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NBA playoff tracker: Lakers even series at 1-1; Clippers lose at home again

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Welcome to the Yahoo Sports NBA playoff tracker, your daily one-stop shop for all the latest game results from each NBA playoff series. Here's a look at Tuesday's games.

Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts after his dunk against the LA Clippers in the first quarter during game two of the Western Conference first round series at Staples Center on May 25, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
Luka Doncic and the Mavericks are returning home with a 2-0 series lead over the Clippers. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Clippers lose again as Mavericks return home up 2-0

Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks are returning home with a 2-0 series lead after defeating the Los Angeles Clippers 127-121 on Tuesday night at Staples Center.

Doncic finished with 39 points, seven assists and seven rebounds as the Clippers had nothing defensively to slow down the 22-year-old guard. The Clippers wasted 30 first-half points from Kawhi Leonard, who cooled off drastically in the second half and finished with 41. 

The Clippers led 73-71 at the half but the Mavericks took control in the third quarter and eventually held a 13-point lead with 7:20 left in the game. The Clippers would rally to cut the lead within four before running out of gas down the stretch. Tim Hardaway Jr. delivered the dagger with 1:03 left in the fourth:

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You know it’s not your night when Doncic is able to hit shots like this:

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Or this: 

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And this:

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The Clippers’ playoff struggles have been well documented over recent years, but losing the first two games at home in the first round of the playoffs might be peak Clippers.

The series heads to Dallas as Game 3 is slated for Friday night at 9:30 p.m. ET.

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - MAY 25: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to a three-point shot against the Phoenix Suns during the second half of Game Two of the Western Conference first-round playoff series at Phoenix Suns Arena on May 25, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The Lakers have evened the series. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Lakers hold off Suns in series-tying win

The Los Angeles Lakers of Game 2 did not resemble the Lakers of Game 1.

After a flat opening to their first-round series against the Phoenix Suns, the Lakers evened the series on Tuesday with a 109-102 win.

After struggling in Game 1, both LeBron James and Anthony Davis led a massive fourth-quarter rally to hold off a Suns comeback. Davis finished with 33 points (7-of-15 shooting), 10 rebounds and 7 assists. while James posted 23 points, 9 assists and 4 rebounds.

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That added up to a tough night for the Suns. Exacerbating their problems was a limited Chris Paul, who didn't appear in the final seven minutes of the game due to a lingering shoulder surgery. Devin Booker posted 31 points in his absence, while Deandre Ayton had 22 points and 10 rebounds.

The game began with a bizarre, er, run-in a minute into the first quarter when Davis kicked Jae Crowder in the groin while shooting a jump shot, but the Lakers soon took control, building up a double-digit lead late in the first quarter and leading by as much as 15 early in the third quarter.

The Suns' comeback began in the final moments of the third quarter. After LeBron James hit an incredible fadeaway to put the Lakers' lead back up to 10 points, Cam Johnson responded with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer:

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That shot was a sign of things to come, as the Suns ate away at the Lakers' lead until tying the game at 86-86 with seven minutes remaining in the game. Then James and Davis came alive.

A pivotal Game 3 is scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m. PT in Los Angeles.

Joe Harris' hot shooting ignites Nets blowout

It wasn't Kevin Durant, James Harden or Kyrie Irving who cooked the Boston Celtics this time around, but veteran sharpshooter Joe Harris, whose six first-half 3-pointers staked the Brooklyn Nets to a 27-point lead they would not relinquish. The Nets rolled to a 130-108 victory, taking a 2-0 lead in their first-round series.

Eleven of Harris' 22 first-half points came during a 15-0 Brooklyn run that turned a close game into a 29-13 advantage. Boston didn't just face an uphill battle from there. Facing Durant, Harden and Irving is difficult enough, but when the other Nets are contributing as they did on Tuesday, it's like climbing Mount Everest.

There was no valiant comeback. At one point in the second quarter, the Celtics had eight turnovers and only two assists. Nets not named Durant, Harden and Irving scored 43 first-half points. Boston scored 47.

After making eight of his 11 shots in the opening half, Harris took only three more shots and finished with 25 points. His damage was done. Durant added 26 points on 12 shots. Harden scored 20, and Irving 15. Each of Brooklyn's big three registered at least five rebounds and five assists. None played the final 7:31.

Adding injury to insult, Durant poked Jayson Tatum in the right eye during the third quarter, sending the Celtics star to the locker room with just nine points on 3-of-12 shooting. He did not return. According to Celtics coach Brad Stevens, Tatum attempted to return to the court, but the bright lights bothered his eye, so he retreated to the locker room. The scratched eye was red and swollen in the aftermath of the loss.

Tempers flared as Brooklyn's lead climbed above 30. Durant and Evan Fournier even exchanged expletives.

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Marcus Smart led the Celtics with 19 points. Kemba Walker scored 17. Fournier added 16.

Game 3 is scheduled for Friday at 8:30 p.m. ET in Boston.

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