NBA Playoffs: Butler, James carry their teams to Monday wins


Jimmy Butler scored 56 points to lead Miami. LeBron James sent a game to overtime and then finished off a win.

The stars showed up on Monday night in the NBA.

Butler broke James’ Heat playoff single-game scoring record in leading Miami past Milwaukee — and giving the Heat a 3-1 lead over the NBA’s top overall seed. James had 22 points and 20 rebounds to carry the Los Angeles Lakers past Memphis for a 3-1 lead in that series.


There are three teams that can advance on Tuesday, all of them playing at home with 3-1 series leads. Boston hosts Atlanta, Denver hosts Minnesota and Phoenix hosts the Los Angeles Clippers.

Atlanta’s Dejounte Murray will be out for Game 5, serving a one-game suspension for bumping an official at the end of Game 4. The Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard is also listed as out for Game 5 because of his ongoing knee problem.

There are three other possible clinchers Wednesday, all on the road — fifth-seeded New York takes its 3-1 lead to fourth-seeded Cleveland and eighth-seeded Miami takes its 3-1 lead to top-seeded Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference, and seventh-seeded Los Angeles Lakers bring a 3-1 edge to second-seeded Memphis in the Western Conference.

There is also a Game 5 on Wednesday in the Golden State-Sacramento series, which is tied 2-2.


— Tuesday’s Atlanta-Boston and Clippers-Phoenix games are on TNT, and the Minnesota-Denver game is on NBA TV.

— Wednesday’s Lakers-Memphis and Golden State-Sacramento games are on TNT. The New York-Cleveland and Miami-Milwaukee games are on NBA TV.

— All those games will also be available through a team’s usual local broadcaster.

— The NBA Finals will be broadcast on ABC beginning June 1.


We started finding out those answers last week when the league office began announcing award winners. Another award comes Tuesday, when Rookie of the Year — finalists are Orlando’s Paolo Banchero, Utah’s Walker Kessler and Oklahoma City’s Jalen Williams — gets announced.

The NBA has not said when the MVP award — finalists are Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Denver’s Nikola Jokic and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo — will be announced.

The other winners so far this year:

— April 17: Memphis’ Jaren Jackson Jr. won defensive player of the year, with Milwaukee’s Brook Lopez finishing second and Cleveland’s Evan Mobley placing third.

— April 18: De’Aaron Fox of Sacramento was revealed as the inaugural winner of the new Clutch Player award. Miami’s Jimmy Butler was second and Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan was third.

— April 19: Sacramento’s Mike Brown got all the first-place votes, making him the first unanimous Coach of the Year. Oklahoma City’s Mark Daigneault was second and Boston’s Joe Mazzulla was third.

— April 20: Boston’s Malcolm Brogdon won Sixth Man of the Year, a race where Milwaukee’s Bobby Portis Jr. and New York’s Immanuel Quickley were the other finalists.

— Monday: Utah’s Lauri Markkanen was the easy winner of Most Improved Player, outpointing Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and New York’s Jalen Brunson.


Miami’s third win of its series against Milwaukee was the 99th of coach Erik Spoelstra’s playoff career.

He’s now one away from being the fourth coach to win 100 playoff games with one franchise — Gregg Popovich has won 170 with San Antonio; Phil Jackson won 118 with Chicago and 111 with the Los Angeles Lakers; and Heat President Pat Riley won 102 in his time with the Lakers.

Besides Popovich, Jackson and Riley, the only other coaches with 100 playoff wins are Larry Brown (who coached eight teams) and Doc Rivers (who is coaching his fourth team).


“I think we’re witnessing a guy who’s continues to be in his prime and is playing at a level of basketball that not many players can get to. And you have to just kind of sometimes sit back and appreciate it.” — Heat guard Kyle Lowry, after Jimmy Butler’s 56-point game Monday night in Miami’s win over Milwaukee.


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