Until the end of the NBA’s seeding-game schedule on Aug. 14, Yahoo Sports NBA is delivering a daily bubble primer.
Also of note on Saturday was T.J. Warren doing more T.J. Warren things, the Suns moving to 5-0 and Jamal Murray returning from a hamstring injury. (Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports)
Luka Doncic scored 36 points in his NBA-leading 17th triple-double and the Dallas Mavericks scored the last seven points of regulation to force overtime, going on to a 136-132 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night. ''He's getting better by the hour, by the day,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo had 34 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks before fouling out in the final seconds hours after the reigning MVP was named a finalist for the award along with LeBron James and James Harden.
Devin Booker scored 35 points and Jevon Carter added a season-high 20 points as the Phoenix Suns remained undefeated in the NBA restart, beating the Miami Heat 119-112 on Saturday night. Carter made six of eight 3-pointers as the Suns improved to 5-0 in the restart. ''I think this bubble opportunity was big for us and we're taking advantage of it,'' Booker said.
T.J. Warren is leading a litany of All-Stars in scoring inside the NBA bubble, and his Indiana Pacers are the only Eastern Conference team with four wins. Warren scored 39 points, including seven straight to put Indiana ahead in the final two minutes, and the Pacers beat Los Angeles 116-111 on Saturday. LeBron James had 31 points, eight rebounds and seven assists after sitting out the first game since the Lakers clinched the top seed in the West.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers rested Kawhi Leonard and sat Paul George for the final five minutes following Los Angeles' plan to restrict playing time. ''We still feel we should we win regardless of who's in the game,'' George said. Rodney McGruder hit a 3-pointer with 26.5 seconds left, and the Clippers beat the Trail Blazers 122-117 on Saturday.
The Lakers, the West's top seed, lost 116-111 to the Pacers amid talk that other teams are trying to set L.A. up with a playoff matchup vs. Portland.
This season's NBA MVP has won the award before. A trio of past winners of the award - reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, four-time MVP LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and 2017-18 winner James Harden of the Houston Rockets - were announced Saturday as the finalists for this season's top NBA individual honor. James would join Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (a six-time winner), Michael Jordan and Bill Russell as the NBA's only five-time MVPs.
Nikola Jokic led the way with 30 points and 11 rebounds as the Nuggets outlast the Jazz 134-132 in double overtime. Donovan Mitchell had 35 points for the Utah in the loss.
Jamal Murray scored 23 points in his first game of the NBA restart, including the tying and go-ahead baskets, and the Denver Nuggets beat the Utah Jazz 134-132 in two overtimes Saturday. The Nuggets overcame Donovan Mitchell's 35 points for Utah, including a 3-pointer with 4.2 seconds remaining in the second overtime. Murray, playing his first game since March 11 after missing four games with left hamstring tightness, sank a fallaway jumper for a 123-all tie and then beat the shot clock with a go-ahead 3-pointer.
Damian Lillard missed a pair of clutch free throws in the Trail Blazers' loss to the Clippers today.