NBA playoff tracker: Clippers finally wake up, while Jayson Tatum drops 50 on Nets

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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 Friday's games.

Clippers erase 19-point deficit to win Game 3

The Los Angeles Clippers may have finally woken up.

Facing a potential 3-0 series hole and an actual 30-11 deficit in the first quarter, the Clippers found the kind of life that has eluded them in the playoffs since taking that fateful 3-1 lead last year. And now they’re back in the series, thanks to a 118-108 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.

The Mavericks still lead 2-1 in the series.

The game opened eventfully, with the Mavericks racing out to an 11-0 lead and only building from there. At that point, the game was more reminiscent of a certain regular season game, in which the Mavericks built up a 50-point halftime lead, than an actual playoff game.

The Clippers responded with a 14-0 run to make the game respectable again, and had a lead by the midpoint of the second quarter. Powering the Clippers were star-level performances from Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Leonard finished with 36 points on 13-of-17 shooting with eight rebounds, while George posted 29 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

All of that was needed to fight off another incredible night from Luka Doncic, who had 44 points, nine rebounds and nine assists and seemed to score at will in the first half. The Mavericks star faded a bit down the stretch, though, and a 7-of-13 night at the free throw line cost some points.

The Clippers eventually built up a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter and held on for what was likely a season-saving win; no NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in a series. The loss also ends one of the more curious statistical anomalies of the season, as the Mavericks entered the game 29-0 when leading after the first quarter. Somehow that streak ended after a first quarter in which they led by as much as 19. 

Game 4 is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. ET on Sunday in Dallas.

Celtics star Jayson Tatum drops 50 points to defeat Nets in Game 3

Jayson Tatum was the best player on the floor in a playoff game against the star-laden Brooklyn Nets.

The Boston Celtics forward scored a game-high 50 points in Game 3 of their first-round series, adding seven assists and six rebounds in a 125-119 win. His brilliance outshined Kyrie Irving's dreadful return to Boston, where the Brooklyn star made his first appearance in front of Celtics fans since leaving the team.

Boston withstood 80 combined points from Kevin Durant and James Harden. The Nets lead the series, 2-1.

Tatum hit the 50-point mark for the fourth time since April 9. Friday marked his career playoff high. He also scored 50 in the seventh-seeded Celtics' play-in win over the Washington Wizards. His 50th point against the Nets came on a 19-foot dagger that ended any chance of a Brooklyn comeback with 41.8 seconds left.

Midway through the third quarter, Brooklyn took its first and only lead of the second half on Irving's third basket in eight tries. Boston responded with a 24-6 run, capped by eight straight points from Tatum. The 23-year-old Celtics star hunted mismatches and attacked the basket all night, targeting Irving, Nicolas Claxton and Blake Griffin to routine success. Tatum scored 19 points in the third quarter on just eight shots.

Irving finished with 16 points, but was a non-factor through three quarters, when he had only eight points on 13 shots. He was booed by the Boston crowd on every touch. Chants ranged from "Kyrie sucks" to "f*** you Kyrie" throughout the game, and Irving actually egged on the crowd during the most raucous of them.

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In his postgame press conference following Brooklyn's win in Game 2 on Tuesday night, Irving called for "no belligerence or any racism going on — subtle racism and people yelling s*** from the crowd" in Boston.

With Kemba Walker also struggling, the Celtics got boosts from Tristan Thompson (19 points, 13 rebounds) and Marcus Smart (23 points, six assists). Nine of Thompson's boards came on the offensive end. Boston made 16 of its 39 3-point attempts, including five each from Tatum and Smart and four from Evan Fournier.

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Game 4 is scheduled for Sunday in Boston at 7 p.m. ET.

Trae Young gets first home playoff win vs. Knicks

The Atlanta Hawks' first playoff home game since 2017 went as Trae Young promised.

Behind another impressive performance from the All-Star point guard, the Hawks defeated the New York Knicks 105-94 in Game 3 on Friday to take a 2-1 series lead in the first round. 

Young had promised the Knicks and their raucous fans he would "See you in the A" after a Game 2 loss, and he followed through with 21 points and 14 assists, the latter mark a playoff career high.

The first half of the game saw 10 different lead changes, but finally swung to the Hawks' advantage midway through the second quarter. Atlanta closed the first half on a 22-5 run, with Young's passing carving up the Knicks' defense.

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The second half ended up being more of the same, with the Knicks never cutting the lead to below double digits.

As strong a night as it was for Young, it was that bad for Knicks star Julius Randle. The 2021 Most Improved Player winner shot a miserable 2-of-15 from the field for 14 points. Derrick Rose picked up plenty of slack with 30 points, six rebounds and five assists, but it wasn't close to enough.

All of that added up to the most one-sided game in one of the most entertaining series of the NBA playoffs so far, and the Hawks are now in position to take a commanding lead in Game 4. A win would give them a 3-1 lead with a chance to end the series in Madison Square Garden, something Young would surely relish at this point.

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Game 4 is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET on Sunday in Atlanta.

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