Day 6 of the NBA playoff bubble tipped off on Saturday afternoon with a slate of Game 3s at the league’s campus at Walt Disney World in Florida. Action from the playoffs will be updated here throughout the day.
Lakers flex muscle, move into series lead vs. Blazers
Depleted by injuries and opt-outs, the margin of error for the Portland Trail Blazers is just about zero against the top seed in the West. When the Los Angeles Lakers have both LeBron James and Anthony Davis going, it might be even less than that.
Behind big nights from both of their superstars, the Lakers took their first series lead of the first round with a 116-108 win on Saturday.
The Lakers took control in the third quarter and held off the Blazers from there. Davis woke up after a six-point first half and finished with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists while James posted 38 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists.
The win and the stat line helped James make some new playoff history, passing another NBA legend in all-time playoff wins and furthering an already ridiculous statistical lead.
Saturday marked the 67th time in LeBron James career he led his team in points, rebounds and assists in a playoff game, including ties.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 23, 2020
That is by far the most in the NBA since 1951. Larry Bird and Tim Duncan have the next most with... 21. h/t @EliasSports pic.twitter.com/2MmRHnN9pn
A 55-38 rebounding advantage gave the Lakers too many opportunities for the Blazers to handle, even on a night in which Damian Lillard erupted again for 34 points and 7 assists. Now, the Lakers are halfway to the second round, and the Blazers are going to need to find even more of the magic that got them into the playoffs if they want to survive.
Thunder rally to beat Rockets in OT, avoid 3-game hole
The team that has surprised the NBA all season had made it a series.
The Oklahoma City Thunder rallied to a 119-107 overtime win to avoid a 3-game hole, fueled by a classic effort from Chris Paul. The former Rocket finished with 26 points on 11-of-20 shooting with 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
After several lead changes in the second-half, the Thunder nearly came away with the win in regulation after a clutch pass-and-shoot combination from Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, with the veteran driving past James Harden and finding the sophomore in the corner to take a one-point lead.
A free throw by Houston’s Danuel House evened the score, and buzzer-beating attempt from Paul on the next possession clanged out to send the game to overtime.
While the game was back-and-forth in regulation, it was anything but in overtime. James Harden, who finished with 38 points and 8 assists, fouled out in the first minute, leaving the Thunder to open the extra period with 12 straight points.
Miami holds on, snags 3-0 lead
The Heat nearly blew it on Saturday afternoon.
After holding a 20-point lead in the second quarter, Miami saw its lead quickly dwindle down to just two points in the opening minutes of the fourth after its offense completely stalled in the third quarter. They were outscored by 14 in that period, too.
Yet in the end, the Heat held on to grab a 124-115 win against the Indiana Pacers and grab a 3-0 series lead.
“I thought we basically came out just not with the intensity that was needed or necessary for this game,” McMillan said, via Fox Sports Indiana. “I thought the third quarter we started to play with that intensity. We started to play like we believed, and we played a good second half. But you can't start the game off the way we did … That sense of urgency was missing at the start.”
Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 27 points and eight rebounds and shot 17-of-20 from the free throw line. Bam Adebayo put up a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Goran Dragic added 22 while shooting 5-of-10 from the 3-point line.
Malcolm Brogdon led Indiana with 34 points and 14 assists, shooting 11-of-17 from the field. T.J. Warren finished with 23 points, and Victor Oladipo added 20.
The Heat will attempt to close out the series on Monday night and advance to the next round.
Bucks cruise in contentious Game 3 to take series lead
Milwaukee’s slip in Game 1 of the series is well behind them.
The Bucks flew to a dominant 121-107 win over the Orlando Magic on Saturday afternoon at Walt Disney World, taking an easy 2-1 series lead.
The game, however, wasn’t without controversy.
Midway through the second quarter, Marvin Williams and James Ennis got into a fight under the hoop after Williams and the Bucks had secured a 19-point lead.
Ennis, after a missed shot, turned to head back up court and threw his shoulder into Williams — which quickly escalated the situation.
Ennis even appeared to throw a bunch during the brawl, which seemed to hit an assistant coach and the official in the middle rather than Williams.
James Ennis and Marvin Williams got into it 😳 pic.twitter.com/mHdXwjzDky— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 22, 2020
Both Williams and Ennis were ejected from the game and are sure to face discipline from the league in the coming days.
The incident didn’t faze the Bucks. They quickly pushed the 19-point lead to 34 in the third quarter and never looked back. Milwaukee cruised to the 14-point win to take the series lead.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee with a near-triple-double, finishing with 35 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. He missed just two shots from the field, too, shooting 12-of-14. Khris Middleton added 17 points in the win, and Brook Lopez dropped 16.
D.J. Augustin led Orlando with 24 points off the bench while shooting 4-of-8 from the 3-point line. Both Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross finished with 20 points.
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