NBA playoffs: Rockets and Heat take 2-0 leads; Bucks even series
James Harden had 21 points and nine assists and the Houston Rockets made 19 of an NBA-record 56 three-point attempts to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 111-98 on Thursday for a 2-0 lead in the first-round Western Conference series.
Former Thunder star Russell Westbrook was out for the Rockets again with a right quad strain, but plenty of other Houston players picked up the slack. Danuel House Jr. scored 19 points.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 31 points for the Thunder, and Danilo Gallinari added 17.
Oklahoma City dominated the second quarter and led 59-53 at halftime. The Thunder shot 50% in the half. Houston missed its last 15 3-pointers in the second quarter, and Harden scored just eight points on 2-for-10 shooting in the half.
The Rockets went on a 13-0 run early in the second half to regain the lead. Gilgeous-Alexander, who had been cold in the bubble, made three straight 3-pointers to highlight an 11-0 run that put the Thunder ahead again. The Thunder held on and led 78-77 at the end of the third quarter.
Oklahoma City led 80-77 before the Rockets broke away with a 17-0 run, with just two of the points coming from Harden, the league scoring champion.
Heat 109, Pacers 100: Duncan Robinson made his first six shots, all from three-point range, and finished with 24 points as Miami beat Indiana Pacers for a 2-0 lead in their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.
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Robinson opened the game by making the Heat’s first three buckets, all 3s. He didn’t miss until midway through the third quarter, and Robinson tied the Heat record for 3s made in a playoff game with seven. He finished 7-of-8 shooting, all beyond the arc.
Goran Dragic scored 20 points for Miami, Jimmy Butler had 18 points and six assists, rookie Tyler Herro added 15 points off the bench, and Jae Crowder scored 10.
Victor Oladipo, who had been questionable with an injured left eye, led Indiana with 22 points. Myles Turner and Malcolm Brogdon each had 17 points. T.J. Warren added 14 and Aaron Holiday had 12.
Bucks 111, Magic 96: Giannis Antetokounmpo had 28 points and 20 rebounds and Milwaukee rode a fast start to beat Orlando to tie the Eastern Conference first-round series at a game apiece.
The Bucks boasted the NBA’s best regular-season record at 56-17, but went 3-5 in the eight seeding games at Disney’s Wide World of Sports and opened the playoffs by losing 122-110 to Orlando.
Milwaukee bounced back Thursday, building a 23-point lead in the first half, though Orlando got the margin down to nine in the fourth quarter.
Brook Lopez scored 20 points and Pat Connaughton had 15 on 5-of-8 three-point shooting for Milwaukee. Eric Bledsoe had 13 points and Donte DiVincenzo added 11.
Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic followed up his 35-point effort in the opener by scoring 32 points. Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross each had 12, Markelle Fultz had 11 and D.J. Augustin added 10.
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