NBA playoffs return | Sports

The NBA playoffs resumed over the weekend after a historic stoppage that players hope will bring change in their communities.

Teams hadn’t played since Tuesday after players decided not to take the court to show their frustration over the police shooting in Kenosha, Wis., of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, along with other acts of racial injustice.

On Saturday and Sunday, it was back to the court.

Kawhi Leonard had 33 points and 14 rebounds and Los Angeles eliminated Luka Doncic and Dallas from the playoffs in Game 6 of the first-round series Sunday.

Doncic capped a superb first postseason with 38 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, keeping it interesting into the fourth quarter even while playing without injured teammate Kristaps Porzingis.

But with Leonard reaching the 30-point mark for his career-best fifth straight playoff game and a strong defensive effort, the Clippers simply had too many answers.

The No. 2 seed in the Western Conference advanced to a second-round meeting with either Denver or Utah. The sixth-seededJazz were trying to close that series out in six games later Sunday.

Paul George and Ivica Zubac added 15 points apiece for the Clippers, who turned up their defense in this one after winning Game 5 with the best offensive performance in their postseason.

Leonard also had seven assists and five steals. The Clippers said he was the first player in at least the last 20 postseasons with 30 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and five steals in a game.

The Jamal Murray-Donovan Mitchell duel will be settled in the first Game 7 in the bubble.

Murray extended his torrid run with 50 more points, leading the Denver Nuggets to a 119-107 victory over the Utah Jazz.

Murray had his second 50-point game of the series to equal Mitchell, who finished with 44 in this one. No player has ever had more in an entire postseason.

They will go at it one more time Tuesday night, with the winner advancing to face the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Clippers finished off the Dallas Mavericks in six games on the same court a few hours earlier.

Denver is trying to become the 12th team to rally from a 3-1 deficit to win a series and the first since 2016, when the Cleveland Cavaliers completed the only one of those comebacks that came in the NBA Finals.

The Nuggets won the opener, but the Jazz won the next three games and were in good shape to finish it in Game 5, holding a 15-point lead in the third quarter.

Murray led the charge back in that game, finishing with 42 points, and then was a sizzling 17 of 24 in Game 6, going 9 for 12 from behind the 3-point arc.

Mitchell also hit nine 3-pointers and increased what was the NBA’s top-scoring average in these playoffs at 37.6 points per game.

Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart each scored 21 points, Kemba Walker added 18 points and 10 assists and Boston beat Toronto in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

The Celtics improved to 4-1 against the Raptors this season — no other team has beaten the reigning NBA champions more than twice — and both of their meetings in the NBA’s restart bubble at Walt Disney World have been one-sided. The Raptors are 11-0 at Disney against everybody else.

Jaylen Brown scored 17 points and Daniel Theis had 13 points and 15 rebounds for Boston, 5-0 in the postseason.

Kyle Lowry had 17 points for defending champion Toronto.

LAKERS 131, TRAIL BLAZERS 122

LeBron James had 36 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists and the Los Angeles Lakers advanced to the Western Conference semifinals, beating the short-handed Portland Trail Blazers 131-122 in Game 5 on Saturday night.

Anthony Davis had a playoff-best 43 points for the top-seeded Lakers in their first playoff appearance since 2013.

The Lakers will play the winner of the series between Houston and Oklahoma City.

CJ McCollum had 36 points for the surprisingly scrappy Trail Blazers, who played without injured All-Star guard Damian Lillard. Carmelo Anthony added 27 points.

The game was originally set for Wednesday night, but players collectively decided not to play in the three playoff games scheduled for that day to protest racial injustice following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Games on Friday were also postponed.

Lillard injured his right knee in Game 4 that prompted him to leave the bubble in Florida and return to Portland to see team doctors. Lillard was named MVP of the seeding games heading into the playoffs, averaging 37.6 points and 9.6 assists in eight games.

Trent Jr. took his Lillard’s spot in the opening lineup. But because of injuries the eighth-seeded Blazers had just nine players available for the game. Portland’s lone win in the first-round series came in Game 1.

James Harden scored 31 points and Russell Westbrook returned to face his former team in the playoffs for the first time, helping Houston beat Oklahoma City for a 3-2 series lead.

Robert Covington added 22 points and Eric Gordon had 20. The Rockets can advance to the conference semifinals with a victory Monday.

Westbrook, who had played played just one game since Aug. 4 because of a quadriceps injury — missing the Rockets’ first four playoff games — had seven points, six rebounds and seven assists in 23 minutes.

Dennis Schroder led the Thunder with 19 points despite being ejected midway through the third quarter for hitting P.J. Tucker in the groin; Tucker also was ejected after retaliating with a head-butt.

Steven Adams had 12 points and 14 rebounds, and Darius Bazley had 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Thunder. They trailed by three at halftime before giving up 19 of the first 21 points of the third.

Houston scored 20 of the game’s first 27 points, but the Thunder erased the deficit in the second — taking a brief lead of as many as five points — before the Rockets took a 48-45 lead into the half. Houston outscored the Thunder 37-18 in the third.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 28 points and 17 rebounds and Milwaukee beat Orlando to close out the Eastern Conference series in five games.

The Bucks advanced to face Miami in the second round, beginning Monday.

Chris Middleton added 21 points and 10 rebounds for Milwaukee. The Bucks had a 21-point lead trimmed to three in the fourth quarter before regaining control with the help of timely outside shooting by Marvin Williams.

Williams scored all 12 of his points on 3-pointers, and Brook Lopez added 16 points for Milwaukee, which won four straight after dropping the opener.

Nicola Vucevic had 22 points and 15 rebounds for Orlando. Evan Fournier added 18 points.

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