Daryl Morey is to step down from his position as general manager of the Houston Rockets.

After 14 years with the franchise, the Rockets confirmed that Morey's departure will be effective from November 1.

He will continue to offer assistance to owner Tilman Fertitta in the search for a head coach to replace Mike D'Antoni, who left after Houston lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals.

The Rockets will promote executive vice-president of basketball operations Rafael Stone to general manager, with Eli Witus working under him.

"After returning from Orlando and reflecting on what has been an amazing 14 years with the Houston Rockets, and after discussing my thoughts with family and close friends, I've decided I'll be stepping away from the Rockets organisation effective November 1st," said Morey in a statement.

"Tilman and I have had many conversations since I returned, and his unwavering support and counsel during our time together has been critical to our success.

"It has been the most gratifying experience of my professional life to lead the Rockets basketball organisation, and I look forward to working with Tilman and the management team on the transition.

"I am very confident that the future – for the Rockets, and for our incredible fans – is in great hands, and that the Rockets will continue to perform at the highest level."

Fertitta added: "On behalf of the entire Rockets organisation, I would like to thank Daryl Morey for his hard work and dedication over the past 14 seasons. Daryl is a brilliant innovator who helped the Rockets become a perennial contender.

"I have truly enjoyed working with Daryl and couldn't have asked for a better general manager to have at the start of my ownership. I wish him and his family all the best."

Houston have reached the playoffs in each of the past eight seasons – the longest active streak in the NBA.

In 2017-18 their 65-17 record was the best in the league, but they were beaten in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals by the Golden State Warriors that season.

Steve Kerr aimed a dig at the Houston Rockets by insisting the Golden State Warriors will not play like them despite a significant turnover in personnel.

The Warriors went from making the NBA Finals for a fifth straight year in 2019 to finishing the past regular season with the worst record in the league at 15-50.

Golden State were without All-Star backcourt duo Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson for almost the entire season – the former played just five games while the latter sat out the campaign to recover from ACL surgery.

Kerr has won three rings as head coach of the Warriors and despite the losses of Andre Iguodala and Kevin Durant – key members of the dynasty they established – the switch to a system like that used by the Rockets, who have focused their offense on isolation plays for James Harden, does not appeal.

"We're not reinventing the wheel. We're still gonna be the Warriors," Kerr said on the TK Show.

"We're not going to all of a sudden turn into the Rockets — change our offense — and have one guy go high pick-and-roll 70 times a game.

"We've got to be ourselves. What makes Steph and Klay the players they are is the combination of what they can on and off the ball. That's what moves defenses.

"And what makes Draymond [Green] special is his ability to distribute from either the four or the five spot — to have playmaking at that level. As you watch [the] Miami [Heat] right now [in the NBA Finals], you can see the influence that our team has had on the league.

"It's really difficult for defenses to guard when there's a lot of action going on. So we're not gonna change that stuff."

Harden averaged a league-high 14.1 isolation possessions per game during the 2019-20 regular season, almost twice as many as Rockets team-mate Russell Westbrook who was second on the list at 7.4.

Outside of Houston, Damian Lillard had the most isolation possessions per game at 4.8 – almost a third of Harden's.

Russell Westbrook's reunion with James Harden elevated expectations in Houston at the start of the season.

Another genuine superstar and MVP to partner Harden, at least on paper, rivalled the combinations of LeBron James-Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard-Paul George in the west.

There were definitely good signs after the Rockets opted to move on from Chris Paul and Clint Capela and switch to a 'small ball' strategy.

But Houston's season came to an end in the Western Conference semi-finals at Walt Disney World Resort, prompting the parting of ways between the Rockets and head coach Mike D'Antoni.

As the Rockets' wait for an NBA Finals appearance continues, we review the team's 2019-20 campaign using Stats Perform data.

 

Rockets make unwanted history

Houston have enjoyed a lot of regular-season success, but the same cannot be said in the playoffs.

This was the 14th consecutive season the Rockets finished at .500 or better but failed to reach the NBA Finals – the longest streak of its kind in NBA history.

Houston secured the fourth seed with a 44-28 record before falling to the Lakers in five games in the Orlando bubble.

The Rockets have not advanced to the NBA Finals since winning their last championship in 1995 – a sweep of the Orlando Magic.

There will be a new coach at the helm for their next Finals bid after D'Antoni's contract expired and the 69-year-old did not renew.

D'Antoni oversaw a 217-101 regular-season record in four campaigns in Houston, where the Rockets reached the Conference finals once and enjoyed three other trips to the semi-finals.

 

Harden and Westbrook enter record books

The Rockets gave up a lot to reunite former Thunder team-mates Harden and Westbrook – Houston parting with two future first-round selections, two pick swaps and Chris Paul for the nine-time All-Star.

Harden played his first three NBA seasons in Oklahoma City with Westbrook, helping the Thunder reach the 2012 NBA Finals before joining the Rockets afterwards.

In their first season back together in Houston, Harden and Westbrook became the first pair of team-mates in NBA history to average 25.0-plus points and seven-plus assists per game in the same season.

Harden averaged 34.3 points and 7.5 assists, while Westbrook averaged 27.2 points and seven assists in 2019-20.

 

Harden continues to produce crazy numbers

There is just no stopping Harden in Houston. In 2019-20, points scored by Harden and points scored off his assists averaged 52.4 per game.

It followed 53.9 in 2018-19, 51.3 in 2017-18 and 56 the season previous.

That marked four successive seasons with 50-plus points per game created, tying Oscar Robertson (1963-64 to 1966-67) for the longest streak in NBA history.

While Harden dazzled, Westbrook's struggles were evident in the playoffs this year.

Westbrook shot just 24.2 per cent from three-point range and 53.1 per cent from the free-throw line. He was the first player in NBA history to shoot under 25 per cent from three and under 60 per cent from the line in a single postseason (minimum 30 attempts in both categories).

The Rockets are usually at their best when Westbrook is not shooting a lot of threes – Houston had a 29-13 record when the 2017 MVP shot less than five from beyond the arc compared to 10-13 after attempting five or more.

Houston's whole offense revolves around three-pointers, and yet one of their main players does not shoot them well and they do not win much when he shoots a lot of them.

 

Small-ball disadvantage

Houston first experimented with 'small ball' while Capela was injured in January. Shortly afterwards, the Rockets opted to trade the center to the Atlanta Hawks.

All-in on the approach to help free up Harden and Westbrook, it led to a rebounding disadvantage, exposed in the playoffs. Their average rebound margin per game was minus-9.2, the worst by any team in a single postseason in which they played at least 12 games in the past 30 years.

The Lakers' Anthony Davis in particular was dominant against their small line-up, averaging 25.4 points and 12.4 rebounds while shooting 60 per cent from the field in the series against the Rockets.

During the regular season, Houston's average rebound margin was minus-3.4 in 2018-19 and minus-3.6 in 2019-20. Since the 1976-77 merger, there has never been a team to have a minus-3 or worse average rebound margin in the regular season and then go on to win the NBA title. In fact, only three of the 43 champions since the merger had a negative rebound margin in the regular season – the Rockets in 1993-94 (-0.3) and 1994-95 (-2.8) and the Miami Heat in 2012-13 (-1.5).

LeBron James and Anthony Davis were both named in the All-NBA First Team on Wednesday as the Los Angeles Lakers prepare to face the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals.

The All-NBA selections were announced as the playoffs hot up in Orlando, although the Lakers duo were the only remaining members of the First Team.

James and Davis were joined by James Harden, whose Houston Rockets they beat in the second round, along with reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic.

MVP candidates James and Antetokounmpo were both unanimous votes.

The Los Angeles Clippers' Kawhi Leonard and playoff nemesis Nikola Jokic headlined the Second Team. Jokic led the Nuggets past the Clippers on Tuesday to complete another remarkable series fightback.

Damian Lillard was also included after carrying the Portland Trail Blazers into the postseason, alongside veteran Chris Paul, who impressed following his trade from the Rockets to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Pascal Siakam - disappointing in the playoffs for defending champions the Toronto Raptors - made up the selection.

Meanwhile, in the Third Team, the Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum and the Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler are both still alive as Eastern Conference Finals opponents.

Russell Westbrook, part of the Paul trade, got recognition, too, and was joined by Rudy Gobert and Ben Simmons, the latter ending the season injured.

Mike D'Antoni will not return to coach the Houston Rockets next season, the veteran announced on Sunday.

D'Antoni's contract expired after the Rockets were eliminated from the NBA playoffs following a 4-1 Western Conference semi-final series defeat to top seeds the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.

The 69-year-old, who has already been linked to the Philadelphia 76ers' coaching vacancy, oversaw a 217-101 regular-season record in four campaigns in Houston, where the Rockets reached the Conference finals once and enjoyed three trips to the semi-finals.

"It's with tremendous sadness and gratitude that my wife Laurel and I announce that our incredible journey in Houston has ended for now and that we'll be moving to a new chapter," a statement from D'Antoni read.

"Our time here was among the most memorable experiences of our lives. From the dear friends we've made, the incredible partnerships with civic minded-leaders and city officials, to the wonderful non-profits and the clients they serve. Laurel and I will be forever indebted to this community for embracing our family.

"Most of all, I can't thank enough the entire Fertitta family, Daryl Morey, the staff, and the incredible and dedicated players I've been privileged to coach. The Rockets are a historic NBA franchise with fantastic fans and we've been proud to join with you to play a part in some of the successes here in Houston.

"From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for making us feel like true Houstonians. For that, we will always be truly grateful."

Rockets owner Tilman Feritta added: "I would like to thank Mike D'Antoni and his wife, Laurel, for their incredible contributions to the Houston Rockets organisation and the Houston community.

"Mike is a true professional and an amazing basketball mind. He is a winner, and we have been blessed to have such an outstanding coach and leader to work with the past four seasons."

Russell Westbrook addressed getting into a shouting match with the brother of Rajon Rondo, saying people watching inside the bubble for the NBA playoffs are "supposed to shut your mouth and watch the game".

Westbrook's Rockets were knocked out of the Western Conference semi-finals in Orlando on Saturday after falling to a heavy 119-96 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5.

There was a flashpoint in the fourth quarter when Westbrook reacted to a comment from William Rondo, whose sibling later said he had called the Rockets star "trash".

"People at the game, you're supposed to shut your mouth and watch the game," Westbrook told reporters.

"That's the rules, especially when you have families and people here. Apparently, I guess because [Rajon] Rondo was talking s***, [William] decided he wanted to hop in, too.

"But it's okay. I mean, it's all good, I get it. He wanted to take up for his brother. But those rules stand for everybody, though, no matter who it is – family, whatever.

"He started talking crazy. I don't play that game."

James Harden said the situation was disappointing and added: "It affected us."

Guests inside the NBA bubble have been warned not to be verbally aggressive or enter the floor.

The incident saw William Rondo led away by security, but Rajon hopes his brother is not punished too heavily.

"He didn't do anything crazy," he said. "He called the man 'trash'. Fans do what fans do. He's my brother first. He didn't do anything disrespectful."

The defeat for the Rockets is sure to see speculation about the future of head coach Mike D'Antoni, whose contract is now expired, crank up.

D'Antoni has been linked with positions at the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers but hinted his desire is to remain in Houston.

"We've got a great organisation, great city, great fans, team's great," he said.

"I mean, everything's good here. We'll see what happens, but I couldn't ask for a better situation. I had four years and hopefully it keeps going. You just never know."

The Los Angeles Lakers cruised past the Houston Rockets 119-96 to advance to the Western Conference Finals on Saturday.

LeBron James (29 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists) led the way at the Walt Disney World Resort as the Lakers reached the conference finals for the first time since winning the title in 2010 thanks to a 4-1 series win.

James joined Oscar Robertson as the only players in history to record 250-plus points, 100-plus rebounds and 80-plus assists in the first 10 games of a playoffs.

Anthony Davis posted a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds in a Game 5 during which the Lakers never trailed.

A 35-20 first quarter set up the Lakers' win as they moved through to face either the Los Angeles Clippers or Denver Nuggets.

Rockets star James Harden managed 30 points on 12-of-20 shooting, but Russell Westbrook struggled.

Westbrook was four-of-13 from the field for just 10 points in 36 minutes.

 

Clippers face Nuggets

Leading the semi-final series 3-2, the Clippers can seal a meeting with the Lakers with a win over the Nuggets on Sunday.

The Los Angeles Lakers "elite" defense is the team's third superstar, according to head coach Frank Vogel.

Game 4 of the Western Conference semi-final series saw the Lakers seal a 110-100 victory over the Houston Rockets and move into a 3-1 lead.

They restricted the Rockets to 43.1 per cent shooting as a team, with All-Star guard James Harden 2-of-11 from the floor.

The Lakers missed out on free agent Kawhi Leonard to the Los Angeles Clippers last offseason, but Vogel feels their defense makes up for the absence of a third star alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Vogel said of his team's ability to get stops: "That's as powerful a weapon as there is in one of these playoff runs. It's as powerful as a superstar.

"If you have an elite defense, that can be your third star, so to speak.

"When you have the confidence that you can go four, five, six possessions where you're just squeezing the other team's offense, getting stops, and then with our ability to run the floor, with LeBron James being the quarterback of that action and being in attack mode, we have a strong belief in what we can accomplish as a group."

Harden still finished the game with 21 points by making 16 of his 20 free throw attempts, so Vogel acknowledged there is still room for improvement from the Lakers.

"We're happy with what we were doing on the defensive end," Vogel said. "It can always get better.

"Obviously, the fouls [can be cut down]. Plan A with guarding James Harden is don't put him on the free throw line and we gave him 20 free throw attempts. So, we've got to make sure we're doing a better job there, but overall, we're just trying to limit him and make him as uncomfortable as we can.

"He's seen every coverage there is in the world and he knows how to attack it. Like I said all along with this group and with him: We're not going to be comfortable because we know what he's capable of.

"So, we've just got to continue to watch film, get better, strengthen the plan each game that we play and hopefully get better in Game 5."

James contributed 16 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists and two steals for the Lakers and explained how difficult it is for the team to defend against Harden.

"James is probably one of the best offensive players that we've ever seen in this league," the Lakers star said.

"I mean, he had 20 free throw attempts and we're trying to not put him to the free throw line. One of our game plans is to not put him to the free throw line and we're trying to not put him to the free throw line, and the guy is just so clever that he was still able to get 20 free throw attempts.

"We're just trying to eliminate anything that we can from him, because he can score from [anywhere]. He gets into the paint with his runners, with his floaters. Obviously, he's got the step-back. He's got the threes in transition. He has his catch-and-shoot threes when he's off the ball. And, like I said, he's very tricky with his moves in the paint, where he gets to the free throw line.

"So we're just trying to take away some things. We can't take away everything, because that's how great he is offensively. We try to follow the game plan and see what happens from there."

Anthony Davis and LeBron James starred as the Los Angeles Lakers topped the Houston Rockets 110-100 for a commanding lead in the Western Conference semi-finals.

Davis posted a double-double and James finished one assist shy of a triple-double to help the top-seeded Lakers move 3-1 clear in the NBA playoffs.

All-Star Davis put up 29 points and 12 rebounds in Game 4 at Walt Disney World Resort on Thursday, while James recorded 16 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists.

The Lakers led by as many as 23 points midway through the fourth quarter and looked on track for a blowout victory before the Rockets rallied.

Houston – who overcame a 3-1 deficit in the second round of the 2015 playoffs – put together a 18-2 run to close within 103-96 but the Lakers managed to hold in in Orlando, Florida.

Russell Westbrook led the Rockets with 25 points, and All-Star team-mate James Harden contributed 21 of his own.

Game 5 between the Lakers and Rockets is on Saturday.

 

Celtics face Raptors

It is a winner-takes-all showdown on Friday as the Boston Celtics and defending champions Toronto Raptors meet in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semi-final series.

LeBron James admits his determination to remain at the peak of his powers at 35 is even annoying his wife in the NBA's Orlando bubble.

The Los Angeles Lakers' 112-102 Game 3 win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday was the 162nd postseason victory James has been a part of, a number that takes him past Derek Fisher for the most playoff wins in NBA history.

James was paramount to a victory that put the Lakers 2-1 up in the series as he had 36 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and had four blocks in one quarter.

Even in his 17th year in the league, James continues to remain elite and revealed his dedication to his craft has not stopped since his wife joined him in Orlando.

Asked how he is able to maintain his form on the court at his age, James told reporters: "I'm not going to tell you exactly what I do because I would be giving my opponents a lot of my ingredients.

"But let's just say my wife is not enjoying what I do on a day-to-day basis inside the bubble getting ready for a game. Let's just say that. I spent a lot of time, a lot of time on my body."

James was already the NBA's all-time points leader in the postseason but he claimed another playoff record in moving past Fisher for victories too.

"It's something I never dreamed of," he added.

"I never came into the league as a kid saying, 'I want to be number one in playoff wins.' I always said I want to be a part of a winning culture and be a winning player and do whatever it takes to help my team-mates win and this is the result of it.

"But it doesn't happen without my team-mates over the years. My coaching staff over the years. Everyone from the top to bottom - GMs, owners, training staff, ballboys, everything. Everyone has a hand in that because we're all a part of the process and the success.

"So, either if I was in Cleveland or Miami and now with the Lakers, I've been a part of three great organisations that have allowed me to be a part of something that's historic."

While the collective triumphs have continued to pile up, James may miss out on a fifth MVP to the Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo - not that Lakers head coach Frank Vogel would agree with that decision.

"Nobody impacts winning more than LeBron James," he said.

"That's true for this season, it's why he should be MVP and, honestly, it's probably true in the history of the game."

LeBron James led the way in a record-breaking performance as the Los Angeles Lakers topped the Houston Rockets 112-102 in Game 3 of the Western Conference semi-finals.

James became the all-time leader for NBA playoff wins on Tuesday with his 162nd career victory in the postseason, surpassing Derek Fisher.

The three-time NBA champion and four-time MVP finished with 36 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four blocks to help the top-seeded Lakers claim a 2-1 series lead.

Big performances from James Harden and Russell Westbrook were not enough to lift the Rockets at Walt Disney World Resort.

Meanwhile, Eastern Conference top seeds the Milwaukee Bucks bowed out of the playoffs following a 103-94 loss to the Miami Heat.

Without reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo due to an ankle sprain, the Bucks were eliminated by the fifth-seeded Heat in the second round after suffering a 4-1 series defeat.

The Heat are through to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2014.

 

Davis double-double

While James top-scored for the Lakers, All-Star team-mate Anthony Davis contributed 26 points and 15 rebounds.

It was a vintage performance from Rajon Rondo. The Lakers veteran was eight of 11 from the field and three of five from three-point range for 21 points off the bench.

Rockets star Harden fell short of a triple-double, finishing with 33 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Westbrook recorded 30 points.

Jimmy Butler put up 17 points and 10 rebounds as the Heat advanced.

 

Bledsoe struggles

It was a tough outing for Milwaukee's Eric Bledsoe. In 36 minutes of action, he made just two of his 12 field shots and was one of four from beyond the arc for nine points.

Eric Gordon had 10 points but on two-of-nine shooting from the field, while he converted just two of six three-point attempts.

 

Raptors face Celtics

The Boston Celtics can secure their spot in the Eastern Conference finals by beating defending champions the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 on Wednesday. They lead 3-2.

LeBron James hailed "the intangibles" of Rajon Rondo's display in the Los Angeles Lakers' series-levelling 117-109 win over the Houston Rockets.

The top-seeded Lakers made it 1-1 in the Western Conference semi-finals as guard Rondo produced a dominant outing on Sunday to mark his return to form and fitness.

Rondo had 10 points, nine assists and five steals against the Rockets off the bench in just his second appearance in the bubble.

But James highlighted Rondo's overall influence, which the Lakers have missed since he suffered a thumb injury in practice in July.

"I think he was just extremely aggressive, not only offensively, but defensively – taking the challenge on James [Harden], taking the challenge on whoever he was guarding. Just trying to lead," said James, who had 28 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.

"I mean, that's what 'Do [Rondo] is. He's a leader. And for us to have him back in the postseason, it's a key for our team.

"He comes in, he pushes the tempo, he gets guys involved and that doesn't always show up in the stat sheet.

"The intangibles that he does both offensively and defensively – his nose is always around the ball and he just makes plays for us, and tonight was another example of that."

The Lakers switched things up after the 112-97 loss in Game 1 and James said it showcased the team's versatility.

"We built the team to be able to play in different ways and to be able to play big versus teams, to be able to play small, to be able to play in between," he said.

"We built that from the beginning and we have that, always had that, in our toolbox."

LeBron James and Anthony Davis flexed their muscles with double-doubles as the Los Angeles Lakers levelled their NBA playoff series by topping the Houston Rockets 117-109.

After losing Game 1 in the Western Conference semi-finals, the top-seeded Lakers responded thanks to James' 28 points and 11 rebounds at Walt Disney World Resort, where he finished just one assist shy of a triple-double on Sunday.

Fellow All-Star Davis posted 34 points and 10 rebounds to take down the Rockets in Orlando, Florida.

The Rockets, led by James Harden's 27 points and double-doubles from Russell Westbrook (10 points and 13 rebounds) and P.J. Tucker (18 points and 11 rebounds), outscored the Lakers 41-23 in the third quarter but a 27-17 final period in favour of the Lakers saw Houston fall.

Eastern Conference top seeds the Milwaukee Bucks, meanwhile, stayed alive thanks to a 118-115 overtime win against the Miami Heat in Game 4.

Facing a series sweep and with reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo forced to exit the game due to an ankle injury, the Bucks prolonged their postseason campaign as Khris Middleton put up 36 points.

 

LeBron moves up

The three-time champion and four-time MVP improved to second on the all-time playoffs list for three-pointers made. James now has 386 threes, only behind Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry (470).

Rajon Rondo has struggled for fitness, but the veteran produced an efficient display for the Lakers. He had 10 points, nine assists and five steals against the Rockets off the bench.

Bam Adebayo recorded 26 points and 12 rebounds for the beaten Heat.

 

Giannis cause for concern

Antetokounmpo was already in doubt for Sunday's do-or-die showdown due to his ankle and his availability for Tuesday's Game 5 is up in the air. The Bucks star lasted less than 12 minutes after re-injuring his ankle.

While Westbrook had a double-double, the Rockets star was just four of 15 from the field, while he only made one of his seven three-point attempts.

 

Celtics face Raptors

Can the Toronto Raptors make it three straight wins for a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference semi-finals? The defending champions are in action against the Boston Celtics on Monday. The Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets also meet in Game 3 of their Western Conference semi matchup.

LeBron James was impressed by the sheer speed of the Houston Rockets after they dished out a 112-97 defeat to his Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Rockets star James Harden went 12-of-20 from the field for a game-high 36 points as the Lakers were outplayed and overrun on Friday.

It was an eye-opener for James and his team-mates, who will at least be better prepared for the task awaiting them in Game 2.

Assessing what had made the Rockets so dominant, James said: "I think it's the speed.

"They play with a lot of speed both offensively and defensively. And you can watch it on film and you can see it on film; until you get out there and get a feel for it [you cannot comprehend it].

"That's what we did tonight. We got a feel for their speed, and we should be fully aware of that going into Game 2."

The Lakers will attempt to level the series on Sunday and James, who put up 20 points, added: "How do you adjust to a team's speed? You understand that it's not just about the legs moving; it's about the hands moving as well.

"They're great with their hands. You understand that if you have the turnover, you can't really react; you have to get back, quick twitch. Quick-twitch plays, because they're very, extremely fast.

"You adjust to that by playing against it. It was, 'Okay, we need to play them again'.

"There's no way you can simulate that speed."

 

The Milwaukee Bucks are on the verge of exiting the NBA playoffs, while the Los Angeles Lakers fell in Game 1 against the Houston Rockets.

The top seeds in the Eastern Conference, the Bucks are 3-0 down to the Miami Heat in the semi-finals after Friday's 115-100 loss.

Miami incredibly outscored the Bucks 40-13 in the fourth quarter at the Walt Disney World Resort.

The Bucks led for most of the contest, including by 14 late in the third, but fell apart late.

Jimmy Butler (30 points, seven rebounds and six assists) put Miami on the verge of a shock series win, with 17 of his points coming in the fourth quarter.

The Lakers were beaten 112-97 by the Rockets in Game 1 of the Western Conference semi-finals.

Rockets star James Harden went 12-of-20 from the field for a game-high 36 points.

 

Awesome Adebayo, Westbrook in fine form

Bam Adebayo had a double-double of 20 points and 16 rebounds in Miami's win. He was seven-of-eight from the field.

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo managed 21 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists, but he went seven-of-21 from the field.

Russell Westbrook also struggled with his shot, going 10-of-24, but he had 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists in a Rockets win.

Eric Gordon also contributed 23 points for Houston.

For the Lakers, Anthony Davis posted a double-double of 25 points and 14 rebounds, while LeBron James had 20 points.

 

Bledsoe struggles

Eric Bledsoe battled badly for Milwaukee. He was two-of-nine from the field for just eight points in nearly 30 minutes.

 

Hot Harden

Harden was in spectacular form for the Rockets.

Raptors face Celtics

Following their incredible Game 3 win, the Toronto Raptors will look to level their Eastern Conference semi-final against the Boston Celtics at 2-2 on Saturday.

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