New Orleans Pelicans 115-109 on Thursday night to finish off the first-round series in six games.
Paul had the most field goals without a miss in a playoff game, hit all four of his free throws and had eight assists as the top-seeded Suns overcame a 10-point halftime deficit.
Phoenix will face the Dallas-Utah winner in the second round.
Paul helped put the Suns up for good, at 102-101, on an assist on Deandre Ayton’s dunk with 2:12 left. Ayton had 22 points on 10-of-12 shooting.
The Suns erased the 10-point halftime deficit by making 13 of their first 14 shots in the third quarter to take a 77-74 lead. At that point, Paul was 10 of 10 from the field and Ayton was 6 of 6. Paul had 13 points in the quarter, but New Orleans used an 11-5 run to take an 85-82 lead into the final period.
Booker played for the first time in nine days since injuring his right hamstring after scoring 31 points in the first half of Game 2. He scored 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting and had five rebounds and three assists in 32 minutes.
Brandon Ingram led the Pelicans with 21 points.
Watch the Phoenix Suns players and staff congratulate and embrace former Suns assistant coach, current Pelicans coach and Detroit Native Willie Green:
► Philadelphia 132, (at) Raptors 97: Joel Embiid had 33 points and 10 rebounds, James Harden added 22 points and 15 assists and Philadelphia beat Toronto in Game 6 to end the first-round series.
Philadelphia will face Miami in the second round. The top-seeded Heat beat Atlanta in five games.
Tyrese Maxey scored 25 points, going 5 for 12 from 3-point range, and Tobias Harris had 19 points and 11 rebounds, to help the 76ers finish off the Raptors with a blowout after losing the past two games.
Chris Boucher had 25 points and 10 rebounds for Toronto, Pascal Siakam fouled out with 24 points.
Toronto played without all-star guard Fred VanVleet. He missed his second straight game because of a strained left hip flexor.
► Dallas 98, Utah 96: Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson each scored 24 points and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Utah Jazz 98-96 on Thursday night in Game 6 to wrap up the first-round series.
After Brunson hit a 3-pointer from the corner, Mike Conley was called for traveling with five seconds remaining, and Brunson made one of two free throws with 4.3 seconds to play.
The Jazz got an open look for Bojan Bogdanovic on the left wing, but he came up short and the Mavericks moved on to face top-seeded Phoenix in the second round.
Doncic also had nine rebounds, eight assists, two blocks and two steals. Former Detroit Pistons draft pick Spencer Dinwiddie added 19 points, and Dorian Finney-Smith had 18.
Donovan Mitchell had 23 points, nine assists and eight rebounds for Utah, Bogdanovic finished with 19 points.
The Mavericks won in the first round for the first time since since winning the 2011 NBA championship.
Finney-Smith’s 3-pointer gave the Mavericks their largest lead at 88-80 before the Jazz scored eight straight — many coming off hustle plays as Utah played with desperation — culminating with a Mitchell-to-Gobert dunk.
The Mavericks found their range in the third quarter as they Jazz tried multiple defenses but somehow seemed to consistently leave someone alone behind the arc. Doncic had 10 points and Dallas made 8 of 12 from 3-point range to outscore Utah 36-19 in the third quarter.