NBA playoffs: Bucks beat Bulls, Nuggets stay alive, Heat win, Pelicans overwhelm Suns

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo shoots against Chicago Bulls' DeMar DeRozan and Javonte Green.
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo shoots against Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan and forward Javonte Green during the second half of Game 4 of a first-round NBA playoff series on Sunday in Chicago.
(Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press)

Grayson Allen set playoff career highs with 27 points and six three-pointers, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 32 points and 17 rebounds, and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Chicago Bulls 119-95 on Sunday to take a 3-1 lead in their first-round series.

Jrue Holiday scored 26, and the Bucks made it look easy again after beating the Bulls by 30 and handing them the most lopsided home playoff loss in franchise history. The defending NBA champions led by 22 early in the third quarter and steadied themselves after a push by Chicago. They’ll try to wrap up the series in Milwaukee on Wednesday.

Allen delivered another huge effort off the bench, surpassing his previous postseason scoring high of 22 points in Game 3. He made 10 of 12 shots and nailed six of seven three-point attempts, with Chicago fans booing just about every time he touched the ball.


Antetokounmpo had seven assists.

Holiday made five three-pointers. Bobby Portis had 14 points and 10 rebounds in his second consecutive start with Khris Middleton sidelined because of a sprained left knee, and the Bucks beat the Bulls for the 19th time in 21 games.

Zach LaVine led Chicago with 24 points and 13 assists, DeMar DeRozan scored 23 and Patrick Williams finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Allen made four of five three-pointers and scored 16 as the Bucks grabbed a 56-41 halftime lead.

It was 54-39 with a little more than two minutes left after he and Holiday made consecutive three-pointers. Chicago’s Patrick Williams dunked, and Allen missed from up top after making his first four three-point tries. But he banked in a floater in the final minute to make it a 15-point game.

Portis made a three-pointer and Holiday made a 30-footer, bumping it to 63-41 in the opening minute of the third. The lead was down to 68-60 midway through the quarter after a 17-3 run by Chicago.

But the Bucks answered by scoring 11 in a row. Antetokounmpo had six of those points, including a dunk to make it 79-60, and fed Allen for a three-pointer after blocking LaVine during that stretch.

Nuggets 126, Warriors 121

DENVER — Nikola Jokic scored 37 points and fed Will Barton for a three-pointer from the left corner with 8.3 seconds left, helping the Denver Nuggets avoid a series sweep with a 126-121 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.

Monte Morris’ 7-footer broke a 121-all tie with 33.5 seconds left after the Nuggets blew a 17-point lead. Austin Rivers then stole Otto Porter Jr.’s pass.

Morris finished with 24 points. He hit five three-pointers in the third quarter, the most in a quarter by any player in these NBA playoffs.

Steph Curry led the Warriors with 33 points. Klay Thompson scored 22 of his 32 points after picking up his fourth foul in the final second of the first half. Jordan Poole had 11 after averaging 27.8 in the first three games of the series.

The series shifts back to San Francisco for Game 5 on Wednesday night.

The Nuggets took a 98-89 lead into the fourth quarter, but fell behind 121-119 on Curry’s jumper with just over a minute left.

Denver rookie Bones Hyland hit three consecutive three-pointers, the last from 33 feet that capped a 14-2 run to open the second quarter with Jokic catching his breath on the bench after assisting on 20 of Denver’s first 23 points.

That gave the Nuggets a 40-23 lead and command for the first time in the series that began with two blowouts on the road before a competitive Game 3 at Ball Arena that gave them hope of avoiding a second straight sweep in the playoffs.

Last year, they were shut out by Phoenix in the second round.

The Nuggets took a 63-52 halftime lead after a move by Warriors coach Steve Kerr backfired with less than a second left in the second quarter.

Kerr sent Thompson back into the game with six-tenths of a second remaining and Thompson executed the play to perfection, coming off the screen for the layup — only, he pushed Rivers on his way to the rim, so the basket was waved off and Thompson was whistled for his fourth foul.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone was confident his players would come out and give it their all to force the series back to San Francisco after the way they played in Game 3 in taking the Warriors into the final minute before succumbing 108-103.

“Really confident,“ Malone said before tip-off. “Just knowing our group. I have to remind myself, when you think about our team, the last four years no one has won more games in the West than this team, and there’s a reason for that. So, I would be shocked and disappointed if we didn’t go out there and play our brand of basketball like we did in Game 3.

“I have the utmost confidence in our group that that will be our mindset, that will be our approach, and we will go out there and leave everything we have on that floor.”

Heat 110, Hawks 86

ATLANTA — Jimmy Butler scored 13 of his 36 points in a dominant second quarter and the Miami Heat beat the Atlanta Hawks 110-86 on Sunday night to take a 3-1 series lead.

Miami can wrap up the first-round series in Game 5 on Tuesday night in Miami.

Butler overcame a slow start. He made only one of seven shots before hitting his final five of the first half to lead the turnaround.

Miami outscored Atlanta 30-15 in the second period, holding the Hawks to a season scoring low for the period.

Butler had 10 rebounds, four assists and blocked a shot.

Atlanta’s Trae Young scored only nine points with five assists and five turnovers as he was shut down by Miami’s defense for the second time in four games. Young was held to eight points in Miami’s 115-91 Game 1 win.

De’Andre Hunter led the Hawks with 24 points.

Miami ended Atlanta’s six-game home winning streak despite playing without point guard Kyle Lowry, who was held out with a left hamstring strain.

Gabe Vincent had 11 points while sinking three three-pointers in his fill-in start for Lowry, who strained his hamstring in the third quarter Friday night in a 111-110 loss to the Hawks. Lowry’s status for Game 5 is not known.

The Hawks led 37-29 before Miami took control with a 15-0 run in the second period.

A key in the Heat’s surge came on a Butler steal from Collins, who fouled as Butler scored and then made the free throw. It was Collins’ third foul. Coach Nate McMillan opted to keep Collins in the game.

The 15-0 run, capped by Vincent’s three-pointer, left Miami with a 44-37 lead. The Heat were not through, closing the half with an 11-0 run for a 55-41 lead at the break.

Butler drove through the Atlanta defense for two late baskets in the half after Collins left the game with four fouls with 1:54 remaining. Collins, who scored 11 points, finished with five fouls.

Miami led 98-74 when McMillan pulled out Young and his other starters.

Pelicans 118, Suns 103

NEW ORLEANS — Brandon Ingram scored 16 of his 30 points in the third quarter and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Phoenix Suns — playing without injured star Devin Booker — 118-103 in Game 4 on Sunday night to tie the first-round series.

Jonas Valanciunas reasserted himself in the middle with 26 points and 15 rebounds to help the Pelicans pull even heading back to Phoenix for Game 5 on Tuesday night.

Booker strained his right straight after scoring 31 first-half points in the top-seeded Suns’ Game 2 loss. Deandre Ayton led the Suns with 23 points and eight rebounds, and fellow center JaVale McGee had 14 points.

Chris Paul, who had 19-point fourth quarters in the Suns’ two playoff wins, was held to four points in 35 minutes. He had 11 assists, but committed three turnovers.

The Pelicans led 89-85 with 8:05 left and used a 12-0 run to ice it. Valanciunas, limited to six points in a Game 3 loss, scored 10 points in a 3:34 span of the fourth quarter to help the Pelicans pull away. He punctuated his scoring spree with a 3-pointer from the left wing.

New Orleans had a 35-23 advantage in the third quarter. Ingram was the catalyst, making seven of 10 shots and assisting on two other baskets as New Orleans took an 84-74 lead. His flurry started on the Pelicans’ first three possessions of the half, with a pair of 15-footers and a layup.

The Suns used a 20-10 run, with Mikal Bridges breaking down the New Orleans defense with three layups in the final eight minutes of the first half, to take a 51-49 halftime lead.