PORTLAND – Troy Daniels snapped a tie with a three-pointer with 11.9 seconds left and the Houston Rockets narrowed Portland’s first-round playoff advantage to 2-1 with a 121-116 overtime victory over the Trail Blazers on Friday night.
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 scored 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 slowing 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 made a three-pointer with 41 seconds left to tie the score at 110. Harden missed a half-court shot at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.
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Lillard’s reverse layup gave Portland a 116-112 lead with 3:08 left in the extra period. Jeremy Lin made a jumper from the top of the key before Harden’s fadeaway tied the score with 1:51 to go in OT.
After Daniels’ key shot, Batum missed a three with 4.9 seconds left and Harden made free throws for the final margin.
“I thought we had some good looks down the stretch,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “Lin, Harden and Daniels made their shots. And we didn’t.”
Game 4 of the best-of-seven Western Conference series is Sunday at the Moda Center in Portland.
Bulls get road victory
WASHINGTON – Mike Dunleavy was making so many three-pointers, the Washington Wizards overguarded him at the arc and let him drive for a three-point play instead.
The points were coming so easily Bradley Beal guaranteed at halftime Dunleavy wouldn’t score again — and then clobbered the Chicago Bulls’ veteran during a three-point attempt during the third quarter. The ball went in anyway, and Dunleavy completed a four-point play.
“He was in the zone, man,” Beal said. “I guess the hoop looked like an ocean to him.”
The Bulls needed a go-to guy after their offensive struggles put them in a 2-0 hole in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series.
For one night, at least, they found him. Dunleavy scored 35 points, one short of his career high, and Jimmy Butler made a go-ahead three-pointer with 24 seconds remaining for a 100-97 Game 3 victory.
Dunleavy went 12 for 19 from the field, including a career-high 8 three-pointers on 10 attempts. Not bad for a 33-year-old who was playing in his 12th playoff game. His teams’ record in those games before Friday: 1-10.
Game 4 is Sunday in Washington as Chicago attempts to become the fourth league team to win a seven-game series after losing the first two at home.
Beal scored 13 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter. John Wall added 23 points and seven assists for the Wizards, who will have to wonder whether they will have Nene for Game 4.
The Brazilian forward was ejected in the fourth quarter after a forehead-to-forehead confrontation with Butler. Nene grabbed Butler by the back of the neck and the side of the head before they were separated.
Nene is almost certain to get fined, and a suspension is possible.
“I have nothing to regret,” he said. “I’m a warrior right there.”
Nets win at home
NEW YORK – Paul Pierce climbed high for the dunk, Kevin Garnett went to the floor for a loose ball, and Brooklyn suddenly looked and sounded like Boston.
The Nets brought the two champions from the Celtics so it would be like this.
Joe Johnson scored 29 points, Pierce and Garnett brought a charge to their first playoff game in Brooklyn and the Nets held off the Toronto Raptors 102-98 for a 2-1 lead in their East first-round series.
Johnson made the clinching free throws with 3.1 seconds left after 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.