Sunday's NBA: 76ers, Mavericks pull even in game 4 of conference semifinals

Associated Press

Philadelphia — James Harden scored 31 points, Joel Embiid had 24 points and 11 rebounds and Philadelphia beat Miami in Game 4 to even the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

The Heat won the first two games in Miami with Embiid out with a right orbital fracture and mild concussion. The 76ers won Games 3 and 4 at home with Embiid and his mask in the lineup. Game 5 is Tuesday night in Miami.

Philadelphia 76ers' James Harden reacts during the first half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Miami Heat, Sunday, May 8, 2022, in Philadelphia.

The Heat pecked away at the lead and got within five until Harden sank his fifth 3-pointer of the game with three minutes left. Harden crushed the Heat on catch-and-shoot 3s and hit one clutch shot after another in the fourth.

Jimmy Butler scored 40 points for Miami.

(At) Dallas 111, Phoenix 101: Luka Doncic scored 26 points and the Dallas Mavericks took advantage of foul trouble for Chris Paul to beat the Phoenix Suns 111-101 on Sunday, evening the Western Conference semifinal series at 2-2.

The 37-year-old Paul was out of Game 4 early in the fourth quarter, the period when he often dominated the Mavericks during an 11-game winning streak that ended with consecutive home victories for Dallas. Game 5 is Tuesday night in Phoenix.

Dallas Mavericks' Jalen Brunson (13) and Luka Doncic (77) celebrate late in the second half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns, Sunday, May 8, 2022, in Dallas.

Dorian Finney-Smith scored a playoff career-high 24 points on the most 3-pointers he’s had, regular season or playoffs. He was 8 of 12 from deep, including consecutive 3s for a 14-point lead midway through the fourth.

Dallas matched its 20 3s (20 of 44) from a Mother’s Day rout of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2011, a win that completed on a four-game sweep in the second round on the way to the championship. The Mavericks are playing beyond the first round for the first time since then.

Devin Booker scored 35 points for the Suns, who dropped two straight on road with a 2-0 lead just as they did in last year’s NBA Finals. Milwaukee won the last four to take the title. Top-seeded Phoenix lost consecutive games for the first time in the playoffs.

Injured Grizzlies star Ja Morant unlikely to play in Game 4

San Francisco — Memphis guard Ja Morant is unlikely to play in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals against Golden State on Monday night after injuring his right knee on a play with Jordan Poole that the teams are debating from the Grizzlies' 142-112 loss Saturday night.

Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said Sunday he doesn't expect Morant to be available with Memphis trailing the Warriors 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

“As I said last night, just trying to be matter of fact here, and this is what Ja says, what our medical team has said after reviewing the play, Ja was playing great, feeling great all game and that the grab of the knee is what triggered the potential injury and why we took Ja out of the game. Nothing's changed from there," Jenkins said. "That's the play that triggered this and he's got further evaluation going on. ... There’s probably a really good chance he doesn’t play tomorrow.”

Morant, who limped off with 6:19 remaining in the game, was unable to do any basketball activity Sunday, Jenkins said.

Golden State Warriors' Jordan Poole, left, and Andrew Wiggins defends against Memphis Grizzlies' Ja Morant during the fourth quarter in Game 3 of NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference semifinal in San Francisco on Saturday, May 7, 2022.

Morant left Chase Center without speaking to reporters but posted and later deleted a video of the play on his Twitter feed with the words “broke the code,” a reference Warriors coach Steve Kerr had used four days earlier when Dillon Brooks’ hard foul in Game 2 sidelined Gary Payton II.

Poole and Andrew Wiggins swarmed Morant as he dribbled at the top of the 3-point arc when Morant struggled to keep possession — and Poole called it a basketball play with him going for the ball.

Kings hire Mike Brown as new coach

The Sacramento Kings have agreed to hire Golden State assistant Mike Brown as their head coach.

A person familiar with the decision confirmed on Sunday that Brown will take over the franchise with the longest playoff drought in NBA history. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team hadn't announced the hiring.

ESPN first reported that Brown would get the job. Brown previously had two stints as head coach in Cleveland where he guided the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals in 2007 and had one stint as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Brown is expected to remain with the Warriors for the rest of their playoff run before making the short move to Sacramento where he will be the latest former Golden State coach to take over the Kings.

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive took over the franchise in 2013 after being a minority owner with the Warriors and immediately hired Michael Malone off Golden State's staff as his first head coach.

Ranadive then hired former Warriors assistant Luke Walton has head coach in 2019 and promoted former Warriors assistant Alvin Gentry to interim coach after Walton was fired last November.

None of the moves have led to success for the NBA's worst-performing franchise of the past 16 years.

The Kings have failed to make the playoffs in each of those seasons, setting the record for the longest drought in NBA history. They went 30-52 this past season under Walton and Gentry with their .366 winning percentage their worst since the 2017-18 season.

Since moving to Sacramento in 1985, the Kings have had only one stretch of success, making the playoffs in all eight seasons under coach Rick Adelman from 1999-2006. Adelman was fired in 2006 and remains the only coach in the Sacramento era to post a winning record in any season.

Brown comes with a strong pedigree, having worked as an assistant under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio and Steve Kerr in Golden State.

He got his first head coaching job in Cleveland in 2005. He helped LeBron James and the Cavaliers make the Finals in his second season before getting swept by the Spurs. He was fired in 2010 after winning 127 games the previous two years but failing to get back to the Finals.

After a year off, Brown replaced Phil Jackson with the Lakers and didn't have nearly the success he had in Cleveland. The Lakers went 41-25 in his first season and he was fired after starting the next season 1-4.

Brown returned to Cleveland the following season and went 33-49 before getting fired again after one season.

Brown was then hired in July 2016 by the Warriors to take over as lead assistant after Walton left to take over as head coach of the Lakers.

Brown takes over a team that allowed the second most points in the NBA despite getting a lift on that end of the court from rookie Davion Mitchell.

Point guard De’Aaron Fox was in and out of the lineup, missing 23 games with a variety of injuries. Two-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis arrived in a deadline deal by general manager Monte McNair. Sabonis made a big splash in Sacramento before sitting out the final nine games with a knee injury.

Although McNair has brought some order to the front office, he still hasn't been able to build a roster capable of contending for a playoff spot.