Sports Minute: Doncic, Murray hope their shows won't be over in the bubble
By BRIAN MAHONEYAP Basketball Writer
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Luka Doncic and Jamal Murray have put on some of the best shows in the bubble.
Without another one Sunday, their shows may be over.
With their teams facing elimination, Doncic and Murray might be down to their final day at Disney when they play the two Game 6s in the Western Conference.
Dallas trails the Los Angeles Clippers 3-2, the same deficit Denver faces against Utah. But the Mavericks appear to be in the tougher predicament.
Not only are they playing again without Kristaps Porzingis, but they have to slow down a No. 2-seeded Clippers team that crushed them 154-111 in Game 5 on Tuesday after Paul George snapped out of a prolonged slump.
The Clippers were then one of the teams that expressed frustrations the next night at the leaguewide meeting that followed the three game postponements, but eventually decided they wanted to stay and play.
“We’re obviously fully committed to winning a championship here,” George said, “but we just want everything to be basically on the same page with everything else, and everything to pretty much fall in line with what’s going on, like I said, inside and outside of the bubble.”
Doncic, who has battled a sprained left ankle, had 22 points and eight rebounds. That's not bad, but it was far off the 43 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists he had in Game 4, when he made the winning 3-pointer at the overtime buzzer as Dallas tied the series.
The winner of that series faces the winner of the Denver-Utah series.
The Jazz had a chance to wrap it up in Game 5, but Murray and Nikola Jokic led a season-saving rally from 15 down in the third quarter to a 117-107 victory.
Murray had 42 points, eight rebounds and eight assists after scoring a career-high 50 points in Game 4. He had no turnovers in either game.
The other game Sunday is Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, where the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics meet after each completed first-round sweeps.
A look at the two first-round games:
CLIPPERS VS. MAVERICKS
Los Angeles leads 3-2. Game 6, 3:30 p.m. EDT, ESPN.
— NEED TO KNOW: Kawhi Leonard has scored 30 or more points in the last four games, tied for the longest streak in his career and matching Elton Brand for the second-longest in the team's postseason history. His low game in the series is the 29 he scored in the opener.
— KEEP AN EYE ON: George. He acknowledged the stress and depression he felt earlier and it possibly contributed to his 10-for-47 shooting in Games 2-4. But he looked sharp and relaxed with a 35-point performance in Game 5.
— INJURY WATCH: Porzingis missed the previous two games and on Friday the Mavericks said he would be out for the rest of the series because of torn cartilage in his right knee. They aren't ruling the 7-foot-3 star out for the postseason yet as he considers treatment options.
— PRESSURE IS ON: The Dallas defense. The Mavericks had one of the NBA's most explosive offenses, but no team is potent enough to win when it allows 63% shooting like they did in Game 5.
NUGGETS VS. JAZZ
Utah leads 3-2. Game 6, 8:30 p.m. EDT, TNT.
— NEED TO KNOW: The Nuggets are trying to become the 12th team to rally from a 3-1 deficit to win a series. It hasn't happened since the 2016 NBA Finals, when Cleveland beat Denver.
— KEEP AN EYE ON: Donovan Mitchell. The leading scorer in the playoffs with 37.6 points per game will be trying to become the first player to score 50 three times in one postseason. Michael Jordan (twice), Wilt Chamberlain and Allen Iverson are the only other players with a pair of 50-point games in a postseason.
— INJURY WATCH: Gary Harris and Will Barton have yet to play in the series for Denver, though Harris is being listed as questionable for Game 6 with his right hip injury.
— PRESSURE IS ON: The men in the middle. It seems like neither Murray nor Mitchell can be slowed down in this series, so the games could swing based on who has the better performance between Jokic and Rudy Gobert.
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