NBA PLAYOFFS


NBA PLAYOFFS

Thursday’s games

76ers 128, Heat 108

MIAMI

A masked Joel Embiid scored 23 points in his postseason debut, Marco Belinelli and Dario Saric each added 21 and Philadelphia beat Miami to take a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series. Ben Simmons finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for the 76ers, who won for the 18th time in their last 19 games and reclaimed home-court advantage. Embiid went on a personal 7-0 run in the fourth quarter to help Philadelphia extend its lead to 14, and send many in the crowd to the exits. Goran Dragic scored 23 points for Miami, which got 19 from Justise Winslow and 14 from Josh Richardson. Game 4 is Saturday afternoon. Embiid was right back in form. He banked in a turnaround straightaway jumper — a fortuitous bounce — to put Philadelphia up nine late, then connected on a 3-pointer and added a pair of throws to start the spurt that put the game away for Philadelphia. Meanwhile, Miami couldn’t find any sort of stride. Hassan Whiteside was mired in foul trouble and ineffective, finishing the night all of 1 for 1 from the field for five points. Dwyane Wade, who Miami needed to be superb in the win at Philadelphia in Game 2, shot 2 for 10. Wayne Ellington, Miami’s single-season leader in 3-pointers after making a record 227 this season, was 1 for 5 from the floor.

Pelicans 119, Trail Blazers 102

NEW ORLEANS

Nikola Mirotic scored a career playoff-best 30 points to go with eight rebounds, three steals and a block, and New Orleans beat Portland to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their first-round playoff series. Anthony Davis had 28 points, 11 rebounds, three steals and two blocks for New Orleans, which can advance past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2008 with one more victory. The 6-foot-10 Mirotic, acquired in a midseason trade after DeMarcus Cousins’ season-ending Achilles tear, made 12 of 15 shots, scoring on everything from quick-release 3-pointers to cutting dunks and fast-break layups. Damian Lillard scored 20 for Portland, but also missed nine of 14 shots. CJ McCollum scored 22 and Al-Farouq Aminu added 21, but Portland trailed by double digits for most of the first half and all of the second. Game 4 is Saturday.

Associated Press

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