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Updated Tuesday, May 28, 2024 at 2:30 a.m. ET

When Boston Celtics legend Cedric Maxwell read off Jaylen Brown's name as the winner of the Larry Bird Trophy as Eastern Conference finals MVP, no one seemed more surprised than Brown himself. "I wasn't expecting it at all," Brown said, with the trophy sitting next to him at the podium after Boston's series-ending 105-102 Game 4 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night, before adding with a broad smile, "I don't never win s---." But it was Brown who made a pair of plays in the final 65 seconds -- first blocking Andrew Nembhard's drive to the rim, then getting into the lane and kicking the ball out to Derrick White for what became the winning 3-pointer with 41 seconds to go, a shot that put Boston ahead for the first time since the opening possession of the second half -- that allowed the Celtics to escape from this series with a sweep and return to the NBA Finals for a second time in three years. - ESPN.com

The Pacers, playing for a second straight game without All-NBA guard Tyrese Haliburton, certainly gave Boston all it could handle. After leading the Celtics by as many as 18 points in the second half of Saturday night's Game 3 before Boston stormed back and won in the dying seconds, Indiana took the lead in the second half Monday on a Myles Turner 3-pointer to open the third quarter and never trailed again until White's corner 3 fell. - ESPN.com

Basketball legend Bill Walton, who led the UCLA Bruins to two national titles before winning two championships during his NBA career, has died at the age of 71 after a prolonged battle with cancer. Walton died Monday while surrounded by his loved ones, his family said in a statement released by the NBA. "Bill Walton was truly one of a kind," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. He was the NBA's MVP in the 1977-78 season and a member of the league's 50th and 75th anniversary teams. That all followed a college career in which he was a two-time champion at UCLA and a three-time national player of the year under iconic coach John Wooden. - ESPN.com


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Add in Indiana's 16 turnovers and it became a comfortable victory for Boston. Pacers coach Rick Carlisle played his bench players for most of the fourth quarter as the partisan fans at TD Garden were relieved. "Just continue to lock in," said Jrue Holiday, who had 15 points and 10 assists with just one turnover in 37 minutes. "We know that these guys coming off the bench, second and third string, this is their chance to make anything happen. ... We know on the big stage anything can happen and guys can make plays, so we really wanted to set the tone and control the game toward the end of the game." Before Haliburton's injury in the third quarter, it appeared a Celtics injury would be the most significant. Luke Kornet, who has served as Boston's primary backup center with Kristaps Porzingis sidelined, left in the first quarter with a left wrist sprain. That forced Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla to go with small lineups whenever Al Horford was off the court. For a brief stretch at the end of the first half and another in the fourth, those groups featured Jayson Tatum at center. Most of the time, however, it was reserve forward Oshae Brissett -- who had five appearances with five or fewer minutes through the first 11 games of the playoffs -- operating at center. - ESPN.com

Indiana Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton left in the third quarter of Thursday night's 126-110 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals and did not return because of a sore left hamstring. Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said Haliburton aggravated an injury he suffered earlier in the season and that the team would know more about his status Friday. Indiana trails 2-0 in the series, with Game 3 on Saturday in Indianapolis. "He was sore at halftime," Carlisle said after the game. "He was getting work done for the entirety of halftime. He came out, gave it a shot and all the effort that he could. I haven't talked about it directly to him, so I can't read minds, but it wasn't going well. The trainers determined he had to be brought to the back to be worked on, and then he was ruled out." - ESPN.com

The Detroit Pistons are planning to hire New Orleans Pelicans general manager Trajan Langdon as the franchise's new president of basketball operations, and sides are beginning work on a deal expected to be completed soon, sources told ESPN on Thursday. Pistons owner Tom Gores is hiring Langdon with sweeping power to make changes to the organization and set a course for the franchise's future after a league-worst 14 victories and several consecutive years in the draft lottery, sources said. - ESPN.com

There were two words that Minnesota Timberwolves coach Chris Finch used to describe what cost his team in its 108-105 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals Wednesday. "No composure," Finch said. The Wolves committed five of their 10 turnovers as a team in the final frame, when the Mavs outscored them 10-3 in the final 3 minutes, 37 seconds to erase what was a four-point lead for Minnesota. "We haven't really closed quarters very well, closed halves very well over the last handful of games," Finch continued. "It cost us a game in the Denver series. It certainly had an impact on this game tonight, too. We've got to be better in clutch moments." - ESPN.com

Luka Doncic enjoyed the luxury of being paired with another superstar for most of the Wednesday's Western Conference finals opener. He struggled by his perennial first-team All-NBA standards for the first 36 minutes, but his Dallas Mavericks remained within striking distance of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Irving scored 24 of his 30 points in the first half to buy Doncic time to find his rhythm. Doncic came through as the closer for the Mavs, scoring 15 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter as Dallas came back to pull off a 108-105 Game 1 win. "I just said to myself, 'We got to win this game. I gotta be way better,'" Doncic said. "Because three quarters, I didn't play good. So I just came into the fourth, got to my spots and lead the team to win." - ESPN.com

Doncic, who has been dealing with a sprained right knee since the first round and is being guarded by second-team All-Defensive selection Jaden McDaniels, misfired on 12 of his first 19 shots from the floor before knocking down a series of tough jumpers in the fourth quarter. Doncic went on an individual 7-0 run early in the quarter to give the Mavs the lead, hitting a couple of midrange shots over the 6-foot-10 McDaniels after snaking on pick-and-rolls and capping the run with a step-back 3 over Nickeil Alexander-Walker. - ESPN.com

The Indiana Pacers walked away from Game 1's 133-128 overtime loss to the Boston Celtics knowing they missed an opportunity to steal home court to open the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night. With 22 turnovers, including two costly miscues in the final 27 seconds, the Pacers let victory slip away despite leading by three points with the ball in the final 10 seconds of regulation. "We gave it away," Pacers forward Aaron Nesmith said. "We should've won the game." - ESPN.com

The Pacers had a 3-point lead with 27.1 seconds remaining in regulation when guard Tyrese Haliburton dribbled the ball off his foot for an unforced turnover. Yet, Indiana got the ball back with a chance to seal the win at the free throw line with 10 seconds left. The only issue was they had to inbound the ball. With 8.1 seconds remaining, an errant inbound pass from Andrew Nembhard to Pascal Siakam sailed out of bounds and gave Boston another chance to tie the score, which Jaylen Brown took advantage of with a 3-pointer in the corner. - ESPN.com

Boston was able to survive a game that saw Jayson Tatum go 2-for-10 from the field in the fourth quarter and overtime before hitting what wound up being the game-clinching buckets on back-to-back possessions -- an and-1 over T.J. McConnell and a 3-pointer from the top of the key -- to put the game away. Tatum ended up with 36 points and was a plus-20 on the night. In addition, Boston had several ugly turnovers late, including one each by Brown and Tatum, while Indiana feasted on getting center Al Horford isolated in switches down the stretch. Both Pacers forward Pascal Siakam and guard Andrew Nembhard repeatedly got clean mid-range jumpers that they knocked down, helping Indiana to a 5-point lead with1:57 remaining in the fourth quarter. At that point, Boston was in trouble, magnified by Tatum missing a couple of shots inside the final 40 seconds. - ESPN.com

There's growing optimism that Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis could make his return to the Eastern Conference playoffs against the Indiana Pacers as soon as Game 4 on Monday, sources told ESPN. Porzingis has been making progress from a soleus strain of his right calf, accelerating his on-court ramp up and increasing his fitness to make his conference finals debut possible once the best-of-seven series returns to Indianapolis, sources said. - ESPN.com

With about 30 seconds left, reality began to set in and Nikola Jokic started to congratulate Minnesota Timberwolves players. In the span of 22 minutes, the Denver Nuggets' quest to repeat as champions disintegrated in stunning fashion. The Nuggets blew a 20-point third-quarter lead on their home floor to lose 98-90 in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals. The way they lost -- squandering a 58-38 lead from the 10:50 mark in the third quarter -- left the reigning champs shell-shocked and incredibly frustrated. It was the largest blown lead in a Game 7 in the past 25 years. "The season's over," a frustrated Michael Malone said in his news conference as Wolves players could be heard roaring in celebration in their locker room next door through the wall. - ESPN.com

The Timberwolves, who trailed by as many as 20 points in the third quarter, stormed back to complete the largest comeback in a Game 7 in the past 25 postseasons to dethrone the defending champion Nuggets. "It shows who we are," Edwards said following the victory. "Once we really lock in on the defensive end, man, we're a hell of a team to beat." Meanwhile, the Nuggets became the fifth consecutive defending NBA champion to fail to reach the conference finals -- and the first team in league history to lead by 15 or more at halftime of a Game 7 and go on to lose. Just as Edwards proclaimed, it was an entire team effort that took Denver down, with six Timberwolves scoring in double digits as compared to just two for the Nuggets. It was needed too, with Edwards struggling through a 6-for-24 shooting night. - ESPN.com

Pretty much all season, even as his team was without its two-time All-NBA forward, its one-time starting center and its do-it-all wing stopper, New York Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau was consistent. "We have enough," he'd often say. "It's just next man up." On Sunday, after his short-handed club fell 130-109 in Game 7 at home against the Indiana Pacers, Thibodeau finally acknowledged what had seemed to be the case for so long. "I thought guys gave everything they had, and that's all you can ask," he said, after giving credit to the Pacers for taking the series. "It was a battle all year, and there was nothing left to give." - ESPN.com

Led by Tyrese Haliburton's 26 points, the Pacers shot 67.1%, the highest field goal percentage in any playoff game in NBA history. With six players reaching double digits in scoring, Indiana became the first team to have five players with more than 15 points in a Game 7 since 1987. The Pacers now lead the all-time playoff series against the Knicks 5-3. The storied playoff history between these two teams combined with the Game 7 atmosphere in New York raised the stakes -- and the postgame trolling on social media upheld that standard. - ESPN.com

For the second time in three seasons, Luka Doncic has led the Dallas Mavericks to the Western Conference finals. Doncic is surrounded by a drastically different supporting cast in this case, headlined by his co-star, Kyrie Irving. Irving and Doncic combined for 51 points and 13 assists in the 117-116 Game 6 win Saturday, eliminating the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder. As was the case throughout the series, role players in their first season on the Dallas roster made critical contributions as the Mavs came back from a 17-point second-half deficit. - ESPN.com

Forward P.J. Washington, who was acquired at the trade deadline and saved the Mavs with his shooting in a pair of wins earlier in the series, made the winning free throw with 2.5 seconds remaining. Forward Derrick Jones Jr., who arrived on a veterans minimum deal in the summer, scored 22 points and chased Oklahoma City superstar Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on defense. Rookie center Dereck Lively II, the Mavs' prize for tanking the final two games of last year's failure of a regular season, overpowered Oklahoma City off the bench with 12 points and 15 rebounds as Dallas dominated the rebounding battle. - ESPN.com

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis is expected to remain sidelined for Games 1 and 2 of the Eastern Conference finals next week, but there's optimism he'll be able to return sometime in the series -- barring any setbacks, sources told ESPN on Friday. Porzingis has been making progress in his recovery from a soleus strain of his right calf, ramping up his on-court activity for an anticipated return in the conference finals, but still needs more time for a return to play, sources said. - ESPN.com

Clearly affected by a right elbow injury suffered early in Thursday night's game, Denver Nuggets star guard Jamal Murray said he hopes it will improve by Sunday's Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals. Murray hurt the elbow when he ran into a Rudy Gobert screen and shot just 4-for-18, finishing with 10 points in a 115-70 blowout to the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. - ESPN.com

Anthony Edwards scored 27 points to pull the Minnesota Timberwolves out of their mid-series slump and deliver a flawless 115-70 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night to force a Game 7 in this roller-coaster playoff matchup. The 45-point win is the largest ever against a defending champion in playoff history, and the second-largest when facing elimination in NBA history, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Denver trailed by as many as 50 points, their largest deficit in any game over the past 25 seasons (regular season and playoffs). Jaden McDaniels pitched in 21 points and lockdown defense, and Mike Conley had 13 points in his return from injury. Big men Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns and Naz Reid combined for 38 rebounds and a relentless effort to keep NBA MVP Nikola Jokic to a relatively quiet 22 points. - ESPN.com

With Victor Wembanyama as the focal point, France coach Vincent Collet announced an extended list of 19 players Thursday for his preliminary roster for the Paris 2024 Olympics. Fresh off winning the NBA Rookie of the Year award, the 7-foot-3 Wembanyama will bolster France's medal aspirations alongside key players such as Rudy Gobert, Nicolas Batum, and Evan Fournier. - AP via ESPN.com

After Cleveland saw its season end in a 113-98 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Wednesday night, Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said he wants to continue being the team's head coach. "Yeah," Bickerstaff said when asked that during his postgame news conference. "We have continued to build this thing the right way. Every single year we've improved, continued to get better, play-in, playoffs, win a round ... players have gotten better. Guys have had great years. "This is definitely a place I want to be." When Bickerstaff was later asked if it was a place he expects to be, he laughed and said, "I mean, no one's told me I'm not. "So, I'll keep showing up 'til they tell me not to." - ESPN.com

Led by 25 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists from Jayson Tatum, plus a motivational performance from the team's oldest player, Al Horford, Boston escaped with a 113-98 victory -- and, with it, a trip to the Eastern Conference finals for the third straight season, and the sixth time in the past eight years. "Close-out games are tough. It's a level of stress, anxiety, desperation; it takes what it takes," Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said. "You got to play 48 -- hopefully, maybe more at times. "And at the end of the day, you just got to keep going ... continue to chip away at the things you can control." Boston now awaits the winner of the other Eastern Conference semifinal between the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers, which New York leads 3-2 heading into Friday's Game 6 in Indianapolis, with the conference finals set to begin at TD Garden either Sunday afternoon or Tuesday night. - ESPN.com

Anthony Edwards pulled a baseball cap over his head after the worst night of his young postseason career -- a 5-for-15 showing in a 112-97 loss in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals Tuesday night that left his Minnesota Timberwolves on the brink of elimination -- and had one last bit of banter with a member of the Denver Nuggets before making his exit. This time, the Wolves' 22-year-old star was engaging a Nuggets locker room attendant, bringing up a conversation the two had after Game 2, when Minnesota had jumped to a seemingly commanding 2-0 series lead. "You jinxed us," Edwards said with a sly smile. "I liked our chances," the locker room attendant chirped back. "What do you expect me to say, Ant?" - ESPN.com

Nikola Jokic received his third Most Valuable Player trophy from NBA commissioner Adam Silver then celebrated by dominating Rudy Gobert and the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Denver Nuggets superstar exploded for 40 points, 13 assists and 7 rebounds with no turnovers to lead Denver to a 112-97 victory Tuesday night in Game 5 at a raucous Ball Arena. Denver now leads 3-2 in the Western Conference semifinal series and can advance to the conference finals with a win in Game 6 on Thursday in Minneapolis. - ESPN.com

Jalen Brunson shook off an awful Game 4 showing to again star for the Knicks, notching 44 points and seven assists. It marked his fifth time scoring at least 40 in the postseason, giving him the most such performances in a single postseason since LeBron James had eight back in 2018. The outburst was notable in part because of how the Pacers opted to defend Brunson. They sent a whopping 28 double-teams at the guard over the course of Game 5 -- eight more than Indiana had used against him in the first four contests combined. The strategy, helpful in Game 4 when the Knicks started two big men, wasn't effective Tuesday because of the amount of space Brunson and the Knicks had to work with as a result of McBride's addition to the starting five. McBride set 23 on-ball screens -- nearly triple his prior career high, according to Second Spectrum data. - ESPN.com

Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 34 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals. He scored 10 points and dished out 4 assists in the fourth quarter, taking over the game with a series of midrange jumpers off isolations then feeding his teammates for the game's biggest shots when Dallas' defense collapsed on him. "There's some points in the game I'm doing the same thing you guys are doing -- just kind of being a fan of what he's doing and, when some of those shots go in, just kind of making a face like, 'That's crazy,'" said Thunder center Chet Holmgren, who tallied 18 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks. "But he's been doing it all year. I've seen him do it since I got here, and that's just who he is. Tough-shot maker, but he does a lot more out there for us than just that." Gilgeous-Alexander scored on four consecutive Oklahoma City possessions in the fourth, beginning with a driving floater with 5:59 remaining. - ESPN.com

[Donovan] Mitchell hurt his calf late in the fourth quarter of Game 3, at the end of a stint that saw him play over 22 consecutive minutes in the second half. After not being present at all during the team's shootaround Monday morning at its practice facility, he was officially ruled out roughly an hour before tip Monday evening. That Mitchell's absence came after yet another brilliant performance, in which he scored 33 points to go over 25 for a sixth straight game in these playoffs, only added to the disappointment. But then Cleveland -- with LeBron James sitting courtside across from Boston's bench alongside his wife, Savannah, and agent, Rich Paul -- got out to an early 8-2 lead over the opening two minutes of the game behind a couple of quick triples from Max Strus, part of Cleveland's 6-for-7 start from behind the arc. - ESPN.com

LeBron James sat courtside like a fan in an arena he made famous. His postseason over for weeks, James was back home in Ohio and watched Monday night's playoff game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics, an appearance certain to drive conversation about the superstar's future. James, who can opt out of his contact with the Los Angeles Lakers and become a free agent this summer, arrived in Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse just as Game 4 began. He took a seat across from Boston's bench next to his wife, Savannah, and agent Rich Paul. - ESPN.com

Knicks center Mitchell Robinson had surgery on his left ankle Monday, his second procedure on the ankle this season, league sources told ESPN. Robinson was already deemed to be out for the rest of the playoffs after imaging found a stress reaction following Game 1 of the Knicks' series against the Indiana Pacers last week. After consultation with doctors, it was decided he needed the procedure. He will be re-evaluated in 6-8 weeks. - ESPN.com

Nikola Jokic burned a double-team by finding Kentavious Caldwell-Pope open for a 3 then notched a steal and hit a streaking Michael Porter Jr. for a fastbreak dunk before Jamal Murray collected another steal and swished a 55-foot heave from the Target Center logo beyond the half-court line at the buzzer. In the span of 20 dizzying seconds, the Denver Nuggets scored eight points to sprint into halftime of Game 4 up by 15. The flurry left the Minnesota Timberwolves and the crowd stunned while propelling Denver to a 115-107 win to even the Western Conference semifinal series at 2-2. The Nuggets left Denver on Thursday down 2-0 and feeling as if many had counted them out against the upstart Wolves. The Nuggets return to Colorado having reclaimed their championship swagger back and with home-court advantage back in their pocket. - ESPN.com

Blowing out a visiting team in a playoff game is commonplace. What mattered more in the wake of the Indiana Pacers' 121-89 lopsided defeat of the New York Knicks in Sunday's game is whether it was an aberration or a tipping point. The Pacers' game plan has become clear over their weekend sweep to even the second-round series 2-2: Do everything in their power to wear out the wounded and weary Knicks with giant emphasis on Jalen Brunson. That has meant pressuring him as soon as he gets the ball, no matter where it is on the court. It has meant putting a bigger and more rugged defender, Aaron Nesmith, on him and challenging the referees by playing Brunson with much more physically. And it has meant using their depth advantage to play at speed, trying to run the Knicks to exhaustion. - ESPN.com

The Atlanta Hawks rocketed up the board to grab the No. 1 pick in this year's NBA draft, winning the lottery for the first time in franchise history. The Hawks, 36-46 this season for a 10th-place finish in the Eastern Conference, had just a 3% chance to win the lottery, the fifth-lowest odds by a team to win the No. 1 pick since the lottery began in 1985. The Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs rounded out the top four. The Detroit Pistons, owners of the league's worst record this year, fell to No. 5. It's the second consecutive season the Pistons have had the worst record but fell to the fifth pick. - ESPN.com

Over the past three seasons, Boston is 14-14 in 28 home playoff games, the most played over a three-year span without posting a winning record in NBA history, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. However, in those three seasons, the Celtics reached the NBA Finals in 2022 and the conference finals last season, and they are favored to make a deep playoff run this year largely because they've gone 17-7 on the road. After a lackadaisical effort in their Game 2 loss, one that included what Brown called an "unacceptable" defensive performance, the Celtics ratcheted things up at both ends on Saturday to ensure another road victory -- their fifth straight in the postseason, dating back to last year's playoffs. Tatum and Brown led the effort, combining to score 61 points -- 33 for Tatum and 28 for Brown -- as the Celtics shot 51% from the field and went 13-for-34 (38.2%) from 3-point range. - ESPN.com

But the Mavs' 105-101 win, giving Dallas the series lead, helped ease the MVP finalist's pain. Doncic contributed more to the gritty facets of the game than the glamorous aspects. He had an off shooting night, finishing with 22 points on 7-of-17 shooting, but grabbed 15 rebounds as the Mavs got the upper hand on the glass. Doncic had the luxury of deferring to co-star Kyrie Irving with the game on the line. Irving, who scored eight of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, delivered the dagger by driving past Thunder forward Jalen Williams and hitting a southpaw floater over center Chet Holmgren with 39 seconds remaining. - ESPN.com

"He's amazing," Doncic said of Irving. "He's trying to facilitate for everybody too, so he's doing it all on both ends on the floor. We appreciate having him." Mavs forward P.J. Washington, one of two Dallas starters acquired at the trade deadline, played a starring role in a win for the second consecutive game. Washington led Dallas with 27 points on 11-of-23 shooting, including 5-of-12 from 3-point range. - ESPN.com

The NBA fined Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle $35,000 on Friday for criticizing the officiating in his team's playoff series with the New York Knicks -- comments that also drew the ire of guard Josh Hart. "Rick's saying whatever he feels. It has nothing to do with us at the end of the day. I think it's pretty disrespectful to us," Hart said after shootaround Friday morning. "Because at the end of the day, we're out there playing and competing at a high level. It's not about officiating. It's not about anything like that." - ESPN.com

Luka Doncic cracked a relieved grin and raised his hands as he glanced toward the rafters when his first shot splashed through the net early in Thursday's Game 2, as if the Dallas Mavericks star was thanking the basketball gods. The soreness in Doncic's sprained right knee was still there, but his shooting slump had suddenly disappeared. A sizzling start by Doncic set the tone for the Mavs' series-tying 119-110 win over the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder. He made his first four shots from the floor en route to scoring 16 of his 29 points in the first quarter. "It was just my mentality," said Doncic, who also recorded 10 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and a blocked shot. "I think today was one of the hardest game I had to play. I'm battling out there. I try and do my best to help [the] team win with just my mentality. Have a great start, and then the team's going to follow me." - ESPN.com

In the opening minute of the fourth quarter Thursday night, Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell came off a screen at the top of the key and fired up a 3-pointer. After the shot, which appeared offline as it left his hand, ricocheted off the backboard and through the net, Mitchell could simply shrug as he backpedaled down the court. It was the same reaction many inside TD Garden had for this one, as Cleveland -- fresh off a 25-point loss in Game 1 -- responded with a stellar second half in Game 2 against the Boston Celtics, cruising to a 118-94 victory and evening this Eastern Conference semifinal series at a game apiece. With it, 12.5-point underdog Cleveland pulled off the biggest playoff victory by a double-digit underdog since 1991, nearly doubling the prior largest winning margin, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. - ESPN.com

Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic continued to add to his legacy as one of the best NBA players ever by winning his third Most Valuable Player trophy on Wednesday. Jokic earned the award for the third time in four seasons, succeeding last season's MVP, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid. Jokic topped Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks, who finished second and third, respectively, in the voting. - ESPN.com

Jokic's third MVP victory wasn't close. He garnered 79 first-place votes and a total of 926 points. Gilgeous-Alexander received 15 first-place votes and 640 points. Doncic claimed four first-place votes and 566 points. The Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo finished fourth, and New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson was fifth in voting. - ESPN.com

New York's victory came with a cost as the series shifts to Indianapolis for Games 3 and 4. Star defender OG Anunoby, who had a playoff career-high 28 points in his 28 minutes of work, hobbled to the locker room in the third period and didn't return after injuring his left hamstring. Thibodeau said he'd yet to speak with the team's medical staff to get a sense about the seriousness of Anunoby's injury. The Knicks' health struggles provided openings for Indiana, and the Pacers initially took advantage of New York's inability to generate offense without Brunson. Powered by Tyrese Haliburton's bounce-back performance after a sluggish Game 1 and TJ McConnell's sound playmaking, Indiana dominated the final 15 minutes of the first half, going on a crowd-quieting 56-39 run during Brunson's time in the locker room. The Pacers led 73-63 at the half. But then, 54 years to the day that Willis Reed electrified the Garden by hobbling out of the tunnel just before Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals, Brunson tested out the foot. Doing so prompted the roar heard all the way back inside the Knicks' locker room. - ESPN.com

Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert owns a piece of an NBA record after winning the league's Defensive Player of the Year award on Tuesday for the fourth time. Gobert, 31, also won the honor in 2018, 2019 and 2021 with the Utah Jazz and joins Hall of Fame centers Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace as the only four-time winners. The 7-foot-1 Gobert anchored the Timberwolves' top-ranked defense this season. Minnesota allowed 108.4 points per 100 possessions, 2.2 fewer than the second-ranked Boston Celtics. - ESPN.com

The New York Knicks have likely lost center Mitchell Robinson for the rest of the playoffs with a stress injury to his left ankle, the team announced Tuesday. Robinson had imaging that confirmed the injury after playing just 12 minutes in the Knicks' Game 1 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night. The team said he would be reevaluated in six to eight weeks, which would stretch until nearly the end of the NBA Finals on the front end of that timetable. - ESPN.com

After Derrick White became the fifth player in NBA postseason history to make at least 20 3-pointers over three consecutive games, he was asked if he feels like he's in a rhythm. "I'd say so," White said with a smile after scoring 25 points to lead the Boston Celtics to a 120-95 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series Tuesday night. "It feels good ... I just want to help us win." White certainly did that in Game 1. He continued his shooting barrage to begin these playoffs by going 7-for-12 from deep -- including 4-for-6 in the third quarter, when he scored 14 points -- to improve to 20-for-37 (54%) over Boston's past three playoff games. - ESPN.com

It also played a part in opening up the floor for Jaylen Brown, who finished with 32 points on 12-for-18 shooting to go along with six rebounds, two assists and just a single turnover. Brown and White powered a Boston offense that more or less was able to do what it wanted against a Cavaliers team that was barely 48 hours removed from surviving a rock fight of a Game 7 against the Orlando Magic. - ESPN.com

Nuggets guard Jamal Murray should have been called for a technical foul -- but not ejected -- for throwing a heating pad on the floor during Denver's 106-80 Game 2 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, crew chief Marc Davis said after Monday's contest. With Murray on the bench and Karl-Anthony Towns receiving a pass from Kyle Anderson to put Minnesota up 49-30 with 4:41 remaining in the second quarter, the Nuggets point guard tossed the pad on the floor while live game action ensued. Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope picked up the pad, tossed it to the sidelines and play continued without any whistle from the referees. - ESPN.com

With Defensive Player of the Year front-runner Rudy Gobert unavailable and the defending champion Denver Nuggets needing a win to even their Western Conference semifinals series, the Minnesota Timberwolves put on a masterful defensive performance in a 106-80 Game 2 victory. "We've had some really, really good defensive efforts this year but that has to be right up there with the best of them," Minnesota coach Chris Finch said. "On the ball, off the ball, the physicality, the execution of the game plan. ... Just really locked in on defense." If holding Denver to just 34.9% shooting as a team with forceful defensive rotations and forcing 19 turnovers with a suffocating perimeter presence was Minnesota's substance on Monday, Anthony Edwards' 27 points and 7 assists coming in highlight-reel fashion was the team's style. - ESPN.com

Jalen Brunson's historic scoring run is marching onward as a new opponent feels his wrath. Brunson had yet another brilliant fourth quarter Monday, with relentless basket attacks and masterful shot creation leading to 21 of his 43 points as the New York Knicks clawed out a 121-117 Game 1 victory over the Indiana Pacers. Reminiscent of his late-game flourishes in the previous round against the Philadelphia 76ers, Brunson now has 40 points in four straight playoff games. Added to his six assists, he became the first player in NBA history to have a run of four consecutive 40-point, 5-assist playoff games. "The little things can go a long way," Brunson said. "So yeah, the 40 points are cool and all, but it's the little things that help us win games like that. So I'm just happy I have the group of guys that I do. I just know that we're going to fight every single day. That's all I'm thinking about." - ESPN.com

Victor Wembanyama won the 2023-24 Rookie of the Year award on Monday after having one of the greatest rookie seasons in NBA history. The San Antonio Spurs center averaged 21.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and a league-leading 3.6 blocks per game. - ESPN.com


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