James Harden had 21 points and nine assists and the Houston Rockets made 19 of an NBA-record 56 3-point attempts to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 111-98 on Thursday for a 2-0 lead in the first-round Western Conference series.
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 per cent 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.
Robinson catches fire to lead Heat past Pacers
Goran Dragic had a little simple advice for Duncan Robinson before Game 2: Just shoot.
Robinson listened, hitting his first six shots — all from 3-point range. He finished with 24 points and the Miami Heat beat the Indiana Pacers 109-100 on Thursday for a 2-0 lead in their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.
“I don’t care if he miss 18 shots, 18 3s,” Dragic said. “`I want you to shoot every time. Don’t pump fake. We need you, and you can see it.’ He didn’t hesitate today, and that’s how we want him.”
“Just felt a better rhythm in this one for whatever reason,” Robinson said. “But that can’t be the case for me. I got to kind of assert myself and not just have the game necessarily come to me, but be more aggressive. So I thought that was big and then obviously you see some go early, the hoop starts to look a little bigger.”
Dragic scored 20 points, 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 had 14 and Aaron Holiday had 12.
Bucks bite back to tie series with Magic
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 28 points and 20 rebounds and the Milwaukee Bucks rode a fast start to beat the Orlando Magic 111-96 on Thursday and 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.
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.
The difference between the first and second games of this series was in
The Bucks’ defensive intensity was the difference between the two games.
Orlando had no points in the paint for the entire first quarter and went nearly eight minutes without a basket during a first-half stretch.
After Vucevic made a jump shot to cut Milwaukee’s lead to four with 5:34 left in the first quarter, the Magic missed their next 13 field-goal attempts. Orlando wouldn’t make another basket and fell behind by 16 before Ross hit a jumper with 9:48 remaining until halftime.
But the Magic then missed their next six shots as the Bucks stretched their lead to 23.
Milwaukee led 64-43 at the intermission, with Antetotkounmpo capping the first half by dunking off Connaughton’s pass with four-tenths of a second remaining.
Orlando made it somewhat interesting in the second half.
Vucevic scored 16 points in the third quarter alone to help the Magic cut the deficit to 12, though Milwaukee got the margin back up to 20 by the end of the period. Orlando continued to hang around and made it 101-92 on Fultz’s jumper with 3:56 left, but the Magic couldn’t get any closer.