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Heat 104, Bucks 91
Every game, someone different steps up for Miami.
Well, someone different and that guy named LeBron.
Ageless Ray Allen scored 23, setting the NBA career playoff record for 3-pointers in the process, and LeBron James had seven of his 22 points during a decisive run that closed out the third quarter — and maybe Milwaukee.
The Heat's victory Thursday night gave the defending champions a 3-0 lead, with a chance to complete the sweep Sunday afternoon at the Bradley Center.
"That's been our calling card all year, the depth that we have," said Allen, whose five 3s gave him 322 for his career, two more than Reggie Miller. "
"As a team, you've got to find way to plug in the holes, and every night we find somebody different."
Chris Bosh added 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Heat, who have won 11 straight dating to the regular season and 40 of their last 42. Chris Andersen had another big game, scoring 11 on 5-of-5 shooting and grabbing six rebounds in less than 14 minutes.
Dwyane Wade had just four points, and his 1-of-12 shooting was his worst in a postseason game. But he contributed 11 assists, nine rebounds, five steals and two blocks.
"I shot the ball terrible," Wade, who is still nursing a bruised right knee, said with a laugh. "But we played a good game. Game 3 is a tough game. I thought, as a team, we showed a lot of guts, a lot of grit. When those guys came out hot, we stayed with it, we stayed with our game plan and were able to get a great win. There's nothing as satisfying as winning a Game 3 on the road. But it's over now. Now we have to focus on closing the series out."
Milwaukee, meanwhile, will simply try and avoid being swept.
Larry Sanders and Brandon Jennings had 16 each to lead six Bucks in double figures, and Sanders added 11 rebounds while Jennings contributed eight assists. But the Bucks couldn't maintain the 10-point lead they took in the first quarter, when they shot 57 percent (12 of 21) and were 5 of 10 from 3-point range. Milwaukee was just 12 of 21 over the final three quarters (41 percent), and made only two more 3s.
"I hope we're still confident," Jennings said. "As a team, we need to stay together."
The defending champions still haven't played their best game. But it hardly matters with their ability to pull off one of their patented runs.
After leading for much of the game, Milwaukee was trying to pull away early in the third. Jennings was fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all three free throws, then followed with a one-hand slam after Ersan Ilyasova's steal. Luc Mbah a Moute made two sets of free throws, and the Bucks were back up 61-55 with 7:14 left in the third.
But the Heat have made a habit of putting the Bucks away with runs, and this game was no different.
Udonis Haslem made a layup and a pair of free throws, Mario Chalmers followed with a layup and the Heat were off on what would be a 23-7 run to close out the quarter.
Bulls 79, Nets 76
Carlos Boozer had 22 points and 16 rebounds, Luol Deng added 21 points and 10 boards, and Chicago held off Brooklyn in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.
The Bulls had no field goals and two foul shots in the final 5:46 of the game, but still managed to beat the Nets for the second time in the postseason. They will try to grab a 3-1 lead when the series resumes in a quick turnaround Saturday afternoon.
Brooklyn shot 35 percent for the second straight game. Brook Lopez had 22 points and nine rebounds, and Deron Williams finished with 18 points on 5-for-14 shooting.
Grizzlies 94, Clippers 82
Zach Randolph had 27 points and 11 rebounds, and Memphis beat Los Angeles to pull to 2-1 in the series.
Memphis snapped the Clippers' nine-game winning streak by outrebounding and dominating on second-chance points, the same things Los Angeles did so well on its home court to start the series.
Marc Gasol accepted his trophy as the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year before tipoff, then scored 16 points
Blake Griffin scored 16 points for the Clippers. Chris Paul had eight points on 4-of-11 shooting and added six assists.
Game 4 is Saturday in Memphis.