NBA playoff tracker: Jazz survive late Memphis run to take 2-1 series lead

·7-min read
Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz shoots against Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies
The Utah Jazz survived a late Memphis run to take a 2-1 lead. (Justin Ford/Getty Images)

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 Saturday's games.

The Memphis Grizzlies nearly rallied all the way back to pull off yet another upset over the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.

In the end, though, the run came up just short.

The Grizzlies fell to top-seeded Utah 121-111 in Game 3 of their opening-round playoff series at FedEx Forum, which gave the Jazz a 2-1 series lead.

Utah took off early, taking an 11-point lead at halftime while never falling behind through the first three quarters. That, though, is when the Grizzlies made their move. Memphis opened the fourth quarter on a quick 13-2 run — capped by a Grayson Allen 3-pointer — to tie the game up for the first time since the start of the game.

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Ja Morant then hit a pair of free throws and a floater minutes later to give them their first lead of the game.

Yet that’s when the run died. Memphis scored just two points in the final 4:27 of the contest while Utah surged ahead to claim the 10-point win and slight series lead.

Morant led Memphis with 28 points and seven assists, and Dillon Brooks added 27 points. Allen added 17 points off the bench while shooting 5-of-8 from behind the arc, too.

Donovan Mitchell led Utah with 29 points and five assists, and Mike Conley added 27 points with eight assists while shooting an impressive 7-of-10 from behind the arc.

Game 4 of the series is set for Monday night.

76ers starters throttle Wizards to take 3-0 lead

The Philadelphia 76ers are now just one game away from advancing to the next round.

The 76ers cruised to a dominant 132-103 win over the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena on Saturday night to take a 3-0 series lead behind a monster night from Joel Embiid.

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The 76ers took off almost instantly in Game 3. After a back and forth start, Philadelphia went on an 18-2 run midway through the first quarter to take a commanding lead — and it never looked back.

They claimed a 14 point lead by halftime and pushed that to 23 points by the end of the third en route to their 29 point win. They now hold a 3-0 series lead over the Wizards, and have won their last two games in the series by double digits.

Philadelphia’s starting five went on a ridiculous offensive tear, too — one that the Wizards seemed to have no answer for.

Embiid led the way with a new playoff career-high 36 points while shooting 14-of-18 from the field. His night was highlighted by a monster dunk he threw down late in the second quarter, too.

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Tobias Harris dropped 20 points with 13 rebounds, and both Danny Green and Seth Curry put up 15 points. Ben Simmons rounded out the starting five with 14 points and nine assists. As a team, they shot nearly 59% from the field.

Russell Westbrook led Washington with 26 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, and Bradley Beal added 25 points.

Game 4 of the series is set for Monday night in Washington. The 3-0 lead puts Philadelphia in a very secure position, too, as no team has ever come back from a 3-0 hole to win a playoff series in NBA history.

"You don’t get anything until you win four, so we’ve accomplished nothing as far as we’re concerned," Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers said, via USA Today.

Blazers dominate Nuggets to tie up series 2-2

Thanks to a massive third quarter performance, the Portland Trail Blazers have tied up their series with the Denver Nuggets.

The Blazers cruised to a 115-95 win over the Nuggets on Saturday night at the Moda Center, evening their opening-round playoff series 2-2 after dropping two straight.

"Our starters were awful," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said, via ESPN. "I thought we had some guys that were tentative, that looked a little scared, who played soft ... We're going to have to be a lot better going home."

The two teams were right with each other for the first two quarters in Portland, though the Blazers separated slightly in the final seconds of the first half to claim a 10-point lead at the break.

That’s when they took off.

Portland opened the third quarter on a huge 16-4 run, blowing the game wide open. It held Denver to just 19 points in the period, too — 10 of which came in the final 3:45 of the quarter — to snag a massive 27-point lead headed into the fourth.

From there, the Blazers simply cruised to the 20-point win.

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Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with 16 points and nine rebounds in the loss, and Facundo Campazzo added 12 points. They were the only two starters for Denver to score in double figures. As a team, they shot just 34% from the field.

Norman Powell led Portland with 29 points while shooting 11-of-15 from the field. CJ McCollum finished with 21 points, and Jusuf Nurkic added 17 points. Damian Lillard was just two rebounds shy of a triple-double, too, as he added 10 points and 10 assists.

Game 5 of the series is set for Tuesday in Denver.

"The urgency has to be there. Maybe this will be a wake-up call for our starting group just to play harder," Malone said, via ESPN. "Good things happen when we play hard and we didn't play anywhere close to hard enough tonight."

Khris Middleton drives to the basket vs. Heat.
Khris Middleton scored 20 points against the Heat in Game 4. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

Bucks sweep Heat, become first team to advance

The Milwaukee Bucks had no interest in their first-round series against the Miami Heat going any longer than necessary. The Bucks pulled off a sweep Saturday, taking down the Heat 120-103 in Game 4. 

Things didn't look promising for Milwaukee early. The Heat showed signs of life, leading the contest by 7 points at halftime. But once the third quarter began, the Bucks looked like a completely different team. They outscored the Heat 63-39 in the second half to take the win and advance to the second round.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was a threat everywhere on the court. He finished the contest with a triple-double, adding 20 points, 12 rebounds and a whopping 15 assists. Khris Middleton, who set the tone for the series by hitting a buzzer-beater in Game 1, added 20 points and 11 rebounds. The team also received an excellent performance from Bryn Forbes, who hit 7 of 14 shots from behind the arc to give the Bucks 22 points. Brook Lopez, however, led the team, finishing the game with 25 points. 

Bam Adebayo led the way for the Heat, scoring 20 points and adding 14 rebounds. Jimmy Butler once again struggled to find his rhythm offensively, shooting just 4 of 15 from the floor and finishing the contest with 12 points. 

Butler has expressed frustration with the Heat throughout the season, but he wasn't responsible for the team's biggest outburst Saturday. During a timeout, Udonis Haslem threw a chair while trying to pump up the team.

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With the win, the Bucks got revenge on the Heat, who knocked Milwaukee out of the playoffs last season. 

The Bucks will face the winner of the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics in the second round. Brooklyn currently leads the series 2-1.

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