Butler fuels epic surge in 4th quarter
Jimmy Butler and the Heat are a game away from the Eastern Conference finals.
And the NBA’s best regular-season team is on the brink of getting swept.
A stunning run through the NBA playoffs continued Friday night in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, with Butler scoring 30 points and the Heat putting together a dominant fourth-quarter rally to beat the Bucks 115-100.
The Heat outscored the Bucks 40-13 in the fourth — the biggest such final-quarter margin in NBA playoff history — to take a 3-0 series lead. Butler scored 17 in the period. No team in NBA history has ever successfully rallied from a 3-0 deficit.
“We’ve been proving people wrong all year,” Bam Adebayo said.
Adebayo had 20 points and 16 rebounds, and Jae Crowder had 17 points to help the Heat improve to 7-0 this postseason. Brook Lopez scored 22 points for the Bucks, who got 21 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists from Giannis Antetokounmpo, who twisted an ankle in the first quarter and appeared to labor at times.
Harden, Westbrook propel Rockets
James Harden scored 36 points and the Rockets ran away from the Lakers 112-97, the second straight round the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference lost its opener. Russell Westbrook added 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists and Eric Gordon 23 points for the Rockets, the No. 4 seed that had one day of rest after needing seven games to win their first-round series. Anthony Davis had 25 points and 14 rebounds for the Lakers. LeBron James had 20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
Woodson joins Thibodeau’s staff
Mike Woodson, the only Knicks coach to win a playoff series in the last two decades and the last one to even reach the postseason, is coming back to New York as an assistant on Tom Thibodeau’s staff. He joins longtime Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne and Andy Greer as assistant coaches. Johnnie Bryant is the associate head coach.
Montrezl Harrell won the NBA’s Sixth Man Award, keeping the honor for the league’s top reserve with the Clippers for the third consecutive season. ✶
Jimmy Butler dunks for two of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, in which the Heat outscored the Bucks 40-13.