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Jazz, Clippers edge ahead in NBA playoffs

Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers have rebounded to take 2-1 leads in their respective NBA western conference play-off series while the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors are just one win away from advancing the eastern conference semi-finals.

Mike Conley scored 27 points in his return from quarantine to lead Utah to a 124-87 rout of Denver Nuggets.

The 37-point loss tied the third-worst in Denver’s post-season history.

It’s the second straight lopsided win for the Jazz in the series after dropping game one in overtime.

Conley left the NBA bubble for the birth of his son and returned on Monday night. He went through a four-day quarantine that ended on Friday.

He was 7-of-8 from 3-point range and had four assists.

Rudy Gobert had a play-offs career-high 24 points on Friday courtesy of numerous easy dunks and lay-ups and pulled down 14 rebounds in a dominant double-double.

Australian Joe Ingles had a quiet scoring night for the Jazz with just two points but dished out a game-high eight assists in less than 22 minutes.

Kawhi Leonard had 36 points, nine rebounds and eight assists as the Clippers closed out the Dallas Mavericks 130-122.

Luka Doncic had a triple-double – 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists – but suffered an ankle sprain late in the third quarter.

The Slovenian star, worryingly, returned to play in the fourth before checking out for good after a rough shooting night.

Three defensive players down the stretch guided Boston past the Philadelphia 76ers 102-94 to make it three wins in as many games for the third-seeded Celtics.

Kemba Walker scored a team-high 24 points, including a key jumper with about a minute to play to put Boston up by four and set the stage for a possible sweep in the best-of-seven series.

Joel Embiid led all scorers with 30 points but the Sixers have been unable to close out games with the absence of All-Star Australian Ben Simmons, due a knee injury, proving too big a hurdle for Brett Brown’s team.

Meanwhile, the defending champion Toronto Raptors eased past the Brooklyn Nets 117-92 to take a 3-0 lead in a post-season series for the first time in franchise history.

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