James Harden had 34 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his first post-season triple-double with Brooklyn, leading the Nets into the Eastern Conference semi-finals with a 123-109 victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night in Game 5.
Kyrie Irving scored 25 points and Kevin Durant had 24 for the Nets, who will face the Milwaukee Bucks in their first appearance in the second round since 2014. The No. 2-seeded Nets will host Game 1 on Saturday.
Jayson Tatum had 32 points and nine rebounds for the Celtics, who made the Eastern Conference finals last year but went quickly with Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker unavailable.
Evan Fournier added 18 points and Romeo Langford had 17 starting in place of Walker, who missed his second straight game with a knee injury.
NUGGETS 147, TRAIL BLAZERS 140, 2OT
DENVER (AP) – Michael Porter Jr.’s 3-pointer with 1:33 left in the second overtime helped Denver squelch an epic comeback by Portland Game 5 of the playoff series.
The Nuggets won despite Damian Lillard’s franchise playoff record 55 points and NBA playoff record 12 3-pointers.
Lillard scored 17 of Portland’s 19 points in the two overtimes, but he didn’t score again after his 12th 3-pointer in 17 attempts put the Blazers ahead 140-138 with 3:47 left. And his teammates didn’t score again, either.
Nikola Jokic scored 38 points and came one assist shy of a triple-double.
The series shifts to Portland for Game 6 on Thursday night with Denver leading 3-2.
Monte Morris scored 28 points off the bench and hit a pair of free throws with 8.8 seconds to seal it for Denver. Shaq Harrison added two free throws with 3.8 seconds remaining.
Lillard broke his own franchise scoring record, a 50-point outburst against Oklahoma City on April 23, 2019.
SUNS 115, LAKERS 85
PHOENIX (AP) – Devin Booker scored 30 points after two quiet games and Phoenix sent LeBron James to the locker-room early, dismantling Los Angeles to take a 3-2 first-round series lead.
The Suns won in Los Angeles on Sunday to tie the series and went right at the Anthony Davis-less Lakers in front of a revved-up crowd in Game 5.
The Suns made 14 3-pointers and had just four turnovers against the NBA’s regular-season defensive efficiency leader.
The only bad news: point guard Chris Paul took a shot to his injured right shoulder in the third quarter and did not return.
James scored 17 of his 24 points in the third quarter, but couldn’t rally the listless Lakers. The four-time league MVP sat at the end of the bench by himself in the fourth quarter before heading to the locker-room with about five minutes left.
Game 6 is Thursday in Los Angeles