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NBA Playoffs: OKC Thunder and Mavericks even the series 2-2 with a crucial win while the Celtics defeat the Cavaliers 3-1 to take a 3-1 lead

On Monday, the Boston Celtics defeated Cleveland with few resources to seize a 3-1 lead in their NBA playoff series, while Oklahoma City tied their series with Dallas.

With 33 points and 11 rebounds from Jayson Tatum and 27 points from Jaylen Brown, the Celtics took a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Cavaliers, winning 109-102.

On Wednesday, the Celtics will attempt to wrap up the series at home.

Oklahoma City, the top-seeded team in the Western Conference, leads the Mavericks 2-2 going into their final quarter, having defeated them 100-96 in Dallas thanks to a ferocious comeback.

Oklahoma City was down for most of the game against a formidable Dallas defense that resulted in 13 blocked shots.

However, the Thunder rallied in the fourth quarter, and with 4:02 remaining, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s fadeaway jump jump tied the score at 86-86.

The Thunder took a firm lead after a three-pointer from rookie Chet Holmgren.

With 10.1 seconds remaining, Holmgren and Gilgeous-Alexander each scored two free throws, and the Thunder sealed the victory, cutting the Dallas lead to just one point.

Gilgeous-Alexander, who scored 22 of his 34 points in the second half, stated, “We just stuck to it.”

“We simply kept plugging in, winning possession by possession, and eventually the game shifted in our favor.”

The Thunder, who converted 23 of their 24 free throws and survived a triple double of 18 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists from Dallas star Luka Doncic, were led by Holmgren with 18 points and Luguentz Dort with 17.

Star guard Kyrie Irving was restricted to nine points by P.J. Washington, who led Dallas with 21 points.

Doncic said that the Mavs lost because of too many errors in the “small details,” not a defensive collapse.

The fact that Dallas only hit 12 of their 23 free throw attempts and committed 14 turnovers that resulted in 19 Thunder points was deemed “unacceptable” by him.

“A run-based game”

Donovan Mitchell, who had averaged over 35 points per game over the previous six games, was forced to sit out with a calf injury, joining starting center Jarrett Allen on the sidelines. This was a setback for the Cavaliers in Cleveland.

Despite having LeBron James, the NBA player of the year, at courtside and having guided the Cavs to their lone NBA championship in 2016, the Cavs were ultimately without enough firepower without Mitchell.

With a driving basket by Darius Garland early in the third quarter, the Cavaliers maintained their pressure and momentarily had the upper hand.

However, the Celtics promptly took control again, leading by ten points entering the final frame.

After Garland scored 30 points, Cleveland closed the gap to five points three times in the last four minutes, but Brown’s three-pointer with 1:09 remaining, assisted by Tatum, essentially ended the game.

After the Celtics, who seized the lead early with a 12-0 scoring run in the first quarter, battled to put the exhausted Cavaliers away, Tatum said, “It’s a game of runs.”

Nothing is going to be flawless all the time. They will take shots, but it is our responsibility to solve the problem.

Boston had a 13-point lead in the second quarter, but Cleveland had made 11 of their 15 three-pointers in the first half, and they twice closed the gap to one point before trailing by five at the half.

In the second quarter, Brown stumbled into Max Strus from behind and grabbed his ankle, preventing the Cavaliers player—who was having trouble staying upright himself—from being called for a flagrant foul. Brown then walked over Strus’s head.

J.B. Bickerstaff, the coach of Cleveland, expressed more anxiety at Boston’s 24 trips to the free-throw line as opposed to Cleveland’s 7.

He stated, “I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t happy with how the whistle blew tonight.” From that perspective, I don’t believe we had an equal chance at it tonight.

The free-throw disparity was deemed “ridiculous” by Garland.

“I’m not one of those guys wearing striped shirts, but I am aware of how often I and my colleagues get struck and fall to the ground. He said, “And we are unable to respond.

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