Nate Robinson had 34 points to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 142-134 triple overtime win against the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the National Basketball Association playoffs.
The Bulls, who lost the first game in the best-of-seven series, have won three in a row and can advance to the next round with a victory tomorrow at Brooklyn. They rallied from 14 points down on Robinson’s 12-0 streak that he said reminded him of a video game.
“I always think I’m on fire, kind of like the old school game NBA Jam,” Robinson told reporters. “You make a couple in a row, the rim’s on fire. You shoot the ball, the ball’s on fire. I feel like that at times -- all the time. Whenever I’m in the game, I just play with a lot of confidence. You kind of have to lie to yourself and feel like you can’t miss.”
In other games yesterday, the Memphis Grizzlies routed the Los Angeles Clippers 104-83 to even their series at 2-2, the Atlanta Hawks defeated the Pacers 90-69 to trail 2-1, and the Oklahoma City Thunder, playing without Russell Westbrook, took a 3-0 lead with a 104-101 win over the Houston Rockets.
During today’s games, the Miami Heat seek to sweep their series with the Milwaukee Bucks; the Knicks can eliminate the Boston Celtics; the San Antonio Spurs can take their series 4-0 against the Los Angeles Lakers with a win; and the Denver Nuggets will try to even their series 2-2 against the Golden State Warriors.
On home court at United Center, the Bulls had a 58-55 halftime lead before the Nets outscored them 29-18 in the third quarter. Brooklyn led by 14 points with three minutes, 45 seconds left in the game.
Robinson then went on his own 12-0 run to bring the Bulls within two with one minute, 10 seconds remaining, before Carlos Boozer tied the game at 109-109.
The Nets’ Brook Lopez hit two free throws with 33 seconds left and Joakim Noah’s layup tied the game 111-111 to end regulation play.
“We made a lot of mistakes up 14,” said the Nets’ Deron Williams. “It was so long ago, I can’t remember what all went on. We had the missed dunk. Missed free throws. I fouled Nate on the 3. We made a lot of mistakes in the fourth quarter.”
Boozer had 21 points for the Bulls, and Kirk Hinrich added 18.
Williams scored 32 points for the Nets and Lopez added 26 points and 11 rebounds.
The Grizzlies trailed 47-46 at the half and then outscored the Clippers 25-20 in the third quarter and 33-16 in the final period.
At Philips Arena in Atlanta, Al Horford had 26 points and 16 rebounds as the Hawks won their first playoff game to trail the series against the Pacers 2-1.
The Hawks can even the series during a home game tomorrow.
At Toyota Center in Houston, Kevin Durant had 41 points and 14 rebounds and Serge Ibaka added 17 points and 11 rebounds as the Thunder came within one game of sweeping the Rockets.
The Thunder, holder of the best regular-season record in the Western Conference, owned a 66-49 halftime advantage.
Westbrook will miss the rest of the playoffs after undergoing knee surgery yesterday. He tore cartilage in his right knee in Game 2 of the Thunder’s first-round series on April 24.
A timetable for the three-time All-Star’s return will be determined during the offseason, the Thunder said in a statement.
Westbrook averaged 23.2 points per game during the regular season, sixth-best in the league and second on the team to Durant. He also contributed 7.4 assists per game, 1.8 steals and a career-high 5.2 rebounds.
James Harden led the Rockets with 30 points followed by Chandler Parsons who scored 21 points.
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