NBA playoffs scores, takeaways: Pacers outlast Bucks in OT, Mavs win heated Game 3 and Wolves take 3-0 lead

The 2024 NBA playoffs continued Friday with a trio of Game 3s. Thursday night provided plenty of action, and Friday was no different. 

Pacers vs. Bucks kicked off the night with Indiana and Pascal Siakam gaining a a 2-1 advantage over the Giannis Antetokounmpo-less Bucks in overtime. Elsewhere in the West, the Mavericks won a second straight over the Clippers to move up to 2-1. In the nightcap, the Timberwolves took a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Suns in Phoenix.

After an uneven night in the NBA, here are three takeaways from Friday:

Game of the postseason?

The Knicks' Game 2 comeback against the 76ers might still be the leader in the clubhouse, but the Pacers and Bucks put in a solid entry for best game of the postseason on Friday night. Khris Middleton made a ridiculous 3-pointer with less than two seconds left in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime, then BANKED in another one from the top of the key with just under seven seconds left in overtime to tie the game once again.

But ultimately, it was Tyrese Haliburton who played the hero, getting a full head of steam from the backcourt to deliver a swift, nasty crossover, before hitting an and-one floater for the game-winner.

And those are just a few of the highlights. Our Jack Maloney ranked the five craziest moments from the game for you in case you missed it – or just want to relive it.

Tempers flare in Dallas

The Mavericks controlled their Game 3 win over the Clippers from pretty much the start of the second quarter, but there was plenty of extracurricular activities before the final whistle. It started with a flagrant foul from Russell Westbrook, who hit the head of Mavs forward Josh Green on a dunk attempt.

Later, Mavs forward PJ Washington got into it with Clippers wing Terance Mann, earning both players technical fouls. After the game Washington said that Mann was "mad" that he kept looking at the Clippers' bench. So, of course, Washington posted up with crossed arms and glared at the Clippers' bench from midcourt to conclude the altercation.

Finally, all the undercards came to a head with the main event, when Westbrook delivered a hard foul on Luka Doncic in the fourth quarter, leading to plenty of shoving and eventual ejections for both Westbrook and Washington.

We'll see if there's any further punishment from the league, but either way the Clippers find themselves in a 2-1 hole heading into Sunday's Game 4.

Suns are done

No NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series, and the Suns have shown us absolutely zero evidence that they can be the first. They were thoroughly outplayed in a must-win game at home on Friday night, completely unable to get stops against a Timberwolves team that finished 17th in the league in offensive efficiency this season.

The major question now becomes what happens to this Phoenix "superteam," which was built for title contention and instead is on the verge of being swept in the first round. Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal are all signed through at least the 2025-26 season, and their salaries give the front office little flexibility to upgrade an already unstable roster. Are we looking at another trade demand from Durant? Would Beal waive his no-trade clause after a disappointing season? We'll have to wait to find out, but this summer gets a whole lot more interesting with the impending demise of the Suns.

NBA playoffs scores: Friday, April 26

  • Pacers 121, Bucks 118 OT (IND leads 2-1) -- Box score
  • Mavericks 101, Clippers 90 (DAL leads 2-1) -- Box score
  • Timberwolves 126, Suns 109 (MIN leads 3-0 ) -- Box score

CBS Sports provided live updates, analysis and highlights throughout Friday slate. Follow along below.

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Final: Timberwolves 126, Suns 109

While it was close at the half, the Timberwolves took charge and never looked back. Minnesota now has a 3-0 series advantage and will look for a sweep on Sunday. The Suns and their "Big Three" find themselves looking at early vacation and potential sweep. Anthony Edwards led the way for the Wolves, dropping 36 points to go along with 9 rebounds and 5 assists. Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert each chipped in 18 and 19 points, respectively. As for Phoenix, its lauded trio of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal contributed double-digit figures, but the rest of its starting lineup only had three points. 

 
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Final: Mavericks 101, Clippers 90

Who says lopsided wins can't be exciting? Certainly not either of these two teams, because despite the final score, late drama helped keep things interesting until the final buzzer. Kyrie Irving, who had 19 second half points, and Luka Doncic (22 points) helped Dallas gain a 2-1 series lead over Los Angeles. For the Clippers, it was a not-so-good night for their big stars. Paul George put up a measly 7 points on 3-of-11 shooting, while Kawhi Leonard chipped in just 9 in only 25 minutes of play. For his part, James Harden contributed 21, though the Clippers would like to sooner forget about Russell Westbrook's 1-point performance and ejection. 

The series will stay in Dallas on Sunday, when the Mavericks look to jump ahead to 3-1. 

 
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Final: Pacers 121, Bucks 118 (OT)

Middleton had no more magic left, and his shot at the buzzer came up short to give the Pacers a thrilling overtime win in Game 3 and a 2-1 series lead. Just an awesome game, as the Bucks fell down big early but refused to give up and eventually forced overtime. Tyrese Haliburton, though, had the last laugh, as his and-one in the final seconds of the extra frame won it for the Pacers. 

Haliburton recorded a triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 16 assists, while Myles Turner had a playoff-career-high 29 points and nine rebounds. 

Khris Middleton led the Bucks with a valiant 42 points, 10 rebounds and five assists despite a sprained ankle. Ultimately, it was not enough, as Damian Lillard had his worst game of the series, shooting 6-of-20 from the field. 

Game 4 is set for Sunday evening. 

April 27, 2024, 12:39 AM
Apr. 26, 2024, 8:39 pm EDT
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Halftime: Timberwolves 59, Suns 53

  • Anthony Edwards: 16 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal
  • Karl-Anthony Edwards: 10 points, 8 rebounds, 1 steal 
  • Kevin Durant: 14 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists
  • Devin Booker: 9 points, 4 assists, 1 steal 

It's been a back-and-forth contest so far at the Footprint Center in Phoenix. The Timberwolves have the advantage at the half, though we'll see if they'll be able to maintain it by the final buzzer. 

 
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End 1Q: Timberwolves 34, Suns 32

  • Anthony Edwards: 12 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists
  • Karl-Anthony Towns: 10 points, 4 rebounds
  • Kevin Durant: 9 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist
  • Devin Booker: 5 points, 2 assists

It has been a surprisingly tight one in Friday's nightcap, though that might have more to do with the slow start by either team's starters. With the Suns' backs against the wall, they'll look to turn things up before halftime to avoid a potential 0-3 hole. 

 
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Well, that escalated quickly 

With only a handful of minutes left in this blowout, both Russell Westbrook and PJ Washington have been ejected from the remainder of the contest following a foul to Luka Doncic that turned into a shoving match. 

So much for a drama-free ending to this one, folks. 

 
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All Mavs to start the fourth

A Kyrie Irving dagger 3-pointer and a massive Daniel Gafford block on Paul George's dunk attempt might have sealed this for the Mavericks. They've built a 17-point lead with 10 minutes remaining and have all the momentum right now. The Clippers look dead in the water, but always have the talent for one last run.

 
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PG's impossible shot

 
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End of 3rd quarter - Mavericks 78, Clippers 67

  • Luka Doncic: 19 pts, 8 ast, 8 reb, 2 stl
  • Dereck Lively II: 13 pts, 2 blk, 6-8 FG
  • Kyrie Irving: 10 pts, 5 ast, 4 reb, 4 fouls
  • Ivica Zubac: 19 pts, 8 reb, 8-11 FG
  • James Harden: 16 pts, 4 ast, 4-6 3P
  • Norman Powell: 14 pts, 4 reb
  • Kawhi Leonard/Paul George: 7 pts each
 
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Mavs answer Clips run

It looked like the Clippers were seizing momentum by cutting the lead to six points, but Dallas answered immediately with a nice move by Daniel Gafford and a pull-up 3-pointer by Kyrie Irving (who has been out due to foul trouble). The Clippers' third-quarter defense has kept them in the game, but they're going to need much more offensively if they're going to mount another comeback.

 
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Two dunks for Kawhi

He still looks a bit hampered, but Leonard had two dunks in the span of a couple minutes, which shows that his explosion may be coming back after (while?) dealing with knee inflammation. He's now up to seven points and five rebounds in 15 minutes. The big question will be how long he stays in the game in the second half after playing just 10 first-half minutes.

 
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Foul trouble for both teams

Kyrie Irving just picked up his fourth foul for the Mavs, while Paul George and Terance Mann have three for the Clippers. Obviously Irving and George are two of the most important players on the floor, but there's some added danger for the Clippers since Kawhi Leonard has been ineffective in limited minutes. They're going to need George to have a big game to get back in this, and that's going to be hard to do if he picks up any more fouls. Mann is also one of the primary defenders on Luka Doncic, so losing him would create some problems.

 
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Halftime - Mavericks 54, Clippers 41

  • Dereck Lively II: 13 pts, 2 blk, 6-6 FG
  • Luka Doncic: 14 pts, 6 ast, 6 reb, 2 stl
  • Ivica Zubac: 10 pts, 4 reb, 5-7 FG
  • James Harden: 14 pts, 3 ast, 4-5 3P
  • Kawhi Leonard: 3 pts, 2 reb, 10 min
  • Paul George: 5 pts, 3 fouls
 
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Lillard potentially injured his Achilles 

While Damian Lillard was able to return and play the rest of the game after an apparent injury early, it was clear that he was compromised in some way. Throughout that overtime period, Lillard often deferred to Middleton for shots, and now we know why. Speaking to reporters head coach Doc Rivers said, "I think it's his Achilles again, so we'll see," when asked about Lillard. He then added, "Honestly, Dame was really struggling. In the overtime, he literally said, 'I'll be the decoy. I just can't go as far as explosion.' So I thought Dame just being out there was huge for us." 

It would be a massive blow for Milwaukee's chances to advance should Lillard have to miss any time. As it stands, the Bucks have already had to make due without Giannis Antetokounmpo (calf) and Khris Middleton (ankle) is playing at less than 100 percent. Milwaukee heads into Sunday's game down 2-1. 

 
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Mavs centers dominating

Dereck Lively II and Daniel Gafford have been everything the Mavs need them to be in the first half, combining for 16 points, four rebounds and three blocks. They've created vertical spacing as lob threats and protected the rim on the other end, and are a huge reason why Dallas has been able to open up a lead.

 
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Video of Westbrook flagrant foul

 
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Kawhi sits for a while

It looks like Kawhi Leonard will check in for the first time since the six-minute mark of the first quarter following the timeout. That will put him at around 12 minutes for the first half, and you have to think that was the plan. Keeping his minutes low in the first half could allow the Clippers to make sure Kawhi is on the floor for the important minutes in the fourth quarter. The Clippers gave up a 9-0 Mavs run while he was on the bench.

 
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End of 1st quarter - Clippers 23, Mavericks 18

  • Ivica Zubac: 6 pts, 2 reb, 3-4 FG
  • Paul George/James Harden: 5 pts each
  • Kawhi Leonard: 3 pts, 2 reb
  • Daniel Gafford: 6 pts, 3 reb, 3-4 FG
  • Dereck Lively II: 6 pts, 3-3 FG
  • Luka Doncic/Kyrie Irving: 2 pts each
 
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Luka returns

The Dallas faithful are thanking whatever higher power they believe in as Luka Doncic returns to the game following a trip to the locker room. Whatever the ailment was must not be enough to keep him out of Game 3.

 
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Luka Doncic heads to locker room

Doncic exited the game and appeared to be grabbing his knee as he limped to the bench to be checked out by the Mavs' staff. He then made his way to the locker room. We'll have to wait and see whether the superstar guard is able to return.

 
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Haliburton puts the Pacers back in front

The Pacers ran a great play to get Tyrese Haliburton the ball in the backcourt, which allowed him to get downhill with a full head of steam. He crossed Patrick Beverley and converted an and-one floater to give the Pacers a three-point lead with 1.6 seconds left. Do the Bucks have one more miracle in them? 

April 27, 2024, 12:33 AM
Apr. 26, 2024, 8:33 pm EDT
 
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Middleton does it again

OH MY GOD. Khris Middleton just came up with another miracle for the Bucks. Once again, it seemed like the Bucks were in trouble, but Middleton broke free and banked in a 3-pointer to tie the game with 6.7 seconds left. Stunning performance from Middleton tonight. 

April 27, 2024, 12:30 AM
Apr. 26, 2024, 8:30 pm EDT
 
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Nesmith comes up clutch

The Pacers finally get a shot to go down as Aaron Nesmith comes up with another clutch moment. He just buried a 3-pointer from the corner at the shot clock buzzer to put the Pacers up by three with 14.4 seconds remaining. Can the Bucks come up with another response to keep this game going? 

April 27, 2024, 12:28 AM
Apr. 26, 2024, 8:28 pm EDT
 
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Pacers can't convert on half a dozen chances

The Pacers just had the ball for nearly an entire minute after grabbing a succession of offensive rebounds, but could not convert a single one of the opportunities. Just an incredible sequence. It's unbelievable that they didn't make one shot there

April 27, 2024, 12:25 AM
Apr. 26, 2024, 8:25 pm EDT
 
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End of regulation: Pacers 111, Bucks 111

To overtime we go after Pascal Siakam's look at the buzzer was too long. This looked like it was going to be a blowout early on, but has turned into one of the best games of the postseason so far. The extra frame would seem to favor the Bucks, but will they have the energy after expending so much to get back into the game? 

April 27, 2024, 12:18 AM
Apr. 26, 2024, 8:18 pm EDT
 
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Middleton ties it

WOW. The Bucks seemed to be stuck, and Khris Middleton put up an off-balance heave but he got it to go to tie the game with 1.4 seconds remaining. What a shot. 

April 27, 2024, 12:15 AM
Apr. 26, 2024, 8:15 pm EDT
 
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Two clutch free throws by Nesmith

Aaron Nesmith has had a rough shooting day (2-of-11) but just swished two clutch free throws to put the Pacers back up by three with 6.9 seconds to play. Doc Rivers calls a timeout to advance the ball and the Bucks will have a chance to send it to overtime here. With no timeouts left, they have to go for a 3

April 27, 2024, 12:13 AM
Apr. 26, 2024, 8:13 pm EDT
 
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Middleton gives the Bucks a chance

Khris Middleton went for a quick two to make it a one-point game in the closing seconds. Aaron Nesmith is now going to the line after the Bucks fouled

April 27, 2024, 12:11 AM
Apr. 26, 2024, 8:11 pm EDT
 
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Pacers' offensive rebounding changes the game

Pascal Siakam just came up with absolutely massive offensive rebounds on back-to-back possessions. On the first one, he found Andrew Nembhard, which led to a foul and one made free throw. Next time down, he did the work himself and put the ball back up for an and-one. The Bucks challenged, but to no avail. 

April 27, 2024, 12:11 AM
Apr. 26, 2024, 8:11 pm EDT
 
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Still all square with 1:30 left

Both teams have gone cold in the last few minutes, and we remain tied up with 90 seconds to go. Khris Middleton just came up with a big rebound, but stepped out of bounds on the way up the floor to give the ball back to the Pacers. That could end up being a big swing

April 27, 2024, 12:05 AM
Apr. 26, 2024, 8:05 pm EDT
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