Wild Wednesday Finishes in NBA Playoffs as Rockets, Heat Win

Miami now leads Milwaukee 2-0 and Houston will take on the LA Lakers

Wild Wednesday Finishes In NBA Playoffs as Rockets, Heat Win
Jimmy Butler of the Heat shoots free throws to win the game against the Bucks.
Getty Images

Leading their series against the top-seed Milwaukee Bucks 1-0, the Miami Heat were in prime position to seize control of their second-round matchup in Game 2 as they were up by six with 27 seconds left.

But, a combination of poor play and bad luck led to the game being tied up with almost no time remaining on the clock and the ball in Heat star Jimmy Butler’s hands.

Butler put up a shot from the corner that missed with no time remaining on the clock, but was fouled by reigning Defensive Player of the Year Giannis Antetokounmpo.

So, Butler stepped to the line needing to make one of two free throws to get the win and a 2-0 series lead … and made them both. Final score: 116-114.

“Doesn’t take a genius to know that we were going to try to get that ball in Jimmy’s mitts and see what can happen from there,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after the win. “He was very patient. There were four seconds left. I think a lot of players would have rushed. He took his time.”

The second NBA playoff game of the evening also had a wild finish as a player who is known for his offense, James Harden, came through with a game-saving defensive play.

With the Houston Rockets clinging to a one-point lead, the Oklahoma City Thunder got the ball to Lu Dort, who scored a career-best 30 points, for a 3-point attempt with 4.8 seconds left.

Harden soared in to block the shot and, after a made Houston free throw and failed OKC inbounds pass, the Rockets escaped with a 104-102 win on Wednesday night to win the first-round series.

Harden finished with 17 points and nine assists on 4-of-15 shooting while teammate Robert Covington had 21 points and 10 rebounds for Houston. Eric Gordon also chipped in 21 points for the Rockets.

Former Rocket Chris Paul, who was traded for Houston’s Russell Westbrook (20 points) over the summer, had 19 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds in the loss.

“It’s a tough one. It’s tough,” Paul said. “We fought hard all year. Honestly, a lot of people doubted us, but we didn’t doubt ourselves. We didn’t give a damn about anybody’s predictions going into any series.”

Thanks to the win, the Rockets will move on for a second-round matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers that begins Friday.

The playoffs continue today with a two-game slate featuring the Celtics taking on the Raptors and the Nuggets facing off with the Clippers.

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