Skip to main content


Plenty of intrigue in NBA playoff tripleheader tonight on TSN

Paul George Luke Doncic Los Angeles Clippers Dallas Mavericks Paul George Luka Doncic - The Canadian Press

Three more games fill the NBA playoff schedule Friday night and for the first time since the postseason began last weekend, four different teams are fighting to take a series lead.

The Bucks and Pacers are even at one game apiece and so are the Clippers and Mavericks in their series, setting the stage for a pair of pivotal Game 3s Friday. In the third game, the Suns will look to keep their season from hitting life support as they face an 0-2 hole against the Timberwolves.

Watch the Bucks and Pacers at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT on TSN4, and the TSN App. Next, see the Clippers and Mavs at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on TSN4, TSN5, and the TSN App, immediately followed by the Timberwolves and Suns with the same programming details.

The health of star players has dominated headlines throughout the playoffs and it’s no different Friday for the Bucks. Milwaukee could be without Khris Middleton in addition to Giannis Antetokounmpo, a scary thought considering the Pacers’ 17-point win in Game 2 even with Damian Lillard dropping 34 points.

Now that the series has shifted back to Indianapolis with the Pacers earning a split to snatch home-court advantage, Milwaukee’s margin for error is considerably smaller if they’re without two of their top guns.

Middleton’s sprained right ankle kept him from practising Thursday and has him officially listed as questionable for Game 3. Antetokounmpo was officially ruled out early Friday afternoon, confirming he would miss his sixth straight game with a calf strain.

“It’s another holding-our-breath situation,” Bucks head coach Doc Rivers said of the injuries. “Honestly, I don’t know.”

Rivers added Antetokounmpo was doing more in practice on Thursday, but he remains unsure of a return date.

Lillard scored all 35 of his points before halftime in the opener and poured in 26 of his 34 in the first two quarters in Game 2, but was outdone by Pascal Siakam, who followed up a 36-point Game 1 with 37 on Tuesday night.

“We’ve got to be the hungry team," Siakam said. “We’ve got to be the team that’s coming in and wanting to show something. That’s the attitude that we’ve got to have against those guys, because they’ve done it before.”

Over to Dallas, where the Mavericks are looking to build on an energizing 96-93 victory Tuesday night against the Clippers in Game 2. After calling his team out for “passive” play during a Game 1 loss, Mavs head coach Jason Kidd was much more pleased with his team’s effort as they evened their series at one game apiece.

“We played 48 minutes of physical basketball,” he said. “Both teams were under 100. It was ‘90s basketball at its best.”

The duo of Luka Doncic (32) and Kyrie Irving (23) combined for 55 of Dallas’ 96 points and P.J. Washington added 18, helping the Mavs hold off a suddenly healthy Clippers side.

Kawhi Leonard made his return in Game 2 after being sidelined since March 31 with inflammation in his surgically repaired right knee. The two-time NBA Finals MVP had 15 points and seven rebounds in 35 minutes and said he felt healthy, if a tad out of rhythm.

“I felt good. We still got more games to play and more time to get better. Just keep trying to get a rhythm back.”

“Kawhi is one of the best in the world,” teammate Paul George said. “He's going to find his rhythm and we're going to find our rhythm around him.”

With a pivotal Game 3 on the road Friday night, L.A. is hoping it comes back sooner rather than later.

Game 1 of the Suns/Timberwolves series was all about Anthony Edwards. The former No. 1 overall pick blew the game open with 18 points in the third quarter, highlighted by a passionate exchange with Kevin Durant that felt it could be a legacy moment down the line.

Game 2 was a different story as Edwards struggled offensively, shooting just 3-of-12 for 15 points. But one similarity? The T-Wolves won both games easily, taking a 2-0 series lead with a pair of double-digit victories.

Jaden McDaniels led Minnesota offensively Tuesday night with a game-high 25 points, finishing as a plus-24 in the 105-93 victory. On the flip side, the Suns’ big three of Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal combined to go just 18-of-45 from the field with all three finishing well below their season scoring average. That trio played just 14 games with one another during the regular season and went an encouraging 10-4, but are in an 0-2 hole so far in the first round against a T-Wolves team that doesn’t have many weaknesses, setting up what figures to be a must-win Game 3 in Phoenix Friday night.

“You can talk all you want, but if you don't execute what you just talked about, it does you no good,” Durant said. "Talking and rah-rah speeches are cool to a certain point, but you've got to go out there and execute.

“We haven't done that. We've done it in spurts, don't get me wrong, but it's not good enough doing it in spurts.”