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.

The Oklahoma City Thunder and head coach Billy Donovan have parted ways after five seasons.

Donovan led the Thunder to the playoffs in each of his campaigns at the helm, but they bowed out in the first round for the fourth straight year in 2019-20.

After leading the team to a 243-157 record, Donovan and the Thunder did not renew his contract, it was confirmed on Tuesday.

"I have great respect for Billy and will always appreciate our work together. He is a terrific basketball coach and we are proud of what he has accomplished with the Thunder," the team's executive vice-president and general manager Sam Presti said.

"We had planned to sit down at the end of the season and discuss the best way to move forward for both of us. After those discussions, it became apparent that we couldn't provide him the information on the future direction of the team over the next several seasons to give him the level of clarity that he understandably desires at this stage of his career.

"Therefore, we close this chapter and reflect fondly on all that he has given to the team, organisation and community. Billy will always have a place in the Thunder family."

Donovan, whose team were beaten 4-3 by the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference first round this season, thanked the Thunder.

"Coaching the Oklahoma City Thunder the past five seasons has been a great honour, and I thank Mr. [Clayton] Bennett [Thunder owner], Sam and the entire organisation for the opportunity," he said.

"I have a great respect and admiration for the players I coached in Oklahoma, and I also want to thank the coaches I worked with, who gave unbelievable time and expertise to our common goal.

"Lastly, I want to thank the Oklahoma City community for being so welcoming to my family during our time here. This place will always be special to us. I will always hold this organisation in the highest regard and wish the Thunder and their fans the success they deserve."

James Harden admitted he "was just doing everything that was not supposed to happen" before coming up with a vital series-winning block in Game 7 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Houston Rockets superstar Harden had just 17 points on Wednesday after also failing to have an impact late in Game 6.

The Thunder won on that occasion as Russell Westbrook was instead handed control of the team down the stretch and contributed costly clutch errors, prompting Chris Paul - Harden's ex-team-mate - to say: "Some people are built for it, some people shy away from it."

But just as it looked as though Harden would come up short again, a block on Lu Dort denied the OKC rookie the chance to win the first-round series from three-point range in the closing seconds.

"Physically, I felt like s*** - excuse my language," Harden told ESPN. "I couldn't make a shot, turned the ball over, was just doing everything that was not supposed to happen, but I just kept sticking with it.

"My team-mates give me confidence throughout the game. Defensively I had to make a play and I closed it out to him. Dort has been making some shots, so I wanted to get out to him."

Harden's defensive game has often been criticised but he said he had "been locked in all year long trying to be better" and "tried to find a way to impact the game".

For that reason, he ranked the play - with his team 103-102 ahead - among the best of his outstanding NBA career.

"It's one of the top ones, definitely," Harden, who reacted with a roar of delight, said afterwards to reporters.

"It's cool to get 40 or 50 points, shooting the ball, shooting the ball - obviously we all want to do that - but just to get recognition and for it to pay off when it counts on the defensive end, showing that I've been engaged and locked in, means a lot."

The final play was harsh on Dort, who went undrafted last year, only debuted in December and averaged just 6.8 points in the regular season but came up with a game-high 30 in the decider.

The 21-year-old made six three-pointers but could not find a way past Harden at the last and threw the ball out of bounds when his shot was blocked.

"I just kept my confidence. The way they were playing me, they were letting me shoot," Dort said. "Even though I had a couple of bad nights, I stepped up and shot it with confidence.

"On the last one, I just didn't think he was that close but he was and he got it. It felt good and I was confident enough to take that shot, but he was just there and it was a good play from him."

Harden said of his opponent: "I've known him since college, when I would go back to Arizona State, and he would work his butt off. It's showing.

"He played extremely well tonight; on the offensive end, he made a lot of shots. He just plays his butt off. He doesn't care about anything but playing hard.

"As a young guy, coming into this league, that's all you can ask for. Learning how to play and learning defensive schemes and offensive schemes, the total package of being an NBA player, that is going to come.

"But he has the right mindset of just playing hard and not caring what anybody thinks. He's going to have a great career."

The Miami Heat moved into a 2-0 series lead over the Milwaukee Bucks in controversial fashion, while the Houston Rockets advanced.

Miami posted a 116-114 victory over the Bucks to go 2-0 up in the Eastern Conference semi-finals on Wednesday.

But it came after a controversial finish in the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World Resort.

With Miami leading 114-111 with less than five seconds to play, Goran Dragic was called for a foul on Khris Middleton, who hit three free-throws.

But, more drama was to follow, Giannis Antetokounmpo ruled to have fouled Jimmy Butler, who hit two free-throws with no time left to lift the Heat to a 2-0 lead against the top seeds.

The Rockets finally advanced from the Western Conference first round thanks to a 104-102 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 7.

Despite a poor offensive outing from James Harden, the Rockets moved into a meeting with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Harden produced a huge late block to deny Luguentz Dort (30 points) as the Rockets held on.

 

Even Heat enough to power past Giannis

Miami had seven players in double-digits for points in their win over the Bucks, led by Dragic (23).

Tyler Herro, 20, was one of the seven, going six-of-13 from the field for 17 points off the bench for Miami.

Antetokounmpo had a double-double of 29 points and 14 rebounds for the Bucks.

Chris Paul had a triple-double of 19 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds as the Thunder were beaten.

 

Harden's woes

Harden struggled badly for Houston. The star guard was four-of-15 for just 17 points in 37 minutes, while he also had four turnovers.

 

Huge defensive moment for Harden

While he battled offensively, Harden delivered a huge defensive play with his block on Dort.

Raptors face Celtics

Trailing the Boston Celtics 2-0 in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, the Toronto Raptors need a response on Thursday.

The Houston Rockets "can't play much worse" than they did in Game 6 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, said Mike D'Antoni.

The Thunder triumphed 104-100 on Monday to force a decisive Game 7 in the Western Conference first-round playoff series, with the Rockets paying the price for committing 22 turnovers.

With the scores locked at 98-98 heading into the final two minutes, Russell Westbrook twice gave possession away, airballed a jump shot and sent Danilo Gallinari to the line for the final points of the game.

Westbrook missed the start of the series with a thigh injury and he confirmed he will remain on a minutes restriction in Game 7.

D'Antoni said: "It's tough to come back right in the middle of a series when you've been out for three weeks, and also the whole lay off. He's fine, we'll be fine.

"We played about as bad as we could play. We will have to do a better job the day after tomorrow.

"We are going to respond. We'll clean up some things. We can't play much worse, so we'll play better.

"We just weren't sharp, got a bit careless a few times and we paid for it.

"We had 22 turnovers. You can't have 22. You try to get less than 10 and 22 just sealed our fate.

"Then we had some fouls that weren't disciplined. We had reach-in fouls that put them to the line and let them score, so things we can correct and will."

Asked why turnovers became an issue for the Rockets when it had not been earlier in the series, Westbrook said: "That's just my fault, honestly. That's easy. Last game I had zero, tonight I had seven. As simple as that.

"We've gotta take care of it, starting with myself. Just trying to figure out rhythm and timing, but we'll figure it out next game."

James Harden accounted for five of Houston's turnovers, which he felt undid the strong defensive performance they put in.

"A lot of careless turnovers. Including myself. Just too many turnovers, especially in a playoff game – a closeout game – just gave them too many opportunities," said Harden.

"I think defensively we did a pretty good job with them only scoring 104 points. We just shot ourselves in the foot by turning the ball over and giving us less opportunities to score."

Jimmy Butler put on a show as the Miami Heat topped the Milwaukee Bucks 115-104 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals in the NBA playoffs.

Butler posted a playoff career-high 40 points to lead the Heat past the top-seeded Bucks at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida on Monday.

A five-time All-Star, Butler scored 14 of his points in the final quarter as fifth seeds the Heat upstaged Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks.

Butler became just the third player in Miami's postseason history to have at least 40 points, following in the footsteps of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.

Heat team-mate Goran Dragic added 27 points for Miami, whose 5-0 start to the playoffs is tied for the best ever by a team seeded fifth or lower, per STATS. The Washington Wizards also started 5-0 as the fifth seeds in 2015.

Despite outscoring the Heat 40-29 in the opening quarter, the Bucks were unable to hold on as the Heat's defence starred.

Reigning MVP Antetokounmpo had 18 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Bucks, who were led by Khris Middleton's 28 points.

The Heat and Bucks will meet again in Game 2 on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Oklahoma City Thunder forced a Game 7 against the Houston Rockets after prevailing 104-100.

Facing elimination in the Western Conference opening round, veteran Chris Paul came up big for the Thunder with 28 points and seven rebounds.

Trailing 98-92 with just over four minutes remaining, former Rockets guard Paul was clutch for the Thunder, nailing a pair of three-pointers down the stretch to lift his team.

James Harden recorded 32 points and eight rebounds for the beaten Rockets, who face the Thunder in Wednesday's decider, while Russell Westbrook had seven turnovers against his former team.

 

Jazz face Nuggets

The Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets will go head-to-head in Game 7 of their Western Conference first-round matchup on Tuesday. The Boston Celtics and defending champions the Toronto Raptors are also in action in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semi-final series.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis inspired the Los Angeles Lakers to a 4-1 series victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA playoffs.

The NBA postseason resumed at Walt Disney World Resort on Saturday following a three-day strike amid protests against police brutality and racial injustice after the shooting of Jacob Blake – a black man – in Wisconsin.

James posted 36 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, while Davis finished with 43 points in Saturday's 131-122 win in the Western Conference first round.

Davis and James became the first duo since the ABA-NBA merger to score 35-plus points on 70-plus percent shooting each in the same playoff game, per STATS.

The top-seeded Lakers will face either the Houston Rockets or Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round.

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks advanced in the Eastern Conference thanks to their 118-104 victory over the Orlando Magic.

The Bucks, who triggered protests throughout professional sports in the United States on Wednesday, were led by Giannis Antetokounmpo in their return to the court.

Bucks star and reigning MVP Antetokounmpo had 28 points and 17 rebounds as the Miami Heat await in the next round.

 

Rockets soar as Harden stars

James Harden posted 31 points to lead the Rockets to a 114-80 rout of the Thunder and a 3-2 series lead in the Western Conference. Fellow All-Star Russell Westbrook also returned from injury.

A Nikola Vucevic double-double of 22 points and 15 rebounds were not enough for the eliminated Magic.

In the absence of All-Star team-mate Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum put up 36 points, while Carmelo Anthony had 27 of his own.

 

Rough night for Gallinari and Thunder

Danilo Gallinari managed just one point in the Thunder's heavy loss. He was 0 of five from the field, while missing all three attempts from beyond the arc in 22 minutes. Thunder team-mate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, meanwhile, only posted four points on six-of-eight shooting from the field, and 0 of four from three-point range.

In Orlando's defeat, Gary Clark played 24 minutes and was 0 of four from the field and 0 of three from beyond the arc. He made one of two free throws.

 

LeBron and Davies combine

The two All-Stars continue to flourish in pursuit of the ultimate goal – an NBA championship.

 

Saturday's results

Milwaukee Bucks 118-104 Orlando Magic
Houston Rockets 114-80 Oklahoma City Thunder
Los Angeles Lakers 131-122 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Celtics face Raptors

The Eastern Conference second-round series between the Boston Celtics and defending champions the Toronto Raptors gets underway on Sunday.

An emotional Chris Paul praised the "huge" work of his NBA colleagues and said he will never forget the meetings that followed the Milwaukee Bucks' strike this week.

The Bucks refused to take the court against the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of their first-round series after the shooting of Jacob Blake.

Blake, a black man, was repeatedly shot in the back by police in the team's home state of Wisconsin.

The incident prompted the latest in a series of demonstrations against police brutality and racial inequality, with all playoff games on Wednesday and Thursday subsequently postponed.

A return to action was agreed for Saturday but only after the 13 teams present in Orlando held lengthy meetings to discuss a route forward.

Resumption plans came with commitments from the league that placed a particular emphasis upon enabling voter participation in the 2020 general election this November.

Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Paul had a key role, as the NBPA president, and told the media of his pride at the meetings while again describing his pain.

"Fifteen years in this league and I've never seen a thing like it," Paul said. "Honestly.

"I wasn't the oldest one in the room - I think Udonis Haslem was - but the voices that were heard, I'll never forget it, I'll never forget it.

"For a lot of us, you get a chance to read and see pictures of the Cleveland Summit, those who came before us, the Muhammad Alis, the Jim Browns, the Kareem Abdul-Jabbars, and how powerful they were.

"We're not saying that we're that, but what we're doing in our league right now is huge.

"I think for the young guys in our league, they get a chance to see how guys are really coming together and speaking and see real change, real action.

"Because guys are tired. Like, I mean, tired. When I say 'tired,' we're not physically tired, we're just tired of seeing the same thing over and over again, right?

"I was blessed and fortunate enough to talk to Jacob Blake's father - he was in my home state of Winston-Salem for a while - and it's emotional, especially when you're a black man.

"You know that when [Bucks star] George Hill spoke, he talked about being a black man and he was hurt. He was hurt. We're all hurt.

"We're all tired of just seeing the same thing over and over again and everybody just expects us to be okay, just because we get paid great money. You know, we're human. We have real feelings.

"And I'm glad that we got the chance to get in a room together to talk with one another and not just cross paths and say, 'good luck in your game today'."

The Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds called off Wednesday's MLB game in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

All three NBA playoff games at Walt Disney World Resort on Wednesday were postponed amid protests following the shooting of Blake – a black man who was repeatedly shot in the back by police.

It came after the Milwaukee Bucks – the top seeds in the Eastern Conference – decided to boycott Game 5 of their first-round postseason series against the Orlando Magic.

And in baseball, the Brewers followed suit after agreeing not to play their midweek fixture against the Reds at Miller Park in Milwaukee amid protests against racial injustice in the United States.

"The players from the Brewers and Reds have decided to not play tonight's baseball game," a statement from both sets of players said.

"With our community and our nation in such pain, we wanted to draw as much attention to the issues that really matter, especially racial injustice and systemic oppression."

The Seattle Mariners will also sit out MLB action midweek after players agreed to postpone their meeting with the San Diego Padres.

"The Seattle Mariners respect the team's decision not to play tonight's game," a statement read. "The Seattle Mariners stand with our players as they speak out with their words and actions against social injustice."

Mariners second baseman Dee Gordon wrote via Twitter: "There are serious issues in this country. For me, and for many of my teammates, the injustices, violence, death and systemic racism is deeply personal.

"This is impacting not only my community, but very directly my family and friends. Our team voted unanimously not to play tonight.

"Instead of watching us, we hope people will focus on the things more important than sports that are happening."

Los Angeles Lakers president Jeanie Buss expressed her full support for NBA players after Wednesday's playoff games were postponed amid protests against racial injustice in the United States.

The top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks made the call to boycott Game 5 of their first-round Eastern Conference series against the Orlando Magic midweek following the shooting of Jacob Blake.

Milwaukee had the chance to seal their spot in the second round of the postseason, but opted to sit out at Walt Disney World Resort after Blake, a black man, was repeatedly shot in the back by police in Wisconsin.

The decision was then taken for all three midweek games to be postponed – the Los Angeles Lakers' Western Conference showdown against the Portland Trail Blazers and the Houston Rockets-Oklahoma City Thunder clash.

The 2019-20 season, being played behind closed doors in Orlando, Florida amid the coronavirus pandemic, is now reportedly in jeopardy as players voice their displeasure in the ongoing fight for justice.

But Lakers boss Buss tweeted: "I was excited to see us play - and hopefully close out our series - tonight. But I stand behind our players, today and always.

"After more than 400 years of cruelty, racism and injustice, we all need to work together to say enough is enough. #JusticeForJacobBlake #WeHearYou."

The Magic, meanwhile, also released a statement after sitting out alongside the Bucks in the east.

"Today we stand united with the NBA Office, the National Basketball Players Association, the Milwaukee Bucks and the rest of the league condemning bigotry, racial injustice and the unwarranted use of violence by police against people of colour," the Magic said.

All three NBA playoff games on Wednesday were postponed amid protests following the shooting of Jacob Blake in the United States.

The Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks cruised into 3-1 series leads in the NBA playoffs on Monday.

The Lakers made it three straight wins over the Portland Trail Blazers with a 135-115 victory, taking a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference first-round series.

LeBron James produced a huge performance with a double-double of 30 points and 10 assists for the Lakers.

Anthony Davis posted 18 points before exiting due to back spasms, while Kyle Kuzma contributed 18 off the bench.

While Jusuf Nurkic had a double-double of 20 points and 13 rebounds, the Trail Blazers lost star Damian Lillard (11 points) to a knee injury.

The Bucks grabbed a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series against the Orlando Magic thanks to a 121-106 win.

Giannis Antetokounmpo unsurprisingly led Milwaukee with a double-double of 31 points and 15 rebounds, plus eight assists.

Khris Middleton struggled from the field, going seven-of-19, but still finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

 

Dynamic Dragic sees Miami through, Thunder draw level

Goran Dragic had a team-high 23 points as the Miami Heat completed a 4-0 series sweep of the Indiana Pacers courtesy of a 99-87 win.

Miami were also led by Bam Adebayo, who finished with 14 points, 19 rebounds and six assists.

The Western Conference first-round series between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets is locked at 2-2. Dennis Schroder had 30 points off the bench as the Thunder won Game 4 117-114.

Thunder forward Shai Gilgeous-Alexander managed a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds.

The Rockets were beaten despite a fine performance by James Harden, who had 32 points, 15 assists and eight rebounds.

 

Bad Brogdon

Indiana are out of the playoffs and Malcolm Brogdon struggled for the Pacers, going five-of-16 from the field in Game 4. The guard finished with 13 points in 40 minutes.

 

LeBron from range

James hit a three-pointer from just over half-court in the Lakers' win.

Monday's results

Milwaukee Bucks 121-106 Orlando Magic
Oklahoma City Thunder 117-114 Houston Rockets
Miami Heat 99-87 Indiana Pacers
Los Angeles Lakers 135-115 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Mavericks face Clippers

Luka Doncic inspired the Dallas Mavericks to draw level in their series with the Los Angeles Clippers. The crucial Game 5 of the Western Conference first-round series is on Tuesday.

LeBron James inspired the Los Angeles Lakers to a 116-108 win and 2-1 series lead over the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA playoffs.

James erupted for 38 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists as the top-seeded Lakers trumped the Trail Blazers in Game 3 of their Western Conference first-round series on Saturday.

At age 35, James became the oldest player to reach both 38 points and eight assists in a playoff game, surpassing Michael Jordan (34 in 1997), per STATS.

James moved second on the all-time list for playoff wins with 158, leapfrogging Tim Duncan and closing in on Derek Fisher (161), while the three-time NBA champion climbed up to third on the all-time list for three-points made in the playoffs (375).

Anthony Davis contributed his own double-double of 29 points and 11 rebounds as the Lakers benefited from a 40-point third quarter to see off eighth seeds the Trail Blazers in Orlando, Florida.

Damian Lillard's 34 points were not enough for the Trail Blazers, while CJ McCollum (28) and Carmelo Anthony (20) also impressed at Walt Disney World Resort.

 

Giannis fuels Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way for the Milwaukee Bucks, who earned a 2-1 series lead against the Orlando Magic in their Eastern Conference opening-round matchup. The reigning MVP had 35 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in a 121-107 triumph. Antetokounmpo was 12 of 14 from the field.

Dennis Schroder (29 points), Chris Paul (26), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (23) and Danilo Gallinari (20) all impressed as the Oklahoma City Thunder outlasted the Houston Rockets 119-107 in overtime. Oklahoma City avoided falling 3-0 behind in the Western Conference series. The Thunder outscored the Rockets 15-3 in OT.

James Harden scored a game-high 38 points, but the Rockets still lost. He fouled out 53 seconds into overtime.

Malcolm Brogdon starred with playoff highs of 34 points and 14 assists. However, the Indiana Pacers were beaten 124-115 by the Miami Heat, who lead the Eastern Conference series 3-0.

Jimmy Butler's 27 points and a Bam Adebayo double-double (22 points and 11 rebounds) put the Heat on the cusp of a series sweep.

 

Lakers struggle from the line

While the Lakers won, they were far from convincing at the free-throw line. The Lakers were just 65.1 per cent from the line, compared to Portland's 94.7 per cent. Davis – who missed four of his first five attempts – was seven of 14 and James 12 of 17.

 

Harden with the euro step

The Rockets guard weaved his way past two opponents en route to the rim.

 

Saturday's results

Los Angeles Lakers 116-108 Portland Trail Blazers
Oklahoma City Thunder 119-107 Houston Rockets (OT)
Miami Heat 124-115 Indiana Pacers
Milwaukee Bucks 121-107 Orlando Magic

 

Raptors face Nets

Defending champions the Toronto Raptors can seal a series sweep against the Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference on Sunday. The Philadelphia 76ers, meanwhile, will look to avoid a 4-0 whitewash in their matchup with the Boston Celtics.

The Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks drew level in their respective NBA playoff series on Thursday.

Coming off surprise Game 1 losses, the Lakers and Bucks responded against the Portland Trail Blazers and Orlando Magic respectively.

The Lakers drew level at 1-1 in their Western Conference first-round meeting with the Trail Blazers courtesy of a 111-88 win.

Anthony Davis posted a double-double of 31 points and 11 rebounds as the Lakers won their first playoff game since 2012.

While Davis went 13-of-21 from the field, LeBron James was below his best, but still managed 10 points, seven assists and six rebounds.

Red-hot Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard had 18 points, but the guard was one-of-seven from three-point range.

In the Eastern Conference, the Bucks are back to 1-1 against Orlando after a 111-96 victory.

Giannis Antetokounmpo lifted Milwaukee with 28 points and 20 rebounds, while Brook Lopez had 20 points.

Harden guides Rockets as Robinson shines for Heat

James Harden had 21 points and nine assists as the Houston Rockets took a 2-0 series lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder courtesy of a 111-98 win.

Danuel House Jr. contributed 19 points, nine rebounds and three assists for the Rockets.

Duncan Robinson was in impressive form as the Miami Heat went 2-0 up against the Indiana Pacers thanks to a 109-100 win. Robinson was seven-of-eight from three-point range for 24 points in 25 minutes.

Heat star Goran Dragic posted 20 points.

 

Miserable Melo

Carmelo Anthony struggled badly for Portland. He was one-of-six for just two points in 26 minutes.

 

Davis delights

Davis showed his class during the Lakers' series-levelling win.

Thursday's results

Miami Heat 109-100 Indiana Pacers
Houston Rockets 111-98 Oklahoma City Thunder
Milwaukee Bucks 111-96 Orlando Magic
Los Angeles Lakers 111-88 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Clippers face Mavericks

With their Western Conference first-round series locked at 1-1, the Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks do battle in Game 3 on Friday.

James Harden lauded the Houston Rockets' display in Tuesday's 123-108 Western Conference first-round series-opening win against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Rockets were without injured star Russell Westbrook but still controlled proceedings in Orlando, where All-Star guard Harden contributed 37 points.

But Harden's focus was on the team performance as the Rockets issued an early statement of intent in the 2020 NBA playoffs.

"Our ball movement was excellent," he said. "We were just playing off the catch.

"Guys were just very confident in their shots. I think we had a lot of opportunities that we missed that were really good shots.

"We did a really good job of not turning the basketball over, which would've given them opportunities to get out in transition."

Jeff Green was also influential for Mike D'Antoni's team, scoring 22 points in his 32 minutes off the bench, during which the Rockets were +28.

Harden reserved special praise for Green and his ball-handling skills in particular.

"It's huge for us," said Harden. "Now I don't have to just dribble the basketball up. Those guards can kind of pressure me.

"He's able to dribble the ball up and get us in our offense."

Green added: "I'm just trying to find ways to impact the game, be that defensively or offensively.

"On the offensive end, we're playing together, and we're playing for each other. That's what's important, and that's how we're going to succeed."

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