Jeremy Lin scored 18 points to lead a balanced Charlotte attack on Saturday as the Hornets beat the Miami Heat 96-80 for their first NBA playoff victory in 14 years.
After two deflating defeats in Miami, the Hornets fed off their home crowd to trim the deficit in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series to 2-1.
In the late game on Saturday, Damian Lillard scored a game-high 32 points as the Portland Trail Blazers beat Los Angeles 96-88 to cut the Clippers lead in the series to 2-1.
The Hornets led by five points at halftime and held the Heat scoreless for almost seven minutes in an 18-0 scoring run in the third quarter that built their lead to 71-53.
The cushion grew to as many as 24 points in the fourth quarter as six Charlotte players finished in double figures.
It was a complete reversal from the Heat’s 106-80 home win in Game 1 and a 115-103 win in Game 2.
“Our intensity, our defense, our communication was so much better,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “So it’s a good win, and if we can come back and play better in some areas Monday night, it’ll give us a chance to tie the series.”
Kemba Walker contributed 17 points and rookie Frank Kaminsky, part of yet another new starting lineup from coach Steve Clifford, added 15.
Marvin Williams notched a double-double of 12 points and 14 rebounds as the Hornets set a club post-season record for the fewest turnovers with four.
The Heat, who combined to shoot 57.8 percent in winning two games in Miami, hit 10 of their first 15 shots, but then struggled to find the basket.
They missed nine straight attempts during Charlotte’s 18-0 run, connecting on 34.2 percent from the field for the game.
Luo Deng led the Heat with 19 points. Dwayne Wade scored 17, while Hassan Whiteside added 13 points and 18 rebounds for the Heat, who will try to rebound on the road in Game 4 today.
Meanwhile, the Michael Jordan-owned Hornets will be trying to build on the momentum of their first post-season win since they reached the Eastern Conference semi-finals in the 2001-2002 season.
They had been swept in two playoff series since.
“This is best of seven,” Deng said. “We knew at some point they’d have a good game. It wasn’t going to be one of those where you keep them quiet the whole series. They’re good players and they responded.”
In Dallas, the Oklahoma City Thunder moved another step closer to reaching the second round of the playoffs with a wire-to-wire 119-108 win over the Mavericks.
Oklahoma City have not trailed since their Game 2 loss and they now have a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series with Game 5 set for today.
History is against a Dallas comeback in the series as only nine teams in the NBA have rallied to win a best-of-seven playoff series after trailing 3-1.
Russell Westbrook had 25 points and 15 assists, while Kevin Durant finished with 19 points.
The game got physical when Durant was ejected with less than a minute left after the officials called him for a “flagrant” foul.
Durant had been trying to block a shot by Mavs guard Justin Anderson, but hit the top of the rookie’s head instead of the ball.
“I texted him and told him I wasn’t trying to hurt him,” Durant said.
In Indianapolis, Indiana, French center Ian Mahinmi scored 22 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and handed out five assists to help the Indiana Pacers to a 100-83 series-tying win over the Toronto Raptors.
George Hill added 22 points for the Pacers, who knotted the Eastern Conference set at 2-2.
“Everybody has to be a scoring option for us and today they were,” said Paul George, who scored 19 points for the Pacers. “Ian played amazing. You don’t expect 22, 10 and five from him.”
“Guys responded to our loss in Game 3, the ball moved and we made shots,” George said.
Former NBA sensation Jeremy Lin, recently recruited by the P.League+’s Kaohsiung Steelers, arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday. Lin arrived at the airport at 5:46am on a China Airlines flight from the US before leaving the airport via a VIP terminal. Lin, whose parents are from Taiwan, is believed to be observing Taiwan’s “0+7” self-initiated COVID-19 prevention program for arrivals. Lin had said earlier in the week that he would be practicing social distancing from yesterday through Saturday, meaning he would not participate in games or visit the Steelers’ home court during that period. The Steelers said in a statement that Lin would
Former NBA star Jeremy Lin (林書豪) is to arrive in Taiwan on Saturday, he said yesterday, adding that he hopes he could play his first game with the Kaohsiung Steelers on Feb. 12. Lin made the comments in a social media post, in which he also apologized to his fans in Taiwan, saying he would not be able to sign any autographs at the airport due to COVID-19 restrictions. He is expected to practice social distancing from Saturday through Saturday next week, during which he would not be able to go to a basketball arena, he said. That would also prevent him from
Taiwan on Saturday swept Mexico in the first day of their Davis Cup World Group playoff tie, while three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka rolled back the clock to secure a thrilling win for Switzerland over Germany in their qualifier. World No. 110 Tseng Chun-hsing beat Mexico’s Cesar Ramirez 6-4, 6-3 in straight sets on a clay court in Metepec, Mexico, while Hsu Yu-hsiou of Changhua City dominated Alan Fernando Rubio Fierros 7-5, 6-3. Their showdown started under controversy after a group of Mexican players last week said they would not compete as they were not given enough notice about the date
INTO THE WILD: After becoming the first Asian to finish the 13-day test in 2013, Chen said he was excited to return to the Canadian wilderness and do what he loves most Taiwanese runner Tommy Chen on Saturday returned to the Yukon Arctic Ultra 10 years after finishing third in the self-supported 700km race. Battling through harsh terrain and temperatures of minus-15°C, Chen yesterday had covered about 69km since the start of the race at 10:30am on Saturday, placing him 13th out of 24 competitors, the event’s Web site showed. Chen, who became the first Asian to finish the event in Canada’s Yukon Territory in 2013 at the age of 27, still has another 25km to reach Dog Grave Lake, the third of the race’s 12 checkpoints. Chen was racing on foot, while some chose