Celtics push Nets to brink

Celtics push Nets to brink

Celtics push Nets to brink

The Toronto Raptors stayed alive, the Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves pulled level, and the Boston Celtics pushed the Brooklyn Nets to the brink of elimination in the NBA playoffs on April 23.

Jayson Tatum scored 39 points to lead the Celtics in a 109-103 victory over the Nets in Brooklyn that pushed their lead in the NBA Eastern Conference first-round series to 3-0.

No NBA team has come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven series, and the Celtics will try to wrap this one up on the Nets’ home floor tonight.

Once again the Celtics’ suffocating defense neutralized Brooklyn’s scoring star Kevin Durant, who finished with 16 points and attempted just 11 shots.

Brooklyn’s other big star, Kyrie Irving, also finished with just 16 points.

In Toronto, forward Pascal Siakam scored a playoff career-high 34 points and Gary Trent Jr. added 24 in the Raptors’ 110-102 triumph over the Philadelphia 76ers to cut the deficit in their series to 3-1.

The Sixers can still advance in the best-of-seven set with a game-five victory at home tonight, but there are injury concerns for 76ers center Joel Embiid, who played through a painful right thumb injury in producing 21 points and eight rebounds.

In Salt Lake City, Rudy Gobert’s slam dunk with 11 seconds remaining gave the Utah Jazz a 100-99 victory over the Dallas Mavericks that knotted their Western Conference series at two games apiece.

The Jazz spoiled the return from injury of Mavericks guard Luka Doncic.

The Slovenian star, who hadn’t played since April 10 due to a left calf strain, scored 30 points on 11-of-21 shooting while pulling down 10 rebounds.

The Timberwolves rebounded from an embarrassing defeat to hold off the visiting Memphis Grizzlies 119-118 and knot their series at two games apiece.