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Jazz, Sixers, T-Wolves win NBA playoffs

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Donovan Mitchell (right) of the Utah Jazz drives to the basket against Spencer Dinwiddie of the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center on Saturday in Dallas, Texas. AFP

Jazz, Sixers, T-Wolves win NBA playoffs

Donovan Mitchell scored 30 of his 32 points in the second half and the Utah Jazz held off Luka Doncic-less Dallas 99-93 in an NBA playoff game on Saturday.

Bojan Bogdanovic added 26 points while French center Rudy Gobert pulled down 17 rebounds as the Jazz seized a 1-0 lead in the first-round best-of-seven series with the road triumph.

Dallas, missing All-Star guard Doncic due to a left calf strain, pulled within 92-91 in the final seconds before Royce O’Neale made his only basket of the game, a 3-pointer with 57 seconds remaining, and Mitchell added four final free throws to secure the victory.

“Our mental toughness was challenged and we responded,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “We kept our aggression. That’s key no matter what you are playing.

“Look at Royce O’Neale’s three. He hasn’t made a shot in the game and he doesn’t hesitate to take that shot. That’s the mindset our team has right now. We faced adversity and that’s what it takes to get through it.”

Mitchell began the game 0-for-6 and 1-for-9 from the floor but sparkled in the second half.

“Just be in attack mode,” Mitchell said of his halftime change. “I came out a little too passive in the first half.”

The Jazz can seize a commanding 2-0 series lead with a Monday victory at Dallas, with Doncic uncertain to play.

“We have a lot of confidence,” O’Neale said. “We have the guys we need to make a long run. It’s about us staying locked in.”

Utah outrebounded the Mavericks 53-34 with Gobert dominating inside.

“[It was] physicality,” Gobert said. “We made plays all over. We just made things hard for them. They were physical. We had to match that.”

Jalen Brunson led Dallas with 24 points and Spencer Dinwiddie added 22 for the Mavericks.

“They made things difficult,” Brunson said. “We’ve got to get rebounds. We’ve got to do a better job of making the easier shots. We’ve got to keep our focus when it comes to that.”

Sixers rip Raptors

Tyrese Maxey scored a playoff career-high 38 points and Tobias Harris added 26 to power the Philadelphia 76ers over visiting Toronto 131-111.

“It’s a testimony to the work,” said Maxey. “The work you put in when nobody else is around, it shows when you perform before thousands.”

Maxey also praised the defensive work of Harris, who guarded Pascal Siakam, Toronto’s top scorer with 24 points.

“He was huge,” Maxey said of Harris. “The biggest thing he did was contain Siakam.”

Cameroonian center Joel Embiid, the NBA scoring champion, added 19 points and 15 rebounds while James Harden contributed 22 points and a game-high 14 assists to spark the Sixers to a 1-0 series lead.

“It’s going to be a fight every single night,” Embiid said. “Job is not done. We’ve got to keep our foot on the gas.”

A 9-0 Sixers run in the second quarter put the hosts ahead 57-42 on the way to a 69-51 halftime lead. The Raptors went more than three minutes without a hoop from the floor in that span. Philadelphia made no first-half turnovers.

T-Wolves beat Grizzlies

At Memphis, Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards scored a game-high 36 points in his playoff debut and Karl-Anthony Towns added 29 points and 13 rebounds as the Timberwolves defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 130-117 in a matchup of the NBA’s two top-scoring clubs this season.

Malik Beasley added 23 points off the bench for the T-Wolves, who are in the playoffs for only the second time since 2004 and they haven’t won a series in 18 years.

Ja Morant led Memphis with 32 points and eight assists and Dillon Brooks added 24 points for the Grizzlies, who haven’t won a playoff series since 2015 but matched a club record with 56 wins in the regular season.

Denver visits Golden State in Saturday’s final contest with Stephen Curry returning for the host Warriors after being sidelined since March 16 with a foot injury.

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