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Heat scorch Pacers; Rockets silence Thunder

Agence France-Presse




Miami guard Duncan Robinson went 7-of-8 from 3-point range for a game-high 24 points Thursday as the Heat defeated Indiana Pacers 109-100 in an NBA playoff game.

Robinson’s sizzling shooting from beyond the arc powered the Heat to a 2-0 lead in their first-round best-of-seven series against the Pacers, with game three set for Saturday.

The Houston Rockets also grabbed a 2-0 series lead, roaring past the Oklahoma City Thunder 111-98.

“You see some go early, the hoop starts to look a little bigger,” said Robinson.

“We wanted to come out with a sense of urgency and I thought we did that. Game three… is going to require that same level of passion.”

Robinson made his first six shots and matched a club one-game playoff record with seven 3-pointers

“He’s an elite shooter, a laser out there on the perimeter,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “He made us pay every time he had an open look.”

The Heat went 18-of-35 from 3-point range, setting a new team playoff record for 3-pointers thanks to Robinson’s hot hand.

“Duncan is incredibly persistent,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He has got a lot of grit to him.”

“He just hit some tough shots,” Indiana’s Myles Turner said. “Stuff like that you just have to tip your cap. They got hot.”

Slovenian guard Goran Dragic added 20 points and Jimmy Butler contributed 18 for the Heat, who made 18-of-35 3-pointers in the COVID-19 quarantine bubble without fans at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

“They got hot. They were knocking down threes,” McMillan said. “Dragic took over in that third quarter for some big plays.”

Indiana’s Victor Oladipo, who missed much of the opener after being poked in the eye, led the Pacers with 22 points while Turner and Malcolm Brogdon each added 17 in a losing cause.

“We can’t get discouraged,” Oladipo said. “We have to keep our confidence and things will open up for us. Series ain’t over. It’s 0-2 but it’s a seven-game series for a reason.”

Houston, still playing without injured point guard Russell Westbrook, triumphed despite an off-shooting night for star James Harden, who connected on just 5-of-16 shots from the floor on the way to 21 points.

But seven Rockets players scored in double figures and Houston made 19 of their NBA playoff-record 56 three-point attempts to take a commanding lead in the Western Conference clash.

“Couldn’t make a shot, but I’m more than just a shot-maker,” Harden said. “I just tried to be active defensively, tried to do other things to impact the game.”

The Thunder had dominated the second quarter to take a 59-53 halftime lead.

Houston opened the third period on a 13-0 run to regain the advantage but trailed by one point going into the final frame.

After Oklahoma City’s Chris Paul hit a jumper seconds into the fourth, Houston put together a 17-0 scoring run, shutting out the Thunder for more than five minutes with a tremendous defensive display to put the game out of reach.

Just two points in the run came from NBA scoring champion Harden.

“My teammates, man, they did an unbelievable job, especially in that fourth quarter getting stops — I think we got five, six stops in a row and just turned the whole game around,” he said.