NBA playoff scores: Nuggets stun Lakers at buzzer, Knicks rally to top 76ers and what else we learned Monday

The 2024 NBA playoffs continued Monday night with a trio of Game 2s, the final two of which came down to wild endings. The Knicks took a 2-0 lead over the 76ers at Madison Square Garden in a thrilling game that came down to the wire, with New York erasing a five-point deficit over the final 27 seconds capped by a Donte DiVincenzo 3-pointer that sent the MSG crowd through the roof. 

Elsewhere in the East, the Cavaliers jumped to a 2-0 series lead over the Magic in a lopsided victory. That series will shift back to Orlando on Thursday.

The night wrapped up in the West as the defending champion Nuggets won their 10th consecutive game against the Lakers. Denver, which swept L.A. in the Western Conference Finals last year, pulled away for a Game 1 win on Saturday night despite a combined 59 points from LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Nuggets shocked the Lakers again on Monday when Jamal Murray hit a step-back buzzer-beater over Anthony Davis to put Denver over top in Game 2.

Here are five takeaways from one of the wildest nights of playoff basketball you're likely to see for a long time.

1. Jamal Murray has ice in his veins

You'd be hard pressed to find a more lethal playoff scorer than Murray, who doesn't always have to carry his team, but is always ready to do so when the moment calls for it. There isn't a shot he can't create and convert and his nerve is unflappable. 

Murray was just 3-for-16 from the field through the first three quarters. Some shooters, good ones even, lose confidence after a start like that, but not Murray, who proceeded to go 6-of-8 for 14 points over the fourth quarter, the final two of which, of course, were the difference as Anthony Davis was powerless to defend this nasty step-back. 

2. Knicks play hero by committee

DiVincenzo goes down as the official hero as he's the one that hit the game-winner for the Knicks, but five guys had to make a heroic play for New York to pull this thing out

First, with the Knicks down by five with 27 seconds to play, Jalen Brunson, who has shot an ice cold 16-for-55 through the first two games of this series, hit the 3-pointer that cut the lead to two. Then, on the ensuing inbound, Josh Hart, the second hero, stole the ball from Tyrese Maxey and kicked it to DiVincenzo, who missed his first shot at a game-winner. 

That ends New York's night if not for Isaiah Hartenstein, the third hero who came flying in for the offensive rebound and shoveled the ball out to OG Anunoby, the fourth hero who had the good sense and poise to swing the ball right back to DiVincenzo, who wasn't going to miss twice. 

3. Jalen Brunson's struggles continue

Brunson had played in 458 career games, including the playoffs, over his six-year career entering this series, and not once had he attempted more than 25 shots in a single game. He's now done it twice, finishing 8-for-26 in Game 1 and 8-for-29 in Game 2. 

Do the math, and that's 16-for-55 over two games, including 2-of-12 from 3. It is not an exaggeration to say this is the most inefficient two-game stretch of Brunson's entire career, and Monday was most certainly his worst career playoff shooting game at 27%. And yet, the Knicks are still up 2-0 on a Sixers team that has gotten 131 combined points from Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey over the first two games. 

It's a testament to the grit of this Knicks team that plays as hard and as together as any unit in the league. And you know these struggles aren't going to last for Brunson, who has been one of the best players in the league all season. 

4. Nikola Jokic bests LeBron, AD

LeBron James finished with 26 points, 12 assists, eight rebounds, two steals and two blocks. When the Nuggets were making their run back from 20-point deficit and had it down to two, James hit two clutch triples to give the Lakers some momentary breathing room as part of his 12-point fourth quarter. 

Davis was even better with 32 points and 11 boards. At one point, he made 14 consecutive shots, including five jumpers, and he was dominant defensively. But it wasn't enough. Davis only took one shot in the fourth quarter, when he went scoreless, and by the end, Nikola Jokic, who was having a legitimately bad game for much of the night, had gotten the better of him with 27 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists. 

When it came time to win the game, Jokic took Davis and everyone else to task. 

Again, the guy was having an honest-to-god bad game. He wasn't scoring or assisting as Davis controlled the game, and he was getting so abused defensively that Denver head coach Michael Malone switched him off Davis and onto Rui Hachimura, who, in turn, started to attack and score on Jokic. 

To just flip a switch and end up with 26-20-10 is certifiably insane. Dude is the best player on earth and it's not close. 

5. Tyrese Maxey is a killer

Maxey carded 35 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds on Monday. This came after 33 points in Game 1. He is outplaying Brunson pretty clearly. He took over in Game 2 with 15 fourth-quarter points, including a massive 3-pointer with 1:09 left to put Philly up four. He hit three hold-your-breath jumpers when it felt as though every bucket was a stay of execution with the MSG crowd roaring. 

Embiid has been pretty damn good in this series, too, considering what he's dealing with in his knee, but Maxey has been Philly's best player. Those two guys have combined to score 131 points through the first two games. 

Embiid believes the Sixers should be up 2-0. He might not be wrong. They had every shot to win Game 1 and were it not for an all-time crazy sequence would've won Game 2. But they didn't. It's gut-wrenching, but that's the thin playoff line. 

2024 NBA playoffs scores: Monday, April 22

  • Cavaliers 96, Magic 86 (CLE leads series 2-0) -- (Box score)
  • Knicks 104, 76ers 101 (NYK leads series 2-0) -- (Box score)
  • Nuggets 101, Lakers 99 (DEN leads series 2-0 ) -- (Box score)

CBS Sports provided live updates, scores, highlights and analysis. Follow along below.

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Final: Nuggets 101, Lakers 99 (DEN leads series 2-0)

If you thought the Knicks-Sixers ending was wild, I'll raise you Nuggets-Lakers in the nightcap as Denver rallied from as many as 20 down to rip L.A.'s heart out with a Jamal Murray buzzer-beater. 

The Nuggets now lead the series 2-0. The Lakers had a real shot to win both. On Monday, LeBron James, who was sensational down the stretch, had a wide-open 3 in a tie game with 16 seconds left but wasn't able to convert and Murray made him pay on the other end. 

April 23, 2024, 4:40 AM
Apr. 23, 2024, 12:40 am EDT
 
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Final: Knicks 104, 76ers 101 (NYK leads series 2-0)

In an absolute disaster of a finish for the Philadelphia 76ers, the New York Knicks rallied from five down in the final 27 seconds to take a 2-0 series lead. After Tyrese Maxey, who dominated the entire fourth quarter, stuck a 3-pointer to put Philly up four with a 1:09 to go and Kyle Lowry added a free throw, Jalen Brunson, who hasn't been able to make a think through the first two games, got a friendly front-rim bounce on a 3 to cut the Knicks deficit to two with 27 seconds to play. 

Then all hell broke loose. 

Philly was unable to control the ensuing inbound pass as Maxey fwent to the ground to recover his own fumble, then instead of trying to call a timeout tried to roll the ball free. Josh Hart intercepted it, kicked to Donte DiVincenzo, who missed a 3, giving the Sixers another chance to save themselves. But they could not get the rebound. Instead Isaiah Hartenstein grabbed the board and DiVincenzo found himself with a second look at a potential game-winning 3. He didn't miss this one. 

The Sixers had one more chance but Maxey was unable to create a shot and passed to Embiid at the last second for a desperation 3, which he didn't even get off in time. And just like that, the Sixers are down 0-2 when they had that game all but in the bag. Disaster. Unless you're a Knicks fan.

April 23, 2024, 2:25 AM
Apr. 22, 2024, 10:25 pm EDT
 
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Final: Cavaliers 96, Magic 86 (CLE leads series 2-0)

The Cavaliers are one step closer to moving onto the next round of the Eastern Conference playoffs with a lopsided win over the Magic. Donovan Mitchell led the way for Cleveland, scoring 23 points on 9-of-22 shooting to go along with 8 rebounds and 4 assists. All but one of Cleveland's five starters (Max Strus) scored in double digits as the Magic had no answer for most of the game. Big man Jarrett Allen notched 20 rebounds for his Cavs team. The series will now head to Orlando, where the Magic will hope to pull out a win and turn things around, though given how Cleveland has played to this point, it seems highly unlikely barring a miracle.

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LeBron sinks two gigantic 3s

With the Lakers clinging to a two-point lead, LeBron drained a 3 on consecutive possessions to give the Lakers some breathing room. But not much. Denver has cut it back to four with a little over four minutes remaining. 

April 23, 2024, 4:21 AM
Apr. 23, 2024, 12:21 am EDT
 
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Lakers are hanging by a thread

Denver has all the energy and momentum and the Lakers are just trying to hold on with eight minutes to play and a five-point lead. This would be a gut-wrenching loss with the way Anthony Davis and the Lakers have played, but they controlled much of Game 1 as well and weren't able to close that one. It doesn't take the Nuggets long. 

April 23, 2024, 4:08 AM
Apr. 23, 2024, 12:08 am EDT
 
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Sixers will file an officiating complaint with league

April 23, 2024, 3:56 AM
Apr. 22, 2024, 11:56 pm EDT
 
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Anthony Davis is dominating 

Davis has knocked down 14 straight shots including five jumpers. He has 32 points and seven boards less than halfway through the third quarter. The Lakers are threatening to go up 20 on the Nuggets as they try to even the series 1-1 heading back to L.A. 

April 23, 2024, 3:41 AM
Apr. 22, 2024, 11:41 pm EDT
 
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Halftime: Lakers 59, Nuggets 44

  • Anthony Davis: 24 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists on 11-of-12 shooting

  • D'Angelo Russell: 18 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists on 6-of-7 3-point shooting

  • Nikola Jokic: 12 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists on 3-of-5 shooting

  • Michael Porter Jr.: 14 points, 2 rebounds on 5-of-8 shooting

It has been eventful first half in Denver as the Lakers head to the locker room with a sizable lead over the defending NBA champions. D'Angelo Russell has all but silenced the doubters with a monstrous shooting night, while Anthony Davis leads the charge in the paint. Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. are doing some heavy lifting from Denver, but the Nuggets will need Jamal Murray to step up if they want to eliminate this deficit. At the half, Murray has just 4 points on an abysmal 2-of-10 shooting. The Lakers have played extremely aggressive and have been rewarded with some clutch baskets. Of course, this is the Nuggets, after all. And nothing is certain until the final buzzer hits. 

 
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D'Angelo Russell is on fire

After a brutal Game 1, Russell has hit five of his first six 3-pointers in Game 2 as the Lakers are once again giving the Nuggets everything they can handle early. 

April 23, 2024, 2:54 AM
Apr. 22, 2024, 10:54 pm EDT
 
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End 1Q: Lakers 28, Nuggets 24 

  • Anthony Davis: 10 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist on 4-of-5 shooting

  • D'Angelo Russell: 9 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists on 3-of-3 3-point shooting

  • Nikola Jokic: 10 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals on 3-of-4 shooting

  • Michael Porter Jr.: 8 points, 1 rebound on 3-of-4 shooting

It's been a back and forth battle in Game 2 of this Western Conference Finals rematch. The Lakers have the edge at the moment, but whether they can hold on for three more quarters remains to be seen. Nikola Jokic already has a double double, which shouldn't be all too surprising at this point.

 
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D'Angelo Russell starting strong

D'Angelo Russell's against the Nuggets aren't a secret. In fact, CBS Sports' Sam Quinn wrote about them after Game 1, when it felt inevitable that Russell would play himself out of the starting lineup. And yet, in six minutes so far, Russell has 9 points on 3-of-3 3-point shooting. 

 
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LeBron showing off early vs. Nuggets

It didn't take long for LeBron James to have not one, but two highlight-worthy plays in the first quarter of Game 2 versus the Nuggets. James met Jamal Murray in the air to deny a would-be dunk, then followed that up a few moments later with a full-court dime to Anthony Davis that forced a timeout. Reminder, James is 39 years old. 

 
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Tyrese Maxey is a killer

Maxey has taken over with 15 fourth-quarter points including a massive 3-pointer with 1:09 left to put Philly up four. Just a huge performance. 

April 23, 2024, 2:03 AM
Apr. 22, 2024, 10:03 pm EDT
 
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Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers Game 2

Here's the info for Nuggets-Lakers Game 2. Tip off coming up soon in Denver.

  • Date: Monday, April 22 | Time: 10:00 p.m. ET
  • Location: Ball Arena -- Denver
  • TV channel: TNT| Live stream: TNT app
  • Odds: Nuggets -7.5; O/U 223
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Tough stretch for Sixers to close third

Philly had played New York even in the non-Embiid minutes until he existed with 4:19 to play in the third. The Knicks proceeded to outscore Philly by six with Embiid on the bench and carry a 79-74 lead into the fourth quarter. 

April 23, 2024, 1:29 AM
Apr. 22, 2024, 9:29 pm EDT
 
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Sixers continue to hold their own on the glass

Philly has out-rebounded New York offensively and defensively halfway through the third quarter. It continues to be a major development after the Knicks bludgeoned the Sixers on the offensive glass in Game 1. Mitchell Robinson had seven O-boards in Game 1 but is yet to record one in Game 2. Isaiah Hartenstein had five in Game 1 and has just two in Game 2. The Knicks had 23 O-boards in Game 1 and have just seven so far in Game 2. 

April 23, 2024, 1:12 AM
Apr. 22, 2024, 9:12 pm EDT
 
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Josh Hart is shooting out of his mind

Hart shot just 31% from 3 during the regular season and didn't have a single game in which he made four 3-pointers. So much for that. He has already made four in both games of New York's first-round series vs. the Sixers, finishing New York's Game 1 victory 4 of 8 from deep and he is 4 of 5 from deep at halftime of Game 2. 

April 23, 2024, 12:54 AM
Apr. 22, 2024, 8:54 pm EDT
 
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Jalen Suggs has returned for Orlando

After what looked like a scary injury in the first half that had him in need of his teammates' help to get off the floor, Jalen Suggs has returned for the Magic. He appeared to bang knees with Donovan Mitchell and continues to look a little gimpy, but he's grinding for an Orlando team that is in a 16-point second-half hole as it tries to avoid an 0-2 deficit in the series. 

April 23, 2024, 12:49 AM
Apr. 22, 2024, 8:49 pm EDT
 
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Halftime - 76ers 53, Knicks 49 

  • Tyrese Maxey: 20 points and five assists on 7-of-11 shooting (4 of 7 from 3)

  • Joel Embiid: 16 points, 10 rebounds and three assists on 6-of-14 shooting

  • Josh Hart: 19 points and nine rebounds on 7-of-13 shooting (4 of 5 from 3)

  • Jalen Brunson: 13 points on 4-of-14 shooting

Knicks lead the series 1-0. 

April 23, 2024, 12:46 AM
Apr. 22, 2024, 8:46 pm EDT
 
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Sixers winning non-Embiid minutes

OK, they're not technically winning them. But in just over five minutes with Embiid on the bench in Game 2, the Sixers have played the Knicks to a draw. That's a major win for a Sixers team that was outscored by 21 points in the 11 minutes Embiid didn't play in Game 1. 

April 23, 2024, 12:32 AM
Apr. 22, 2024, 8:32 pm EDT
 
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Hart, Brunson role reversal

The Knicks are having a difficult time generating offense in Game 2. Jalen Brunson, who was lights out all season, had a down shooting game in the opener and he's 2 of 9 to start this one. The lone bright spot has been Josh Hart, who commands almost zero defensive respect as a shooter yet is 2 of 3 from downtown after hitting four 3s in Game 1. New York trails 36-29 in the second quarter. 

April 23, 2024, 12:21 AM
Apr. 22, 2024, 8:21 pm EDT
 
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Halftime - Cavaliers 58, Magic 44 

  • Franz Wagner: 17 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist on 5-of-11 shooting

  • Donovan Mitchell: 19 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists on 7-of-14 shooting

  • Paolo Banchero: 6 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists on 3-of-8 shooting

  • Caris LeVert: 8 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists on 3-of-6 shooting 

The Cavaliers enter the half shooting 48.7%, including 40% from three-point land. The Magic have only converted five of 19 3-point attempts (26.3% shooting). Cleveland leads the series 1-0. 

 
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Philly limiting New York's offensive boards

After giving up 23 offensive rebounds in Game 1, which left them outscored 26-8 in second-chance points, the 76ers have allowed just two offensive rebounds and two second-chance points to the Knicks through the first quarter in Game 2. That's a major part of the Sixers being up 25-18 after one quarter as they try to even the series 1-1. 

April 23, 2024, 12:07 AM
Apr. 22, 2024, 8:07 pm EDT
 
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Donovan Mitchell has it going again

After putting up 30 points in Cleveland's Game 1 victory, Mitchell is off to a fast start in Game 2 with 16 less than halfway through the second quarter. A major storyline in this series is whether Mitchell would be able to consistently penetrate Orlando's stout defense led by Jalen Suggs at the point of attack. Well, Suggs is now out with what looked like a scary knee injury, and Mitchell wasn't having too much trouble before that anyway. Great sign for the Cavs, who are up by 15 as they try to take a commanding 2-0 lead in this series. 

April 22, 2024, 11:54 PM
Apr. 22, 2024, 7:54 pm EDT
 
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Jalen Suggs is down and in serious pain

Jalen Suggs is getting helped off the court for the Orlando Magic right now. The injury came when he was trying to defend Donovan Mitchell. At first it looked like the two of them simply banged knees, but replay showed his leg bend at an unusual angle. He couldn't put any weight on that ankle, and no Markelle Fultz is in the game for him. Suggs, a Most Improved Player candidate, is on track to be chosen for All-Defense this season. The Magic, already trailing 1-0 in this series, now have their work cut out for them without him.

April 22, 2024, 11:29 PM
Apr. 22, 2024, 7:29 pm EDT
 
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New York Knicks vs. Philadelphia 76ers Game 2 info

Tip off is just a few minutes away at Madison Square Garden.

  • Date: Monday, April 22 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: Madison Square Garden -- New York City
  • TV channel: TNT
  • Odds: Knicks -5; O/U 208.5
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Cavaliers vs. Magic Game 2 info

Game 2 is tipping off in Cleveland. Here's how to watch:

  • Date: Monday, April 22 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • Location: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse -- Cleveland, Ohio
  • TV channel: NBA TV | Live streamfubo (try for free)
  • Odds: Cavaliers -5.5 | O/U 203.5
Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game One
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Embiid, Maxey playing Game 2

Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey are a go for Game 2. Yahoo's Chris Haynes reported the news about both players. 

Embiid was questionable after re-injuring his knee on Saturday in Game 1. He was terrific in the first half but went 2-for-11 in the second half after landing awkwardly on a dunk. Maxey missed shootaround today and was questionable with an illness, but he'll be on the floor as Philly tries to even up the series vs. the Knicks. Maxey, the 76ers' most important perimeter player, had 33 points on 14-of-26 shooting in Saturday's Game 1 loss.

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Embiid, Maxey game-time decisions for 76ers

The 76ers' two All-Stars are both questionable heading into tonight's Game 2 against the Knicks. Joel Embiid is nursing a knee issue after he reaggravated a knee injury in Saturday's Game 1 loss. Maxey, meanwhile, is questionable with an illness and missed shootaround this morning at Madison Square Garden.

Maxey is at MSG tonight, however, and is hoping to play.

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