NBA playoff tracker: Clippers frustrate Luka Doncic, roar back to tie Mavs on the road; Nets push Celtics to brink

·9 min read

Welcome to the Yahoo Sports NBA playoff tracker, your daily one-stop shop for all the latest game results from each NBA playoff series. Here's a look at Sunday's games.

Will a home team please stand up?

The Los Angeles Clippers cruised past the Dallas Mavericks, 106-81 on Sunday to secure their second straight road win and salvage a series that once looked on the brink of being lost. After dropping the first two games at home, the Clippers have now tied the series at 2-2 and will return to Los Angeles with home-court advantage intact. 

The Clippers controlled Sunday's game from the beginning, turning a a 31-22 first-quarter lead into a 61-45 edge at halftime. The Mavericks — playing in front of a near-capacity crowd — wouldn't close the gap to single digits after halftime.

DALLAS, TEXAS - MAY 30:   Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers reacts against the Dallas Mavericks in the third quarter in Game Four of the Western Conference first round series at American Airlines Center on May 30, 2021 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers have retaken home-court advanage. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Kawhi Leonard led the effort with 29 points and 10 rebounds, while shooting 11 of 15 from the field. Paul George added 20 points and nine rebounds, while hitting 3-of-6 3-point attempts. But their best work was done on defense as the Mavericks shot just 34.1% from the field and 16.7% from 3-point distance while an ailing and frustrated Luka Doncic couldn't match the performances his Clippers All-Star counterparts.

Visibly affected by a neck strain suffered in Game 3, Doncic struggled from the field in a 9-of-24 effort while tallying 19 points, six assists and six rebounds. He missed all five of his free-throw attempts and six of his seven 3-point shots. His frustration was evident. 

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Doncic has two days to recover before Wednesday's Game 5 at Staples Center. The Clippers — once down 0-2 — are now -500 betting favorites to win the series

Brooklyn's superstars crush Celtics for 3-1 series lead

The Boston Celtics could not recreate their Game 3 magic, as the Brooklyn Nets' superstar trio of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden took the wind out of a capacity TD Garden crowd in Game 4.

Durant, Irving and Harden combined for 104 points in the 141-126 win on Sunday, pushing Brooklyn's first-round series lead to 3-1. The Nets are scheduled to host the Celtics in Game 5 on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Coming off Friday's 50-point performance, Jayson Tatum scored 14 points in the first quarter to give Boston a 34-33 lead through 12 minutes. Without starters Jaylen Brown (wrist), Kemba Walker (knee) and Robert Williams (ankle), the Celtics had few options beyond Tatum taking on double teams. Coach Brad Stevens began the second quarter with Evan Fournier, Payton Pritchard, Romeo Langford, Grant Williams and Semi Ojeleye on the floor, the Nets scored the first five points, and Brooklyn never looked back. 

Irving was far more aggressive attacking the basket after a hostile Boston crowd seemingly rattled him in Game 3. The former Celtics point guard still heard "Kyrie sucks" chants and worse — including a Celtics fan throwing a water bottle at him as he entered the tunnel postgame — but his effort ultimately silenced the boos that followed him each time he touched the ball through the first six quarters in his former arena. All that was left to boo was an occasional Irving miss, and there were not many once he heated up.

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Irving scored 23 of his 39 points in the opening half on Sunday. He and Harden got to the rim at will, hunting Fournier, Tristan Thompson and anyone not named Tatum or Marcus Smart. The Nets pushed their lead to 13 at the half and as large as 27 in the third quarter. The rest was just playing out the game — and probably the series now — even if Brooklyn coach Steve Nash left his starters in until a minute remained.

Durant finished with 42 points, five assists and four rebounds. Harden had 23 points and 18 assists.

Tatum led the Celtics with 40 points, seven rebounds and five assists. They needed 60 from him.

Lakers lose Anthony Davis and Game 4 as Suns tie series 2-2

Chris Paul returned to form on Sunday, and the Los Angeles Lakers lost Anthony Davis to injury as the Phoenix Suns cruised to a 100-92 win to tie their first-round playoff series, 2-2.

Davis suffered a groin strain during the final minute of the second quarter and didn't return after halftime. Meanwhile, a shoulder injury that limited Paul in Games 2 and 3 didn't appear to hinder him on Sunday. 

The Suns bounced back from Thursday's 14-point Game 3 loss with a strong first-half effort to take a 54-50 lead into halftime. 

Davis suffered his injury in the final minute of the second quarter on a layup attempt. He drove to the basket on the baseline and collapsed to the court after landing awkwardly. He immediately clutched his left thigh and eventually hobbled off the floor. The Lakers ruled him out after halftime.

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With Davis off the court, the Suns opened the second half with a 14-4 run and extended their lead to 81-65 by the end of the third quarter. The Lakers rallied to cut the deficit to single digits, but didn't get closer than 95-88 in the game's final minutes.

Phoenix rode a balanced effort to the win with six players scoring in double figures, including all five starters. They were clearly buoyed by Paul's improved health and play. 

Paul led the Suns with 18 points, nine assists and three steals in 32 minutes. He looked much more like the veteran leader who helped Phoenix to the No. 2 seed than the hobbled player who totaled 13 points on 5-of-13 shooting in Games 2 and 3 combined.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 30: during the second half of Game Four of the Western Conference first-round playoff series at Staples Center on May 30, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
A shoulder injury that hindered Chris Paul in Games 2 and 3 didn't appear to bother him on Sunday. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Deandre Ayton kept up his brilliant NBA playoff debut with his fourth double-double in as many games, tallying 14 points and 17 rebounds while shooting 6 of 8 from the field. Devin Booker added 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists. 

LeBron James carried the load as the only Lakers starter in double figures with 25 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. It wasn't nearly enough as Los Angeles also played without starting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who's listed as day-to-day with a knee contusion. Davis, who started the game hobbled by a knee sprain suffered in Game 3, managed six points on 2-of-9 shooting before his groin injury.

The series shifts back to Phoenix for Game 5 on Tuesday with an entirely new outlook. The Suns were in trouble facing a 2-1 deficit and questions about Paul's health. Now the series is tied, and the injury concerns have shifted to the Lakers. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Davis is considered day-to-day ahead of Game 5.

Hawks cruise past Knicks to 3-1 lead

Thanks to a dominant win over the New York Knicks on Sunday, the Atlanta Hawks are just one game away from advancing to Round 2.

The Hawks hammered the Knicks in Game 4, winning 113-96 thanks to a strong second half — especially the third quarter. The Hawks led 53-49 at halftime, but when they came back from the locker room, they began to run away with it. They started the third quarter with a 15-5 run and never looked back. At one point, they led the Knicks by 26, threatening to turn the game into a runaway disaster.

Though he was better than he'd been in Games 1, 2 and 3, Julius Randle continued to be limited by the Hawks, who continued to force him into uncomfortable positions. He shot just 7 for 19, committed five turnovers and heard "overrated" chants from the crowd throughout the game. He seemed pretty frustrated by the end of it. 

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No one could stop Trae Young from being Trae Young. He continued to own the Knicks, scoring 27 points with nine assists, both team highs. 

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It was more than just Young, though. The whole team contributed, and they were relentless. Six players finished the game with double-digit points.

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The Knicks just don't have an answer for the Hawks when they have the ball. If they hope to find one, they'll have to do it fast. It's win or go home for the Knicks on Wednesday. If they want to advance, they'll have to do something no Knicks team has ever done in the history of the franchise: come back from a 3-1 playoff deficit. 

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - MAY 30:  John Collins #20 of the Atlanta Hawks dunks against the New York Knicks in the first half during game four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at State Farm Arena on May 30, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The Hawks blew out the Knicks and took a 3-1 series lead on Sunday thanks to powerful shooting. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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