But­ler fu­els epic surge in 4th quar­ter

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS -

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. ✶

GETTY IM­AGES

Jimmy But­ler dunks for two of his 17 points in the fourth quar­ter, in which the Heat outscored the Bucks 40-13.

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