Bulls and Rockets take must-win playoff wins
April 27, 2014, 12:11 am TWN
WASHINGTON--Chicago hung on for a thrilling win at Washington and Houston did the same at Portland on Friday to trim the deficits in their NBA playoff series to 2-1 while Brooklyn went up 2-1 with a home-court victory over Toronto.
Chicago, trailing 2-0 to Washington, badly needed a victory and Jimmy Butler's 3-pointer with 24 seconds remaining delivered a 100-97 win over the Wizards.
Houston was in the same predicament, needing a road win to prevent falling into a 3-0 hole and they managed to pull it off in overtime, with Troy Daniels hitting a 3 with 11.9 seconds remaining in the added period to seal a 121-116 win at Portland.
Brooklyn, hosting a playoff game for the first time since relocating from New Jersey, edged Toronto 102-98 to claim the series advantage.
Chicago was pushed to victory principally by Mike Dunleavy, whose 35 point haul was only one short of his career high.
Dunleavy went 12 for 19 from the field, including a career-high eight 3-pointers on 10 attempts, for the Bulls, who are attempting to become only the fourth NBA team to win a seven-game series after losing the first two at home.
Bradley Beal scored 13 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter for the Wizards.
Houston's James Harden broke out of a slump with a career playoff-best 37 points and Dwight Howard added 24 points and 14 rebounds for the Rockets.
LaMarcus Aldridge had more than 40 points in each of Portland's victories in the first two games in Houston, but Omer Asik did a good job of shutting him down in Game 3, holding the All-Star forward to 23 points. The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard with 30 points.
Portland trailed by as many as 11 points in the final quarter but Nicolas Batum hit a 3-pointer with 41 seconds left to tie the game at 110. Harden missed a half-court shot at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.
Brooklyn's Joe Johnson scored 29 points, including the clinching free throws with 3.1 seconds left, to give the Nets a valuable win.
Paul Pierce had 18 points, and he and Kevin Garnett provided the game's signature plays late in the second quarter, a reminder that the Nets brought the veterans here as much for their bravado as their basketball.
The Nets blew almost all of a 15-point, fourth-quarter lead.
DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points for the Raptors, who have lost 13 straight road playoff games. Patrick Patterson added 17 points but missed two free throws with a chance to tie for Toronto.