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NBA: Boston and Dallas rely on their star duos to win

Tatum scored 33 points and Brown 28 for the Celtics, who won 106-93 on the Cavaliers floor.

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NBA: Boston and Dallas rely on their star duos to win

Tatum scored 33 points and Brown 28 for the Celtics, who won 106-93 on the Cavaliers floor. Boston, seeded N.1 in the East, was surprised by Cleveland at home during the second match but the team coached by Joe Mazzulla now leads 2-1 in this best-of-seven Conference semi-final. The Celtics came out of a very close first quarter with a two-point lead and then never trailed again, increasing their lead to 23 points in the third quarter, which got off to a flying start.

“We just wanted to rebound,” said Tatum, who also grabbed 13 rebounds. “Our backs were against the wall, so it was a good test for us to see how we would react,” the 26-year-old All-Star winger said. “We were ready to take on the challenge,” he said. Opposite, Donovan Mitchell scored 33 points for the Cavaliers, but he appeared to injure his already affected left knee in the fourth quarter.

The Celtics, quite irregular since the start of the play-offs, will try to keep this dynamic on Monday, still in Cleveland. The Mavericks had to work a lot harder to win at home against a very defensive Thunder (105-101) and thus take the lead in this Western Conference semi-final two victories to one.

For Dallas, Irving scored 14 of his 22 points in the final two quarters and Doncic had 22 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. As in the previous encounter, the Slovenian star suffered injuries, including falling flat on his back after a collision with Luguentz Dort, and Doncic revealed he had sprained his right knee late in the match . "We won, that's all that matters," said Doncic, who, when asked what hurt the most - his knee, his back or his sore ankle, answered "everything." A day without travel before Dallas hosts Game 4 on Monday will be welcome, he added.

P.J. Washington led the Mavs with 27 points and Derek Lively, coming off the bench, added 12 to help Dallas hold off a 31-point performance from Thunder star point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Irving, who dished out seven assists and focused early in the game on leading his teammates, said one of the Dallas coaches criticized him for waiting a little late to start scoring. .

But Doncic assured that his contribution had been “incredible”. “He does all that on both sides of the field,” he praised. Thunder coach Mark Daigneault stressed that his young team - seeded N.1 in the West despite an average age of just over 23 - had missed a golden chance in the third quarter to clinch a victory in Dallas. “There are many things we can learn from,” he said.

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