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Jimmy Butler had 47 points, nine rebounds and eight assists and the Miami Heat forced the Eastern Conference finals to a decisive seventh game by beating the Boston Celtics 111-103 on Friday night. Ten years after LeBron James scored 45 points in Boston to help the Heat avoid elimination in Game 6 of the conference finals en route to the first of their back-to-back NBA titles, Butler had 17 points in the fourth quarter to top him and send the series back to Miami.  With a victory at home Sunday, the Heat would advance to the NBA Finals for the second time in three years. Jayson Tatum had 30 points and nine rebounds for Boston.

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A person with knowledge of the decision says Darvin Ham has accepted an offer to be the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. The person spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been publicly announced. The 48-year-old Ham is getting his first head coaching job as the 28th coach of the Lakers. He has been an assistant to Mike Budenholzer with the Bucks since 2018, playing a role in their run to the 2021 NBA title. Ham was an assistant with the Lakers from 2011-13.

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Heat guard Tyler Herro remained sidelined because of a strained left groin as Miami tries to stave off elimination in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. The reigning sixth man of the year hasn’t played since Game 3 of the Heat’s matchup with the Celtics. Miami coach Erik Spoelstra says Herro has made progress and wants to play, but that this was deemed to be the most responsible decision. Boston coach Boston's Marcus Smart (sprained right ankle) and Robert Williams III (left knee soreness) tested their injuries pregame and are available to play.

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Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green picked up where they left off last time they were healthy in the postseason. The star trio that has been the core of a dynasty for Golden State got the Warriors back to the NBA Finals for the sixth time in eight years by beating Dallas 120-110 in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals. The Warriors are the fourth franchise in NBA history to make six Finals appearances in eight years and the first since Michael Jordan's Bulls did it in the 1990s.

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Klay Thompson shimmied his way to 32 points and the Golden State Warriors advanced to their sixth NBA Finals in the past eight seasons by beating the Dallas Mavericks 120-110 in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals. Thompson scored 19 points in the first half, including a 3-pointer that he punctuated with teammate Stephen Curry’s signature shake as the Warriors raced out to a 17-point halftime lead and coasted the rest of the way. Luka Doncic overcame a slow start to score 28 points to lead the Mavericks.

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The New Orleans Pelicans have announced that forward Zion Williamson has been cleared to play this offseason without any restrictions after recent imaging on the fifth metatarsal in his right foot showed continued improvement. Barring any setbacks, that should pave the way for Williamson’s return next season after missing all of this NBA season. There was hope Williamson might return for New Orleans’ first-round playoff series against Phoenix after progressing to playing 5 on 5 games with Pelicans’ staffers in April, but that never materialized. The Pelicans made the playoffs but lost in six games after winning two games in the play-in tournament. Williamson, the No. 1 overall pick out of Duke in 2019, has been limited to 85 games in three seasons due to injuries.

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The Celtics' confidence is high after seizing a 3-2 Eastern Conference finals lead over top seed Miami. Boston is also mindful of how fast series can change at this point, having rallied from a series deficit to eliminate the Milwaukee Bucks in the semifinal round. Miami has struggled mightily in back-to-back losses, but says it isn't making excuses, even with star Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry struggling to make shots and sparkplug Tyler Herro sidelined the past two games with a groin injury. History is on the Celtics' side. Teams taking a 3-2 lead have gone on to win the series 83.8% of the time.

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Jaylen Brown scored 25 points, Jayson Tatum added 22 and the Boston Celtics moved to the brink of a berth in the NBA Finals, running away after halftime to beat the Miami Heat 93-80 and take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference title series. Al Horford had 16 points and Derrick White added 14 for the Celtics. Tatum finished with 12 rebounds and nine assists. Bam Adebayo scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Heat, who shot 32% in the game — after shooting 33% in Boston’s 20-point win in Game 4. Gabe Vincent added 15, Jimmy Butler had 13 and Duncan Robinson scored 11.

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Tyler Herro’s strained left groin forced the Miami Heat to rule him out of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night. It was the second consecutive game that Herro has needed to miss because of the injury. He was the NBA's sixth man of the year this season. Herro has averaged 13.5 points  in the playoffs on 41% shooting. That's down considerably from his regular-season numbers of 20.7 points on nearly 45% shooting.

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The Golden State Warriors find themselves in familiar territory after failing to close out a series on the road. For the third straight series, the Warriors lost their first chance to advance while playing on the road but they can make it to their sixth NBA Finals in the past eight years by finishing off the Dallas Mavericks at home in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals on Thursday night. The Warriors managed to rebound after those slipups in the first two rounds against Denver and Memphis and are hoping for a repeat after losing 119-109 at Dallas in Game 4.

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The Golden State Warriors look to clinch the Western Conference finals over the Dallas Mavericks in game five. The teams meet for the ninth time this season. Golden State is 33-19 against the Western Conference, and Dallas is 36-16 against conference opponents.

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Luka Doncic had 30 points and 14 rebounds as the Dallas Mavericks avoided being swept with a 119-109 victory over Golden State in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals. Dorian Finney-Smith had 23 points and Reggie Bullock had 18 points for Dallas on 6-of-10 shooting after missing all 10 of his shots in Game 3. Stephen Curry had 20 for Golden State. The loss snapped the Warriors’ nine-game winning streak in Western Conference finals games. But they are still firmly in control of this series. Game 5 is Thursday night in California. No NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven series.

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The start of the second half of Game 4 of the Western Conference finals was delayed 16 minutes because of rain leaking through the roof at the American Airlines Center. With heavy rain falling outside Tuesday night, there were at least two leaks. One dropped water near the Golden State bench. There was another leak at the end of the court where the Dallas Mavericks bench is, though water there appeared to be falling in the stands. Both teams had already warmed up for the second half before the leaks were noticed and workers went to try to patch the leaks. An extra five minutes was added for warmups.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo, fellow two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic, Devin Booker and Jayson Tatum were voted first-team All-NBA, the first time in 67 years all five players were age 27 or younger. Milwaukee's Antetokounmpo was the only player to receive all 100 possible first-team votes and finished with 500 points in his fourth consecutive first-team selection. Denver's Jokic and Dallas' Doncic each received 88 first-team votes and 476 points. Doncic joined Tim Duncan, Kevin Durant and Max Zaslofsky as the only players to make the first team three or more times before turning 24, while Phoenix's Booker and Boston's Tatum both were first-time selections to the first team.

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Chicago Bulls guard Zach Lavine underwent left knee arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday. 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. The Bulls lost in the first round of the playoffs to Milwaukee. 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. The Bulls can offer a max contract worth more than $210 million over five years.

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The Eastern Conference finals between the Heat and Celtics are as close as can be, heading back to Miami all tied up at two wins apiece. But the individual games have been anything but. Boston scored 18 of the first 19 points in Game 4 on the way to a 102-82 victory. The Celtics led by as many as 32 in the third quarter. That's a big gap, even for a series that has been full of them. Game 5 is Wednesday night.

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The Miami Heat host the Boston Celtics in game five of the Eastern Conference finals with the series tied 2-2. The teams meet for the eighth time this season. Miami is 35-17 against the Eastern Conference, and Boston is 33-19 against conference opponents.

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Jayson Tatum scored 31 points and the Boston Celtics took their turn pounding the Miami Heat early. Boston jumped out to a 26-4 lead and cruised to a 102-82 victory that evened the Eastern Conference finals at two games apiece. Miami missed 15 of its first 16 shots in the second straight game that was all but over after 12 minutes. The Heat led 39-18 after the first quarter of Game 3 of this bizarre series in which no game has been close down the stretch. Game 5 is Wednesday in Miami. Victor Oladipo led the Heat with 23 points.

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Celtics point guard and Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart was ruled out for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals against Miami. He joined Heat guard Tyler Herro on the sidelines. The Celtics said about an hour before the scheduled tipoff that Smart was out with a sprained right ankle. The Heat ruled Herro, who has a groin strain, out earlier in the day. Boston coach Ime Udoka said All-Star forward Jayson Tatum would play. Center Robert Williams III was also listed as available on the pregame injury report. Miami leads the best-of-seven series 2-1.

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The Minnesota Timberwolves have brought in Denver Nuggets President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly to take a similar role. Connelly steadily built the Nuggets into a perennial playoff contender behind draft picks such as two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic. Connelly will be looking to do the same with a Timberwolves team led by Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards. The Timberwolves are coming off a 46-win season and their first playoff appearance since 2018. They took the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies to six games before being eliminated.

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