Monday's NBA playoffs: Doncic scores 33 in Mavs' victory, Celtics sweep Nets

Schuyler Dixon
Associated Press

Dallas — Luka Doncic delighted the crowd in his first home playoff game coming off a calf injury.

Frustrated the Utah Jazz as well.

Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) celebrates after scoring against the Jazz during the second half of Game 5 on Monday in Dallas.

The young Dallas superstar had 33 points and 13 rebounds while also being thrown to the court on a hard foul that led to Hassan Whiteside’s ejection as the Mavericks routed the Jazz 102-77 on Monday night for a 3-2 lead in their first-round series.

Doncic made his series debut in Game 4 at Utah, when the Jazz scored the last five points in the final 31 seconds for a one-point win that evened the series. He never let Game 5 get close.

More: Raptors' Barnes wins NBA Rookie of the Year, Pistons' Cunningham finishes third

“For his second game, it looks like he’s been playing this whole series,” coach Jason Kidd said. “His conditioning, his effort on the defensive end. As we talk about rebounding, he’s one of the best for us and he did that tonight.”

After the first four games were decided by eight points or less, Utah never had a chance after a nearly six-minute scoreless drought in the second quarter that fueled a 22-4 Dallas run on the way to a 52-36 halftime lead.

Game 6 is Thursday night in Salt Lake City, with the Jazz regaining their formidable home-court edge, but facing the long odds of just 18% of teams winning a series after dropping the fifth game when the teams split the first four.

The Mavericks haven’t advanced in the postseason since winning the 2011 championship. Utah is in the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year, but has yet to get past the second round in that stretch.

Jordan Clarkson scored 20 points and Rudy Gobert added 17 points and 11 rebounds in the lowest-scoring game for the Jazz since they lost by 50 at Dallas (118-68) on Nov. 14, 2018. They were 3 of 30 from 3-point range (10%) and shot 38% overall.

Donovan Mitchell, who averaged 30 points in the first four games, scored just nine and missed all seven of his 3-pointers before leaving with a left hamstring injury in the fourth quarter. He will get an MRI on Tuesday.

“They’ve scrambled extremely hard,” said Mitchell, who is shooting 20% from 3-point range after being well over 40% the past two playoff years. “It’s a lot to continuously run teams off the line, and they’ve done a good job of it. They’ve made us uncomfortable.”

Doncic had already matched Utah’s entire output in the third quarter with 19 points when he returned midway through the fourth. Whiteside challenged an attempted dunk and flung Doncic to the court after they got tangled up.

Whiteside was assessed two technical fouls after shoving Dorian Finney-Smith and going nose-to-nose with Reggie Bullock as coaches from both sides frantically tried to keep players separated. Finney-Smith and Bullock also got technicals, and Bullock was ejected because it was his second of the game.

“It was nothing,” Doncic said. “It’s playoffs, man. There’s going to be always attention, but it was nothing. I tried to dunk it. Wasn’t successful. These things happen in the playoffs.”

More games

► Boston 116, (at) Brooklyn 112: Jayson Tatum scored 29 points, Jaylen Brown had 22 and the Boston Celtics completed a four-game sweep of the Brooklyn Nets, becoming the first team to reach the second round of the playoffs with a 116-112 victory Monday night.

Marcus Smart added 20 points and 11 assists for the No. 2-seeded Celtics, who made easy work of what was thought could be a tough series. Boston will wait for the winner of the series between Milwaukee and Chicago. The defending champion Bucks hold a 3-1 lead in that series.

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) greets Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) after winning Game 4 of the first-round playoff series on Monday in New York.

Kevin Durant had 39 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, breaking free after the Celtics had defended him well in the first three games. But he couldn’t get the Nets the win they needed to extend what instead goes down as a massive failure of a season.

Expected to be an NBA Finals contender, the Nets needed a strong finish just to grab the No. 7 seed.

Seth Curry scored 23 points for the Nets. Kyrie Irving, whose unavailability for home games much of the season because he isn’t vaccinated against the coronavirus contributed to the Nets performing so far below expectations, had 20 points.

The Celtics were under .500 at the midpoint of their season but went 31-10 from there, with Tatum emerging as the scoring star on one of the NBA’s best defensive teams.

That defense limited Durant to just 19-for-52 shooting with 17 turnovers through the first three games and made it tough for him, even as he finally got more shots to drop Monday. He was only 13 of 31 from the field, 3 for 11 behind the arc.

► Toronto 103, (at) Philadelphia 88: Pascal Siakam gave a pregame pep talk to keep the Raptors calm in a hostile Philly environment where they already lost twice and fell into a playoff hole.

The message was simple: “Listen to our voices.”

How do they like the sound of this? The resilient Raptors are headed home, still with a chance to pull off a series comeback that’s never happened in the NBA.

Siakam had 23 points and 10 rebounds, Precious Achiuwa scored 17 and the Toronto Raptors forced a return home for Game 6 in their Eastern Conference first-round series against Philadelphia, beating the 76ers 103-88 on Monday night.

“We always kind of figure it out,” Siakam said.

Yo, Canada! Once holding a 3-0 series lead, the 76ers are headed back north.

No team has ever blown a 3-0 advantage and lost a playoff series.

The Raptors have won two straight in the series and jumped all over injured Sixers center Joel Embiid and ineffective James Harden to make Thursday night’s game a necessity.

FanDuel Sportsbook has the Sixers favored by 11/2 points for Game 6.

Embiid had 20 points and 11 rebounds playing with a thumb injury. Harden scored 15 points on 4-of-11 shooting.

Rapper and famous 76ers fan Meek Mill pulled his hood over his head and walked off from his courtside seat late in the game and the home team down 14.

Sixers coach Doc Rivers is dragging the weight of ignominious NBA history with him through customs. Rivers, who led Boston to the 2008 championship, is the only coach in NBA history to blow three 3-1 series leads. The Magic lost to Detroit in the 2003 Eastern Conference first round; the 2015 Clippers blew the series to Houston in the Western Conference semifinals; and in 2020, the Clippers lost to Denver in the West semifinals.

The next season, Rivers was in Philly – and the Sixers lost three games at home as the No. 1 seed and were eliminated in the second round.

The nerves in Philly are suddenly as tight as the rims.

“We never brought the fight to them at the beginning of the game, really,” 76ers forward and former Piston Tobias Harris said.

Embiid fined $15,000

Philadelphia center Joel Embiid has been fined $15,000 for criticizing the officiating in Game 4 of the 76ers' first-round playoff series against Toronto, the NBA announced Monday.

Embiid made his remarks to reporters after a 110-102 loss on Saturday at Scotiabank Arena.

For the first time in the series, the Raptors shot more free throws than the 76ers. Toronto went 28 for 35 at the line, while Philadelphia was 21 for 25 as the Raptors avoided a four-game sweep.

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid reacts after making a basket during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Toronto Raptors, Monday, April 18, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

“I’m going to take my own advice and not complain about it," Embiid said. "If they want to give fouls or want to call really no fouls, we’ve got to really make them earn it and really be physical.”

Embiid, suffering from an injured thumb on his right (shooting) hand, wore a brace and finished 7 for 16 for 21 points in 39 minutes.

Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins also was fined $15,000 on Monday for criticizing the officiating in Saturday's Game 4 of the Grizzlies’ series against the Minnesota Timberwolves.