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Bulls 142, Nets 134
Chicago was down and just about out in this one. Go figure, Nate Robinson led them back.
Robinson scored 34 points, and Chicago wiped out a 14-point deficit late in regulation and beat Brooklyn in triple overtime Saturday to take a 3-1 lead in the first-round playoff series.
The Bulls were trailing 109-95 in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter when Robinson went on one of his tears, carrying his team to an improbable victory with a stretch that reminded the streaky point guard of a video game.
"I always think I'm on fire, kind of like the old school game NBA Jam," he said. "You make a couple in a row, the rim's on fire. You shoot the ball, the ball's on fire. I feel like that at times — all the time. Whenever I'm in the game, I just play with a lot of confidence. You kind of have to lie to yourself and feel like you can't miss."
There's the rub with Robinson.
He'll rush shots. He'll miss. He'll make his coach cringe and every Bulls fan groan, but then, he'll do something like this.
Robinson scored all but five of his points after the third quarter, including the first 12 in a 14-0 run that wiped out Brooklyn's late lead. Then, with 2 seconds left in the first overtime, he banked in a go-ahead jumper over Deron Williams.
Joe Johnson answered with one of his own to send it to another overtime, tied at 121. The Bulls had a chance to win in the closing seconds of the second extra session, but Joakim Noah was blocked, and the game went to a third OT.
The Bulls finally pulled away after Williams (32 points) drove for a layup to pull Brooklyn to 133-130 with 3 minutes left. The basket accounted for Williams' only points after regulation.
Luol Deng then scored to make it a five-point game, and Nazr Mohammed hit two shots in the final 32 seconds to help preserve the win.
He converted a jump hook, then grabbed the rebound and scored with 19 seconds left after Carlos Boozer made a free throw and missed the second, making it 140-134.
The Bulls will try to wrap up the best-of-seven series at Brooklyn on Monday. The Nets are going to have to dig deep to win three in a row after they wasted a prime chance to draw even and steal back home-court advantage.
Brooklyn was leading by 14 after a dunk by Gerald Wallace with 3:45 left in the fourth. C.J. Watson then stole the ball and was all alone for a breakaway dunk, but he missed.
Robinson nailed a 3 with 2:53 remaining, and that got the tying run started. Boozer finished it with a layup with about 55 seconds left.
Brook Lopez then hit two free throws, but the Bulls tied it again when Noah put back his own miss with 23 seconds left. Williams missed a jumper and Wallace had his layup blocked by Jimmy Butler with a second left, sending the game into overtime.
"We made a lot of mistakes up 14," Williams said. "It was so long ago, I can't remember what all went on. We had the missed dunk. Missed free throws. I fouled Nate on the 3. We made a lot of mistakes in the fourth quarter."
Thunder 104, Rockets 101
Kevin Durant scored 41 points in his first game without injured All-Star Russell Westbrook, and Oklahoma City fought off Houston's late rally to take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven playoff series.
Durant scored 27 points in the first half, and the Thunder led by 26 points before a big third-quarter rally by the Rockets put them within striking distance.
Houston regained the lead with about 4 minutes left, and was up with less than a minute remaining. But Durant hit a 3-pointer seconds later to put Oklahoma City on top 100-99.
A turnover by James Harden gave the Thunder the ball back and Derek Fisher made two free throws to push the lead to 3. Harden made a layup, but Reggie Jackson hit two more free throws after that.
Houston had a last chance, but Carlos Delfino's 3-pointer fell short.
Harden scored 30 points to lead the Rockets in the first playoff game in Houston since 2009.
Game 4 is Monday night in Houston
Grizzlies 104, Clippers 83
Marc Gasol had 24 points and 13 rebounds, and Memphis beat Los Angeles to even the first-round playoff series at two-all.
Zach Randolph finished with 24 points and nine rebounds as the Grizzlies won their second straight to ensure another stop in Memphis for Game 6. Mike Conley had 15 points and 13 assists, and Tayshaun Prince scored 15 in his best game of the series.
Chris Paul and Blake Griffin had 19 points apiece for the Clippers, and Griffin also grabbed 10 rebounds. Los Angeles' reserves outscored its counterparts again, 43-16. But DeAndre Jordan was the only other starter to score for Los Angeles, and he had two points. Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler went a combined 0 for 10 from the floor in being shut out.
Game 5 is Tuesday night in Los Angeles.
Hawks 90, Pacers 69
Al Horford had 26 points and 16 rebounds as Atlanta turned things around dramatically in its playoff series against Indiana, blowing out the Pacers in Game 3.
Playing with much more urgency than they did in two double-digit losses at Indianapolis, the Hawks raced to a 54-30 halftime lead and narrowed the best-of-seven series to 2-1. Game 4 is Monday night in Atlanta, where the Hawks have won 12 straight over the Pacers dating to 2006.
The Hawks changed up their lineup — inserting 7-footer Johan Petro at center and bringing 3-point specialist Kyle Korver off the bench — after getting manhandled on the road. With more favorable matchups and a lot more energy, Atlanta suddenly made a series of it.
Indiana, which looked so dominant on its home court, was a totally different team after heading south. David West led the Pacers with 18 points. Paul George, who averaged 25 points in the first two games, was held to 16 on 4-of-11 shooting. The Pacers connected on a dismal 27 percent (22 of 81) from the field.
Spurs 120, Lakers 89
Tim Duncan had 26 points and nine rebounds, and San Antonio pushed Los Angeles to the brink of playoff elimination with a victory in Game 3, the worst home playoff loss in franchise history.
Tony Parker had 20 points and seven assists as the Spurs methodically seized control of the series by dominating their third straight meeting with the short-handed Lakers, who played without their top four guards due to injury.
Dwight Howard had 25 points and 11 rebounds, and Pau Gasol added his first career playoff triple-double with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, but the Spurs were far too much for a team without Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. Andrew Goudelock scored a career-high 20 points in his first playoff start.
Warriors 110, Nuggets 108
Stephen Curry played through a sprained left ankle to score 29 points and Golden State beat Denver to take a 2-1 series lead.
Curry also had 11 assists, Jarrett Jack added 23 points and seven assists, and Harrison Barnes and Carl Landry each scored 19 points to help the Warriors rally from 13 points down in the third quarter. Golden State still had to sweat out Andre Iguodala's missed 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded, setting off a gold-confetti celebration throughout the announced sellout crowd of 19,596.
Ty Lawson had a career playoff-high 35 points to go with 10 assists, and reserve Corey Brewer scored 16 points as Denver dropped its second straight game - and its grip on the best-of-seven series.