Tuesday's NBA: Grizzlies tie Warriors on Morant's 47 points; Celtics beat Bucks
Memphis, Tenn. — Ja Morant scored 47 points to match his postseason high and carry the Memphis Grizzlies into a tie in the Western Conference semifinals with a 106-101 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night.
Morant scored the last 15 points for Memphis, starting with 4:16 left. He drove and turned around a defender before hitting a 7-foot jumper with 1:42 left to put Memphis ahead to stay at 100-99. He added four free throws and a 9-footer finishing with 18 in the fourth quarter.
The NBA’s Most Improved Player, who also had 47 in Game 2 against Utah last year, became only the third player in league history to have multiple 45-point games in the postseason before turning 23. The other two? LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.
Now the youngest team to reach the semifinal round in the last 25 years heads to San Francisco for Game 3 on Saturday night knowing the series will return to Memphis for Game 5.
Stephen Curry finished with 27 points on 3-of-11 shooting outside the arc. Jordan Poole added 20 off the bench but was 1 of 6 from 3. Andrew Wiggins had 16, going 1 of 7 from 3. Klay Thompson finished with 12 points and was 2 of 12 from 3. The Warriors shot just 7 of 38 from 3-point range.
(At) Boston 109, Milwaukee 86: Jaylen Brown scored 25 of his 30 points in the first half, and Boston beat Milwaukee to even their second-round playoff at one game apiece.
Brown shook off a dismal shooting night in Game 1, going 9 for 10 in the first half, including 5 for 5 from the 3-point line. Jayson Tatum added 19 points and eight assists. Al Horford had 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The series doesn’t resume until Game 3 on Saturday in Milwaukee.
Boston finished 20 of 43 from beyond the arc. The Celtics played without point guard Marcus Smart after he was ruled out before the game with a bruised right thigh he sustained in Game 1. Derrick White took his place in the starting lineup, making his first start in a playoff game since 2019 when he was with San Antonio.
The Celtics clamped down on Giannis Antetokounmpo after his triple-double in the series opener, limiting him to 28 points – mostly in the third quarter – nine rebounds and seven assists. Jrue Holiday added 19 points and seven assists. Bobby Portis chipped in 13 points and eight rebounds.
Heat, Suns can take 2-0 leads
The Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat are top seeds in the NBA playoffs and at the moment they look like it, coming off impressive performances.
Both have a chance to take 2-0 leads in their respective series on Wednesday and are strong favorites to get it done, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
In the Western Conference, the Suns have a 10-game winning streak against the Dallas Mavericks, counting regular season games, going into Game 2. Deandre Ayton scored 25 points, Devin Booker added 23 and Chris Paul had 19 in Game 1 in a balanced and mostly dominant performance.
The Suns were up 21 points in the fourth quarter before a Mavs rally made it a two-possession game in the final minutes. Phoenix held on for a 121-114 win and said the game taught them a valuable lesson.
“Just break the dang gas pedal, that’s it, just break it,” Ayton said, referring to whether Phoenix lost its focus with the big lead.
As for the Mavericks, they need someone to help Luka Doncic, who scored 45 points, had 12 rebounds and eight assists in Game 1. Coach Jason Kidd said others need “to join the party” if Dallas is going to make this a competitive series.
“We have been here before,” Dallas forward Dorian Finney-Smith said. “Don’t overreact. We have to go back to the drawing board. We know how they are playing us now so we have to make our adjustment.”
In the Eastern Conference, the 76ers used plenty of lineups against the Heat in Game 1, and will continue to seek the right mix without league scoring champion and NBA MVP finalist Joel Embiid – who will miss Game 2 with an orbital fracture and concussion.
Miami won Game 1 106-92.
Going small worked at times for Philadelphia. When Miami figured out the counter, the game got away from the 76ers. But there were some elements that worked.
“The biggest adjustment for us is taking care of the darn ball,” Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers said Tuesday. “That’s being organized, being in the right spots, running your offense correctly. … To get in the game and let that pressure take us out of that, it’s not disheartening but really troubling.”
And a Game 1 loss certainly didn’t hurt Philadelphia’s confidence. Backup center Paul Reed made that clear after the game.
“Honestly, I think we can definitely beat this team,” Reed said. “I think we go out there, be more physical than them and play more aggressive and keep them on their heels, they’re going to fold.”