NBA Roundup: Heat take 3-0 lead over Bucks, Rockets stun Lakers

Jimmy Butler and his Miami Heat side pulled away from the Milwaukee Bucks to take a 3-0 lead, while the Houston Rockets stunned Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

Game 4 in the series between Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks is set for Sunday afternoon and no NBA team has come back from a 3-0 series deficit.   -  Twitter

Jimmy Butler scored a game-high 30 points as the fifth-seed Miami Heat took a 3-0 Eastern Conference semifinals series lead over the top-seed Milwaukee Bucks with a 115-100 win on Friday night in the NBA bubble near Orlando.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, the NBA's reigning MVP, had 21 points, 16 rebounds, nine assists and two blocks for Milwaukee. However, he shot just 7-for-21 from the floor, including 0-for-7 from three-point range. Game 4 in the series is set for Sunday afternoon. No NBA team has come back from a 3-0 series deficit.

Miami, which is 7-0 in the playoffs this year, also got 20 points and a team-high 16 rebounds from Bam Adebayo. Jae Crowder made a big contribution with 17 points, sinking 5 of 11 three-point attempts. Milwaukee got a team-high 22 points from Brook Lopez plus 18 points from Khris Middleton.

Milwaukee led 30-29 after the first quarter. The Bucks shot 54.5 percent from the floor in the period, including 4-for-6 on three-point tries. Miami shot 47.6 percent, including 7-for-15 from long distance. There were five lead changes and four tie scores in the period.

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The Bucks used a 12-3 second-quarter run to lead by as many as 10 points, settling for a 57-50 advantage at halftime. Antetokounmpo was held to seven points in the half, missing all four of his three-point attempts. But Middleton (14 points) and Lopez (13 points) led Milwaukee's first-half charge. Meanwhile, no Heat player scored in double figures in the opening half.

Miami went on a 10-0 run to take a 67-66 lead with 5:53 left in the third, but Milwaukee responded with a 21-8 surge and took a 87-75 advantage into the fourth. The Heat trailed by 11 early in the fourth quarter before a 14-2 run gave them a 94-93 lead after two Butler free throws with 6:16 left in the fourth.

The Bucks last led at 99-98 after an Antetokounmpo dunk with 4:41 to go, but they managed just one point over the remainder of the game with the Heat outscoring them 17-1 down the stretch.

- Harden pours in 36 as Rockets top Lakers in Game 1 -

James Harden scored 36 points, and the Houston Rockets surprised the Los Angeles Lakers in a 112-97 victory in Game 1 of its Western Conference semifinal at the NBA bubble.

Harden converted 12 of 20 shots from the floor, including 3 of 6 three-point attempts. Russell Westbrook contributed 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists, and Eric Gordon had 23 points for the Rockets. Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 25 points and 14 rebounds while LeBron James had 20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Alex Caruso added 14 points, and Danny Green chipped in 10 for Los Angeles.

Houston Rockets star James Harden converted 12 of 20 shots from the floor, including 3 of 6 three-point attempts against Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.   -  Twitter


Lakers guard Rajon Rondo, who underwent surgery on a broken thumb in July, made his playoff debut. Rondo finished with eight points and four assists in 25 minutes. The Rockets took a 101-82 lead after a bucket by Harden with 7:15 remaining. The Lakers got no closer than 13 the rest of the way.

Kyle Kuzma's three-pointer cut the Rockets' lead to 78-76 with 2:06 left in the third quarter. However, a three-point play by Austin Rivers and a jumper by Westbrook put Houston up 83-76 with 39.1 seconds remaining in the quarter.

James hit a three-pointer with 31 seconds left to cut the gap to four, but another basket by Westbrook gave the Rockets an 85-79 edge heading in the fourth quarter. The Rockets took control early in the fourth and never looked back.

After Rondo's bucket with 3:44 remaining in the second quarter tied the score at 52, the Rockets closed the half with a 11-3 surge for a 63-55 advantage at the break. Harden led all scorers with 25 first-half points. The Rockets made 48.1 percent of their shots for the game, compared with 42.2 percent for the Lakers.

The Lakers couldn't take advantage of their height advantage. Both teams finished with 41 boards. Houston's Danuel House Jr. left the contest late in the third quarter and did not return after being hit in the face by teammate P.J. Tucker.

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