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Doncic, Mavericks force Warriors, Western finals back to California

Jalen Brunson and the Mavericks finally had their day against the Warriors, building a 29-point lead, then hanging on to force a Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.Ron Jenkins/Getty

Luka Doncic had 30 points and 14 rebounds, and the Mavericks beat the Golden State Warriors, 119-109, on Tuesday in Dallas to avoid being swept in the Western Conference finals.

It was the 10th double-double in his 14 games this postseason for Doncic, who also had nine assists and got some help from his supporting cast to extend this series. He had 40 points in Game 3, when Reggie Bullock shot 0 for 10 shooting with seven misses from 3-point range.

Dorian Finney-Smith had 23 points and Bullock had 18 on 6-of-10 shooting — all 3-pointers. Jalen Brunson had 15 points. The Mavs were 20 of 43 on 3-pointers.

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The loss snapped the Warriors’ nine-game winning streak in Western Conference finals games, though they are still firmly in control of this series headed back to California for Game 5 on Thursday night.

Stephen Curry had 20 points and returned to the game with 3:22 left — his first appearance in the fourth quarter — after the Warriors had cut a 29-point deficit to 110-102. But they never got closer even with Curry and other starters returning to the floor.

Doncic then drove for a dunk and Bullock made his sixth 3-pointer.

No NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series. Only three of the 146 teams to fall in that deep hole have even been able to force a seventh game.

Jonathan Kuminga had 17 points and Andrew Wiggins 13 points for the Warriors, who had seven players score in double figures.

Luka Doncic had 30 points to help Dallas avert the sweep.Tom Pennington/Getty

There was even a 16-minute rain delay, when the start of the second half was held up because of rain leaking through the roof at American Airlines Center. There was heavy rain outside, and there were at least two leaks. One was dropping water near the Golden State bench, and at the other end of the court water appeared to be falling in the stands.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo unanimous choice to another All-NBA first team

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo was a unanimous choice to the All-NBA first team announced Tuesday night, earning his fourth consecutive selection alongside Dallas’ Luka Doncic and MVP Nikola Jokic of Denver, plus first-timers Jayson Tatum and Phoenix’s Devin Booker.

Antetokounmpo was the only player chosen to the first team on all 100 ballots, drawn from a global pool of sportswriters and broadcasters. Doncic and Jokic (both so honored for the third time) were each chosen on 88, with Booker on 82 and Tatum on 49.

It’s the first time all five first-team selections are age 27 or younger since 1954-55.

The second team consists of scoring champion Joel Embiid of Philadelphia, Memphis guard Ja Morant, Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, and Chicago forward DeMar DeRozan. The third team is Minnesota center Karl-Anthony Towns, Lakers forward LeBron James (extending his record with an 18th selection), guards Chris Paul of Phoenix (an 11-time pick, one ahead of Durant for second among active players) and Atlanta’s Trae Young, and Toronto’s Pascal Siakam.

Six of the 15 choices are first-time All-NBA players. That includes Young, whose selection triggers a clause in his maximum contract extension signed last summer that bumps his projected salary up some $35 million, to $207 million across the next five years.

Jaylen Brown was the only other Celtics players to draw a vote, taken on three ballots for the third team.

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Bulls’ Zach LaVine has knee surgery, full recovery expected

Chicago Bulls guard Zach Lavine underwent left knee arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday, and the team said it was successful and he is expected to make a full recovery.

LaVine averaged 24.4 points and made his second straight NBA All-Star team last year, which ended with his first trip to the playoffs in his eighth year as a pro. The Bulls lost in the first round to Milwaukee in five games.

LaVine’s four-year, $78 million contract is up, and he said last month that he plans to explore the market as an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career after five seasons in Chicago. He did not rule out returning to the Bulls, who can offer a max contract worth more than $210 million over five years.

Chicago's Zach LaVine should be good to go for the start of next season.Morry Gash/Associated Press

The season was up and down for LaVine, who dealt with an early thumb injury and was in and out of the lineup the final few months because of the knee injury. He had platelet-rich plasma therapy, a cortisone injection and fluid drained from his knee in Los Angeles before the All-Star break.

Bradley Beal still eager to stick with Washington

Bradley Beal reconfirmed to the Washington Post that he is still leaning toward signing a multiyear deal with the Washington Wizards worth roughly $250 million this July, and in the meantime, he’s focused on rehab after having his cast removed in late April following season-ending wrist surgery in February.

“Surgery was good, recovery went well. Had no issues,” Beal said.

It will be a while before Beal gets back on the court. In his first month out of the cast, his rehab focused on regaining range of motion in his left wrist and miming his shooting form before progressing to strength work. He has been watching the NBA playoffs. He has been preparing for the arrival of his third child in the coming months. And he has been staying in touch with Tommy Sheppard, the Wizards’ president and general manager, as Sheppard prepares for June’s NBA draft.

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Locking in far more than the four years and $182 million another organization could give Beal under NBA rules looks more prudent than it has in past years given what was by his own admission a subpar performance this season.

The guard averaged 23.2 points and 6.6 assists in 40 games. His 45.1 percent shooting from the field was worst since the 2015-16 season, and his 30 percent shooting from three was the lowest of his career. Last season, he was named to an all-NBA team and was an All-Star starter for the first time.

High marks for West finals

Prior to Tuesday’s potential series-ending Game 4, TNT announced its coverage of the Western Conference finals between Golden State and Dallas has been its most watched finals coverage since 2018, averaging 6.9 million viewers.

Viewership was up 39 percent over last year’s six-game Eastern Conference finals between Atlanta and Milwaukee, and 34 percent from last year’s six-game Clippers-Suns West finals, which aired on ABC/ESPN.

Sunday’s Game 3 averaged 7.4 million viewers, cable’s most-viewed game of the season. Dallas’ 9.8 local rating was TNT’s best in that market since 2011.

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