Sure, the Magic outscored Milwaukee by five in the third, even though Milwaukee built a 34 point lead in the quarter at one point, which gave the game the illusion of not running away, and sure, a Terrence Ross three-pointer with 7:22 left pulled Orlando within 12 at 104-92. Is 22 points of a lead disappearing in about a quarter a problem when you push the lead back above 20 shortly thereafter to ice it? I don’t know! Milwaukee is up 2-1 in the series after losing Game #1 now, but they’ve still looked kind of lackluster while doing it.
Giannis Antetokounmpo remains ridiculous, giving the Bucks 35 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists in just 30 minutes of action. We’re mostly here for Wesley Matthews content, and the former Marquette guard went for nine points in his 24 minutes of action, adding a rebound and a steal to the proceedings.
Miami Heat 124, Indiana Pacers 115 — Fun Fact: I had this editing window open while this game was ending because I had written up the Bucks recap. I said to myself, “Self, this seems over with less than 30 seconds to go, so type in the Heat score while the Pacers have the ball here.” So I did. I typed in “Miami Heat 118.” As you can see, that did not happen. For some insane reason, the Pacers kept fouling in the final seconds of the game, and the Heat were able to add six points to their final total. I mean, the Heat took a shot clock violation with 52.8 seconds left. I don’t mean “just didn’t get the shot off,” I mean “stood there dribbling and then handed the ball to the referee.” That was with Miami up 116-112. And then Indiana committed four personal fouls after letting Miami burn the clock down. Why did they do that, when the game was clearly over and getting increasingly more over with every converted freebie? I have no idea, but it definitely strengthens the argument for putting the Elam Ending in the NBA.
ANYWAY, the fact that the game was competitive in the fourth quarter is a credit to the Pacers, as Miami had punched the lead out all the way to 20 late in the second half. Indiana made huge runs at the start and at the end of the third quarter to create some intrigue, but five straight Miami points just from Bam Adebayo was enough to take a 111-109 game with 4:07 to go to a 116-112 game with 1:39 to go. It’s not much, obviously, but Jimmy Butler followed up two free throws by Adebayo with a block on a T.J. Warren layup attempt, and that got us to that shot clock run out. From there, the free throw parade iced it.
Butler had 27 points to lead the group of four Heat players who chipped in at least 20 points. He also had eight rebounds and four assists. Jae Crowder scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Connecticut Sun 82, New York Liberty 65 — This game turned in the third quarter. Connecticut grabbed an advantage in the first, leading by eight at the end of 10 minutes, while the Liberty clawed one of those points back by the time things got to halftime.
In the third, New York managed just 11 points as the Sun burst their way out to a 17 point advantage. I think it’s safe to say at that point, New York’s turnovers were officially affecting things. They would finish with 18 turnovers, but they had 15 through three quarters and that turned into 26 of Connecticut’s 66 points at that juncture. The Sun managed to keep the lead north of 15 for the rest of the game, and that was that.
Alyssa Thomas did Alyssa Thomas things here, going for 25 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals. DeWanna Bonner added a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, and her six assists were a game high. Natisha Hiedeman got into this one only as the Sun built that big lead in the third quarter, but she still finished with 10 minutes played, two points scored, three rebounds grabbed, and three assists handed out.
Up Next: It’s kind of a big one for Connecticut next time out, although they get to wait until Wednesday for it. They’ll face off with Phoenix in that one, and at the conclusion of Saturday’s action, Connecticut was just a half game back of the 6th place Mercury in the standings. That game will start at 9pm Central, and you can catch it on CBS Sports Network.
Over in the NBA Playoffs, Milwaukee takes their 2-1 advantage to NBA TV on Monday afternoon. They get a 12:30 CT start against the Magic for Game #4. The Heat on the other hand will be looking to close out the Pacers in their Game #4 on Monday. Tipoff on that one is set for 5:30pm Central on TNT.