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NBA: Miami goes 3-0, Chicago and Memphis win

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Miami’s LeBron James shoots over the Buck’s Luc Mbah a Moute on Thursday.

The NBA Playoffs moved into Game 3 and shifted to the home courts of the lower seeded teams. The change in venue wasn’t an issue for the Miami Heat as they took Game 3 91:104 to go up 3-0 in their best-of-seven series against the Milwaukee Bucks. The other two contests of the night were a different story though as the Chicago Bulls got up 2-1 on the Brooklyn Nets with a 79:76 win, despite being outscored 14:24 in the fourth quarter. In Memphis, the Grizzlies picked up their first win in their series with the Los Angeles Clippers with a solid 94:82 win. Memphis outscored the Clippers three of four quarters and led for almost the entire game.

Milwaukee Bucks – Miami Heat, 91:104
The Bucks took it to Miami early on and held a lead at the half, but couldn’t hold on in the second giving the Heat their third straight win. They’ll try to wrap up their series on Sunday in Milwaukee.

Ray Allen dropped in 23 and LeBron James scored 22 for the Heat as Larry Sanders and Brandon Jennings tallied 16 each for the Bucks.

Allen moved ahead of Naismith Hall of Famer Reggie Miller with the most three pointers in NBA Post-Season history with 322. Miller had 320 in his career.

The Bucks led by as many as 10 in the first half, coming out firing and shooting 50.0% (5 of 10) from behind the arc, including 3 of 3 from J.J. Redick. After the first quarter the hosts were up 30:21, but the Heat took control in the second and pulled to within four on a 20:27 quarter. As the clubs went to the dressing rooms for the intermission the score read 50:48, still in the favor of the Bucks.

The third quarter was the difference and it turned out to be the last three minutes of the third quarter as the Bucks were only down by one, 66:67, and a 2:11 run to close out the stanza put the Heat up 68:78 heading into the fourth.

Miami got up by as much as 17 in the final 12, but down the stretch the Bucks exchanged baskets with them and then Mike Dunleavy dropped in eight over the five minutes to cut the lead to 11 inside of a minute to play. The Heat finished with a deuce to bring the score to 91:104 and a three game lead in the series. They’ll try to close it out on Sunday in Milwaukee.

Allen was game-high with 23, followed by James’ 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists. Chris Bosh added a double/double with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Udonis Haslem dropped in 12 points, Chris Andersen added 11 points and 6 rebounds in just under 14 minutes of playing time. Dwayne Wade had a rough night shooting (1 of 12 from the floor), but tallied 9 rebounds and 11 assists during the contest.

Milwaukee got the pair of 16s from Sanders and Jennings, while Sanders also hauled in 11 rebounds and Jennings contributed 5 rebounds and 8 assists. Ersan Ilyasova contributed 15 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. Dunleavy and Redick tallied 11 points each.

Memphis Grizzlies – Los Angeles Clippers, 94:82
Powered by a combined 43 points and 19 rebounds by ‘bigs’ Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, the Grizzlies picked up their first win in their series with LA. Randolph struggled to find his game during the first two in Los Angeles, but took control of the paint Thursday night to the tune of 27 points and 11 rebounds. Gasol was given his award as the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year during pre-game activities.

The hosts went on a 7:0 run near the end of the first quarter to get up 17:10 on their way to a 23:20 first quarter. Randolph accounted for 13 of the Grizzlies 23 and Blake Griffin tallied 10 of LA’s 20. By the halftime break Memphis was up 47:39.

Mid-way through the third Randolph and Gasol combined to give Memphis six unanswered points and build a 14-point lead at 61:47. At the end of the quarter the Clippers had a 2:8 run to cut the gap to eight, 70:62.

Los Angeles put up five unanswered early in the forth, on five straight free throws to draw within five at 74:69. Shortly after the Grizzlies went on a 15:6 run to put the game away and earn their first win in the series. With the Clippers up 2-1, Game 4 will be held on Saturday in Memphis.

Randolph’s 27/11 double/double led all scorers, Gasol added 16 points and 8 rebounds. Tony Allen and Quincy Pondexter each contributed 13.

Griffin was high-man for the Clippers with 16, Matt Barnes dropped in 12, Chauncey Billups added 11, and Jamal Crawford and Caron Butler tallied 10 each.

Chicago Bulls – Brooklyn Nets, 79:76
This wasn’t a game to show young players how to shoot as there was some real struggles to get the ball through the cylinder in Chicago Thursday night. In the first half Brooklyn connected on 9 of 40 (22.5%). Overall the Nets were 28 of 81 (34.6%) inside the arc and 5 of 21 (23.8%) outside it. From the line Brooklyn was superb, dropping 15 of 17 (88.2%) on the night. For Chicago, it wasn’t much better with the Bulls hitting 31 of 78 (39.7%) inside the line, 3 of 15 (20.0%) behind it, and 14 of 21 (66.7%) from the stripe.

The thing was, Brooklyn opened the contest shooting lights out, dropping in 5 for 9 and getting up 5:17, then they seemed to have forgotten how to shoot completely, making only four shots the rest of the half. During one stretch between the first and second quarters the boys from Brooklyn connected on only 1 of 25 from the floor, tallying only six points. After putting up their 17th point, with just over six minutes to play in the first, the Nets wouldn’t score again in the first quarter, while the Bulls put up 14 to take the lead, 19:17.

Andray Blatche got the first field goal for the Nets early in the second, but that would be the last for seven minutes. By that time Chicago was up 33:23, which amounts to a 28:6 run. The lead was 10, 41:31 with 6.8 seconds left, until Deron Wallace drained a triple with 0.5 seconds on the clock to cut the gap to seven, 41:34, at the half.

Luol Deng scored Chicagos first 12 points of the second half in the matter of about four minutes, while Brooklyn could only manage four from Brook Lopez, bumping the Bulls’ lead to 53:38. Carlos Boozer took over from there and dropped in eight of his own in the last seven minutes of the third. Williams knocked down two threes and a jumper for the Nets, but at the end of the frame the hosts were up 65:52.

Nate Robinson connected on a triple early in the final quarter to give the Bulls a 17-point lead with just over nine minutes to play. From there things got rough for Chicago as they had the same troubles in the fourth that the Nets had early on, not being able to hit the cords. Chicago last tallied a basket with just under six minutes to play with the score at 77:62, and after 12 straight from the Nets, the clubs had 14.4 seconds to play and the scoreboard read 77:74. Robinson was fouled and split a pair of free throws to bump the lead to four, 78:74. The Nets made quick work out of getting the ball in and down the court so Williams could drop in a running floater to pull to within two, 78:76. Joakim Noal was fouled and split his two charity tosses, giving Chicago a three-point advantage with 4.4 seconds to play. The Nets got the ball in and found a wide open C.J. Watson behind the arc in the corner, but he couldn’t connect and the Bulls held on for their second win in the series.

Boozer’s 22/16 double/double was game-high for Chicago. Deng also had a double/double, scoring 21 and adding 10 rebounds. Kirk Hinrich contributed 12.

Lopez matched Boozer’s 22 points for Brooklyn and also grabbed 9 rebounds. Williams tallied 18 points, and four assists. Joe Johnson added 15.

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