Day 4 of the NBA playoff bubble tipped off Thursday afternoon with a slate of Game 2s at the league’s Disney World campus in Florida. Action from the bubble will be updated here throughout the day.
Miami Heat 109, Indiana Pacers 100 ( Heat lead, 2-0)
Houston Rockets 111, Oklahoma City Thunder 98 (Rockets lead, 2-0)
Milwaukee Bucks 111, Orlando Magic 96 (Series tied, 1-1)
Los Angeles Lakers 111, Portland Trail Blazers 88
Anthony Davis reasserts star power in Lakers’ blowout win
It was a rough Game 1 for Anthony Davis despite reaching 28 points and 11 rebounds in a loss to the Blazers. Under that point total was an 8-of-24 shooting line, and 0-for-5 from deep. The Lakers had plenty of problems in Game 1, but Davis’ struggles were clearly the most alarming.
Game 2 turned out to be a bounce-back and then some, as Davis led the Lakers to a dominant 111-88 win to even the series at 1-1.
Davis posted 31 points on 13-of-21 shooting and 11 rebounds in just 29 minutes, becoming the first Laker since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to top 30 points in less than 30 minutes in a playoff game. It was a much quieter game for LeBron James, who had only 10 points, but the Lakers really didn’t need much when they were up by 17 at halftime and 30 at the end of the third quarter.
It was a resurgent effort across the board for the Lakers, who adjusted to their Game 1 loss by reintroducing players like Dion Waiters and J.R. Smith to the rotation. It all added up to the team’s first playoff win since May 18, 2012, a span of 3,016 days.
As for the Blazers, they’ll simply want to move past Thursday’s game and re-take the lead in Game 3 on Saturday. and hope that Damian Lillard’s finger dislocation is a one-game issue.
Bucks dominate Magic to even series
The Milwaukee Bucks slipped in Game 1 of their opening-round playoff series on Tuesday afternoon, something that left plenty of NBA fans stunned.
They weren’t going to let it happen twice in a row.
The Bucks cruised past the Orlando Magic 111-96 on Thursday to take Game 2.
The game was lopsided from the beginning. Orlando mustered just 13 points in the opening quarter and fell into a 12-point hole almost instantly. The Bucks quickly extended their lead to 23 points in the second quarter and never looked back. They held on to snag the 15-point win, evening the series 1-1.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way with 28 points and 20 rebounds in the win, and was a big reason why Milwaukee scooped 15 more rebounds than Orlando. Brook Lopez added 20 points, and Pat Connaughton finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.
Nikola Vucevic led Orlando with 32 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 13-of-23 from the field. Evan Fournier and Terrance Ross each added 12 points.
Rockets win another without Russell Westbrook
In a game of runs, the Houston Rockets posted the biggest in a 111-98 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.
They did so as All-Star guard Russell Westbrook sat on the bench for a second straight game with an injured quadriceps. They rallied as James Harden struggled from the field.
Houston capped a balanced scoring effort with a decisive 17-0 run in the fourth quarter as seven players scored in double figures. Houston also dug its way out of a 59-53 halftime deficit with a 16-2 run to start the third quarter.
Oklahoma responded to that run with an 11-0 burst of its own to retake the lead, 72-69. But there would be no response to Houston’s fourth-quarter outburst as the Rockets maintained control of the series while their former MVP guard watched in street clothes.
Houston set an NBA playoff record with 56 3-point attempts. But it wasn’t a prolific performance as Houston leaned on its defense while shooting 19-of-56 (33.9%) from long distance.
Harden led the Rockets with 21 points while connecting on 2-of-11 3-point attempts. Eric Gordon scored 15 while missing all 10 of his 3-point attempts. But the Rockets committed just seven turnovers while holding the Thunder to 43.6% shooting.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led Oklahoma City with 31 points and six rebounds. Chris Paul tallied 14 points and six rebounds while shooting 6-of-15 from the field. He also posted team-worst minus-36 in the plus/minus column.
The series will resume with Game 3 on Saturday. Westbrook’s status moving forward is not clear.
Heat outshoot Pacers to take 2-0 lead
The Miami Heat rode a prolific 3-point shooting performance to a 2-0 series lead over the Indiana Pacers on Thursday.
With Duncan Robinson leading the way, the Heat connected on a team playoff record 18 3-pointers on 35 attempts (51.4%) en route to a 109-100 Game 2 win. Robinson connected on 7-of-8 attempts beyond the arc while tallying a team-best 24 points in the win. His seven 3-pointers tie a team playoff record.
Four teammates joined Robinson in making multiple 3-pointers in Thursday’s shooting exhibition. Meanwhile, Pacers bubble hero T.J. Warren cooled off considerably, missing all five of his 3-point attempts in a 14-point effort. Victor Oladipo’s 24 points weren’t enough to keep things close as Miami controlled the game throughout the second half.
Thursday’s win follows up Miami’s series-opening 113-101 victory on Tuesday. The two teams will play Game 3 on Saturday.
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