NBA playoffs: Trae Young’s late shot lifts Hawks; Chris Paul powers Suns’ win
Trae Young hit a floater in the lane with 4.4 seconds left, and the host Atlanta Hawks overcame a 16-point deficit in the second half to beat top-seeded Miami 111-110 on Friday night, cutting the Heat’s Eastern Conference first-round series lead to 2-1.
Jimmy Butler missed a jumper with 12.6 second left that could have given the Heat a three-point cushion. He missed again on an off-balance three-point try at the buzzer with De’Andre Hunter in his face to give the Hawks a burst of hope in the best-of-seven series.
“The plan was get free, shoot it and make it,” Butler said. “I didn’t do it. I’ll make the next one.”
Game 4 is Sunday night in Atlanta.
P.J. Tucker led a 21-0 run in the third quarter that pushed the Heat to an 84-68 lead and seemingly on cruise control to a 3-0 series lead. But Young and the Hawks would not let them get away.
The Heat also were dealing with an injury to point guard Kyle Lowry, who went out in the third quarter because of a hamstring problem and did not return. He will undergo tests Saturday to determine the severity of the injury.
“I love that guy as our point guard,” Butler said. “If he’s with us, yippee ki-yay. If he’s not, someone will step in and do his job. We’ve got enough guys in that room to make up for him.”
Young finished with 24 points despite another stout defensive effort by the Heat. Bogdan Bogdanovic added 18, Hunter had 17, and three other Hawks scored in double figures to take some of the pressure off the star guard.
“I didn’t have any doubts,” Young said. “I was able to get to the basket and get my floater.”
Plaschke: HBO’s ‘Winning Time’ gets some things about Showtime era right — but not Jerry West
HBO’s “Winning Time” captures the Lakers’ Showtime spirit, but the show gets one thing very wrong: its over-the-top portrayal of legend Jerry West.
Coming off a 45-point effort in Game 3, Butler was held to 20 in this one and missed a golden chance to give Miami a stranglehold on the series.
Tyler Herro led the Heat with 24 points, and Max Strus also had 20.
The Hawks led by 11 in the first half and were still up 68-63 when Hunter hit a three-pointer with just less than eight minutes remaining in the third.
That’s when Miami suddenly took control of a game that was delayed about 45 minutes after a suspicious package was found outside State Farm Arena before the game.
The Heat turned up their stifling defense, knocked down shots and silenced a sellout crowd that was used to seeing the Hawks win at home.
Tucker scored eight points in the six-minutes spree, but his best work came at the other end on Young.
Leaning on him so much that Young shoved him away in frustration on an inbounds play, the 36-year-old Tucker used every trick in the book to stifle just the second player in NBA history to lead the league in total points and assists.
Even though Young hit only two of seven shots in the first half, the Hawks led at the break for the first time in the series.
Danilo Gallinari had 11 points, five Atlanta players made three-pointers, and the Hawks were up 61-54 heading to the locker room.
Tipoff was delayed after the suspicious package was found outside Gate 2 of the arena, near a stairwell that provides access to a MARTA subway station.
Three gates were closed, preventing fans from entering while police, K-9 units and arena security cleared the area and investigated the package.
A bomb squad safely removed the package after it was found not to be explosive, clearing the way for the entrances to be opened.
Even with the delay, many fans were still bogged down in long lines outside the arena when the game began. But the place was hopping at the end of the night.
Suns 114, at Pelicans 111
Chris Paul scored 19 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter, and Phoenix overcame Devin Booker’s absence to beat New Orleans in Game 3 of the teams’ Western Conference first-round series.
Deandre Ayton added 28 points and 17 rebounds to help the top-seeded Suns take a 2-1 series lead. Paul scored 15 of Phoenix’s first 23 points of the final quarter. He also had 14 assists.
Booker strained his right hamstring Tuesday night after scoring 31 first-half points in a 125-114 home loss. He sat on the bench during Game 3.
Mikal Bridges had 17 points for the Suns. Backup center center JaVale McGee scored 15 points on seven-for-eight shooting as the Suns hurt the Pelicans inside.
Brandon Ingram led New Orleans with 34 points. CJ McCollum had 30.
Game 4 is Sunday night in New Orleans.
Jose Alvarado kept the Pelicans in it in the fourth with seven consecutive points, but Paul answered with five straight points and an assist to tie it at 90 with 6:32 left. Paul then had eight consecutive points for a 98-93 lead.
Here’s what was learned during Clippers executive Lawrence Frank’s media session on the team’s season and lookahead for the next.
Bucks 111, at Bulls 81
Grayson Allen made five three-pointers and scored 22 points, and Milwaukee dominated Chicago to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference first-round playoff series without the injured Khris Middleton.
Giannis Antetokounmpo added 18 points, Bobby Portis had 18 points and 16 rebounds, and the defending champion Bucks made it look easy coming off two shaky performances at home.
Milwaukee quieted a raucous crowd watching Chicago’s first playoff game at United Center in five years almost as soon as it started. The Bucks led by 24 points in the second quarter and remained in control the rest of the way.
Middleton is expected to miss the rest of the series after spraining his left knee Wednesday night in a loss. Game 4 is Sunday in Chicago.
Antetokounmpo scored all but two of his points after the first quarter. The two-time NBA most valuable player finished with nine assists and seven rebounds.
Jrue Holiday added 16 points to help the Bucks beat the Bulls for the 18th time in 20 games.
Nikola Vucevic led Chicago with 19 points. Zach LaVine had 15, and DeMar DeRozan finished with just 11 after setting a career playoff high with 41 in Game 2.
Get our high school sports newsletter
Prep Rally is devoted to the SoCal high school sports experience, bringing you scores, stories and a behind-the-scenes look at what makes prep sports so popular.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.