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NBA: OKC equalizes at the finish against Dallas, Boston takes off

The Oklahoma City Thunder equalized at 2-2 by winning on the Dallas Mavericks floor 100-96, on the night of Monday to Tuesday during the second round of the NBA play-offs, during an evening which also saw the Boston Celtics take off (3-1) against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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NBA: OKC equalizes at the finish against Dallas, Boston takes off

The Oklahoma City Thunder equalized at 2-2 by winning on the Dallas Mavericks floor 100-96, on the night of Monday to Tuesday during the second round of the NBA play-offs, during an evening which also saw the Boston Celtics take off (3-1) against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

By scoring 60 points between them, Jayson Tatum (33 pts, 11 rebounds) and Jaylen Brown (27 pts) largely contributed to the C's success 109 to 102 against the Cavaliers deprived of their pivot Jarrett Allen but also of their star point guard Donovan Mitchell, injured in the calf.

Under the eyes of their former star LeBron James, with whom they won their only NBA title in 2016, the Cavaliers believed in it until the third quarter, at the start of which they briefly took the advantage, led by Darius Garland (30 pts total).

But the Celtics moved up a gear and Garland's efforts in the last quarter did not allow the Cavs to close the gap, Brown, served by Tatum, sealing Boston's success with a three-point shot to one minute from the buzzer. “It was a game that was decided on runs,” commented Jayson Tatum, admitting that everything was not perfect.

Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff displayed his bitterness towards the referees, as did Darius Garland, who described the difference in free throws granted to the two teams as “grotesque” (24 for Boston, 7 for Cleveland).

The Cavaliers are now condemned to the feat against the undisputed leader of the regular season, starting with match 5 in Boston, during which the C's will be able to validate their qualification for the conference final.

On the other hand, the suspense is complete between the Thunder and the Mavericks after OKC's snatch victory on the Dallas floor, at the end of a fourth quarter fought with a knife between the teeth by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and his teammates.

While the Thunder was trailing for a good part of the match, the Canadian allowed his team to equalize at 86-all with a fadeaway four minutes from time. Rookie Chet Holmgren (18 pts) then took over by scoring a three-point basket putting OKC on the path to success.

“We didn’t give up,” said “SGA”, who scored 22 of his 34 points in the second period. “We took possessions one after the other and in the end the match turned to our advantage.” On the Texan side, P.J. Washington's 21 points as well as Luka Doncic's triple-double (18 pts, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) were not enough.

Too many errors, criticized the Slovenian, deeming their poor success on free throws “unacceptable” (12 out of 23). The Mavs also lost 14 balls, giving 19 points to the Thunder, who can now hope to take the lead on Wednesday in Oklahoma.

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