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NBA Playoff roundup: Mavericks force Game 7 with Suns; Heat beat 76ers to advance

From the This morning's top headlines: Friday, May 13 series
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DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic scored 33 points and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Phoenix Suns 113-86 on Thursday night to force a Game 7 in the Western Conference semifinals.

The home team has won all six games, none with a final margin closer than seven points. The deciding game is Sunday in Phoenix.

The Mavericks won when facing elimination for the first time in three tries with Doncic, their three-time All-Star.

The two losses came against the Clippers the past two seasons, including Game 7 in Los Angeles last year after the visitors won the first six games, a first in the playoffs. Dallas is playing beyond the first round for the first time since winning the title 11 years ago.

The Suns, seeking a second consecutive trip to the West finals, are going the distance in a series for the first time in two postseasons with Chris Paul and Devin Booker. The previous three went six, including Phoenix’s loss to Milwaukee last year in the NBA Finals.

The top-seeded Suns were held to a season low in scoring, regular season or playoffs, for the second time in the series.

Booker scored 19 points but was shut out from 3-point range (0 of 4) while going 6 of 17. Deandre Ayton had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Paul added 13 points.

HEAT 99, 76ERS 90

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jimmy Butler scored 32 points and Miami advanced to the Eastern Conference finals, beating Philadelphia in Game 6.

The Heat will play the winner of the Milwaukee-Boston series. The defending champion Bucks lead that series 3-2, with Game 6 on Friday night in Milwaukee.

Miami reached the conference finals for the second time in three seasons, again with Butler leading the charge after he left the 76ers after the 2018-19 season. He scored 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the third quarter when the Heat used a 16-2 run to take control.

Joel Embiid scored 20 points for Philadelphia on 7-of-24 shooting.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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The Golden State Warriors visit the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference finals with a 2-0 lead in the series. The teams meet for the seventh time this season. Dallas is 36-16 against the Western Conference, and Golden State is 33-19 against conference opponents.

Denver Nuggets rookie point guard Bones Hyland is the latest young player to embrace the spotlight during his inaugural postseason appearance. Hyland’s performance has energized his teammates and helped the Nuggets stave off elimination against the Golden State Warriors. He has also given reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic some much-needed assistance. The Nuggets trail the Warriors 3-1 in the best-of-seven series. No NBA team has come back to win from a 3-0 deficit.

A person familiar with the situation tells The Associated Press that Denver Nuggets president Tim Connelly is in discussions with the Minnesota Timberwolves about their vacant president of basketball operations role. The Nuggets are widely considered to be on the verge of NBA title contention after Connelly's nine years as the team's primary decision-maker. The Timberwolves also coming off a season in which they doubled their win total from the previous season to 46. They pushed Memphis hard in a six-game first-round playoff loss.

The Dallas Mavericks have been fined $50,000 by the NBA for a second violation of bench decorum during their Western Conference semifinal series against Phoenix. The second fine was twice as much as the first. It was issued after Dallas’ blowout Game 7 victory in Phoenix that sent the Mavericks to the West finals against Golden State. The league says players and a member of the coaching staff stood for extended periods, were too far from the bench area and encroached on the court during game action. The other fine came after Game 2, also in Phoenix.

The Heat played the entire second half without top scorer Jimmy Butler, yet were able to beat back a late rally to beat the Celtics 109-103 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. The Celtics also briefly lost Jayson Tatum to a stinger and Marcus Smart to a sprained ankle, though both returned to action. Butler's injury is the same that he had had during Miami's first-round series against Atlanta. But coach Erik Spoelstra said he doesn't expect Butler will need an MRI. The status of Tatum and Smart will be updated Sunday, though coach Ime Udoka expects both will be OK.

Brooklyn Nets guard Seth Curry has had arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall. The Nets said the procedure was done Monday by Dr. Martin O’Malley at the Hospital for Special Surgery and was successful. Curry came to the Nets along with Ben Simmons and Andre Drummond in February in the trade that sent James Harden to Philadelphia. He experienced problems with the ankle down the stretch but played in 19 games and averaged 14.9 points while shooting 46.8% from 3-point range. Simmons recently had surgery for a herniated disk in his back that kept him from playing at all for the Nets, among other reasons. He also is expected to recover in time for camp.

The NBA has fined the Dallas Mavericks a third time in the playoffs because of violations of rules regarding their bench. The fine has doubled each time. The latest is $100,000 after Game 2 of the Western Conference finals at Golden State. None of the fines stem from games in Dallas. Several Mavericks players have stood for most or all of the games during the playoffs. The fines have been for players and coaches standing for extended periods, straying too far from the bench and encroaching on the court during game action. Game 3 in Dallas is Sunday night.

Al Horford and Marcus Smart are coming back. And Derrick White headed home early for a good reason. The Boston Celtics have two missing starters back for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against Miami. Smart’s mid-foot sprain has improved to the point where the Celtics said he could play Thursday. Horford was removed from the NBA’s health and safety protocols after getting cleared by test results. And White left Miami early because of the looming birth of a child.

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