Donovan Mitchell felt good enough to play again, just not good enough at the end to win it for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Mitchell returned from a three-game absence with a strained left groin, but he was hurting again as the game finished with the New York Knicks beating the Cavaliers 105-103 on Tuesday night.
Mitchell drove into the lane to attempt the tying shot, but fell short after both his legs cramped and his groin tightened up again.
Cleveland Cavaliers’ Donovan Mitchell (45) dunks the ball against the New York Knicks
The star guard said after the game his groin felt the way it did when he had to sit out three games last week.
‘Same as before, so I don’t know what comes next,’ he said.
Mitchell finished with 24 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and four steals. But it seemed clear he didn’t have his usual lift, getting consecutive shots blocked down the stretch before being unable to score on his final drive when Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein got in front of him at the rim.
‘I felt it a little bit, but nothing to the extent of at the end of the game, and we’ll figure it out and see what happens,’ Mitchell said. ‘But it’s tough when both legs cramp and then you have the groin at the same time.’
The Cavaliers were down three with 1:18 remaining when Mitchell’s driving shot was blocked by RJ Barrett. Hartenstein blocked Mitchell’s short shot on his next attempt with 47 seconds to play.
New York Knicks’ Isaiah Hartenstein (55) defends a shot by Mitchell (45) during the second half
Mitchell thought he was fouled on one of the late plays, but took the blame for the Cavs not being able to pull it out.
‘That’s on me, I let the team down at the end of the game,’ Mitchell said. ‘We played a really good game up to that point, all of us, and I didn´t do my job and that´s on me.’
He remained on the court a couple minutes after the buzzer sounded, his legs too painful to get up.
‘I’m just upset that I felt good enough to come back and for that to be the last five seconds of the game really (ticks) me off,’ Mitchell said.
Mitchell crumbles to the floor where he remained for several minutes pain and frustration
HEAT 98, CELTICS 95
Bam Adebayo had 30 points and 15 rebounds, including the jump shot that put Miami ahead to stay with 20.4 seconds remaining, and the Heat rallied from 14 down to beat the Boston Celtics 98-95 on Tuesday night.
Haywood Highsmith had 15 points and 10 rebounds, Max Strus scored 13 points and Victor Oladipo had 12 for the Heat.
A 15-0 run in the fourth quarter lifted the Heat, who split the regular-season series with the Celtics 2-2.
Jayson Tatum finished with 31 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists for the Celtics. Derrick White scored 23 points, and Robert Williams III had 11.
Tyler Herro stole a cross-court pass thrown by Jayson Tatum with just over a second remaining, denying Boston a chance to tie or take the lead.
Highsmith’s free throw with 0.6 seconds left put Miami up by three. Boston called time, and Payton Pritchard´s straightaway 30-footer fell short as time expired.
Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat dunks the ball during the game against the Boston Celtics
CLIPPERS 133, LAKERS 115
LeBron James hit a career-high nine 3-pointers while scoring 46 points, but the Los Angeles Clippers hit 19 3-pointers of their own on the way to a comfortable 133-115 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.
James scored at least 40 points against the Clippers for the first time in his 20-year career, giving him a 40-point game against all 30 teams in the NBA. James hit his record ninth 3-pointer with 6:45 to play, setting a career high from distance in his 1,404th game.
Paul George had 27 points and nine rebounds, and Kawhi Leonard added 25 points in the Clippers’ third straight win overall. The Clippers hit a season-high 15 3-pointers in the first half while scoring a season-high 77 points and jumping to a 23-point halftime lead.
Norman Powell had 22 points and Reggie Jackson added 19 for the Clippers.
Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers drives to the basket during the game against the LA Lakers
WIZARDS 127, MAVERICKS 126
Kyle Kuzma scored 30 points and made one of two free throws to break a tie with 4.2 seconds remaining, lifting Washington past Dallas.
Luka Doncic had 41 points and 15 rebounds for the Mavericks. Doncic still had on the jersey he ripped when he missed a free throw that would have put Dallas in front with 12.5 seconds to go when he bumped Kumza on a drive along the sideline. The Mavericks challenged, but the call was confirmed. Kuzma missed the first free throw, but swished the second.
Doncic tried twice to pass to Spencer Dinwiddie out of a double team on the final possession. The Wizards knocked the first out of bounds, and Delon Wright stole the second to seal the victory.
Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma (33) dribbles the ball against the Dallas Mavericks
NUGGETS 99, PELICANS 98
Nikola Jokic capped a 25-point, 11-rebound, 10-assist performance in his return from hamstring tightness with a go-ahead floater in the paint with 16.9 seconds left, helping Denver beat undermanned New Orleans.
Jamal Murray scored 25 points for the Nuggets, who led for nearly the entire game and by as many as 19 points before New Orleans stormed back in the fourth quarter to take its only lead of the second half at 98-97 with 36.9 seconds left.
After Jokic put Denver back in front, the Pelicans had three shots to win it in the final seconds before losing their fifth straight.
CJ McCollum scored 20 points for New Orleans, but missed all eight of his 3-point shots.
Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets moves the ball during the game against the New Orleans Pelicans
SUNS 128, HORNETS 97
Cam Johnson scored 24 points, Dario Saric added 19 and Phoenix beat Charlotte for its fourth straight victory.
The Suns built a 30-point lead midway through the second quarter, though Charlotte cut it to 58-50 early in the third. Phoenix rebuilt its lead to 98-77 by the fourth before cruising to the comfortable victory.
Johnson was hot from the outset, scoring 16 points in the first quarter by making all six of his shots, including four 3-pointers. The forward was playing in his third game since returning from a knee injury that kept him out more than two months. He needed just 18 minutes on the floor to do his damage, shooting 9 of 11 from the field and 6 of 7 on 3s.
Terry Rozier scored 19 points for Charlotte.
Cameron Johnson #23 drives to the basket during the game against the Charlotte Hornets
PACERS 116, BULLS 110
Myles Turner and Bennedict Mathurin each scored 26 points and Mathurin’s short, go-ahead basket with 29.1 seconds left helped Indiana close out a rally from 21 points down to beat Chicago.
Indiana snapped a season-worst seven-game losing streak to stay ahead of 10th-place Chicago in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers played again without injured point guard Tyrese Haliburton and this time without his replacement, Andrew Nembhard, who was sick.
T.J. McConnell had 20 points and 10 assists for the Pacers. DeMar DeRozan scored 33 points for Chicago.
Pacers Bennedict Mathurin (00) celebrates his three-point basket as Bulls Alex Caruso reacts