Suns overcome Booker’s absence to beat Pelicans to 2-1 lead

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Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) battles for a rebound against Chicago Bulls center Nikola Vucevic during the first half of Game 3 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff on Friday April 22, 2022 in Chicago.  (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) battles for a rebound against Chicago Bulls center Nikola Vucevic during the first half of Game 3 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff on Friday April 22, 2022 in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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Chris Paul scored 19 of 28 points in the fourth quarter and the Phoenix Suns overcame Devin Booker’s absence to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 114-111 on Friday night in Game 3 of the first-round series.

Deandre Ayton added 28 points and 17 rebounds to help the top-seeded Suns take a 2-1 series lead. Paul scored 15 of Phoenix’s first 23 points in the final quarter. He also had 14 assists.

Booker strained his right hamstring on Tuesday night after scoring 31 first-half points in a 125-114 home loss. He sat on the bench in Game 3.

Mikal Bridges had 17 points for the Suns. Backup center JaVale McGee scored 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting as the Suns hurt the Pelicans on the inside.

Brandon Ingram led New Orleans with 34 points. CJ McCollum was 30.

Game 4 is Sunday night in New Orleans.

HAWKS 111, HEAT 110

ATLANTA (AP) — Trae Young hit a floater in the lane with 4.4 seconds left and Atlanta overcame a 16-point second-half deficit to beat top-seeded Miami, cutting the Heat’s lead to 2- 1.

Jimmy Butler missed a jumper with 12.6 seconds left that could have given the Heat a three-point cushion. He again missed a lopsided 3 at the buzzer with De’Andre Hunter in his face to give the Hawks a burst of hope in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 takes place Sunday night in Atlanta.

PJ Tucker led a 21-0 third quarter run that pushed the Heat to an 84-68 lead and seemingly on cruise control to a 3-0 lead. But Young and the Hawks weren’t letting them get away.

The Heat were also dealing with an injury to point guard Kyle Lowry, who came out in the third quarter with a hamstring issue and did not return. He will undergo tests on Saturday to determine the severity of the injury.

Young finished with 24 points despite another big defensive effort from the Heat. Bogdan Bogdanovic added 18, Hunter 17 and three others scored in double figures to relieve some pressure on the star guard.

After a 45-point effort in Game 3, Butler was held to 20 in this one and missed a golden chance to give Miami a stranglehold on the series. Tyler Herro led the Heat with 24 points, and Max Strus also had 20.

The start was delayed approximately 45 minutes after a suspicious package was found outside State Farm Arena before the game.

BUCKS 111, BULLS 81

CHICAGO (AP) — Grayson Allen scored five 3-pointers and scored 22 points and Milwaukee topped Chicago to take a 2-1 series lead without injured Khris Middleton.

Giannis Antetokounmpo added 18 points, Bobby Portis had 18 points and 16 rebounds and defending champion Bucks made it easy after two shaky home performances.

Middleton is expected to miss the remainder of the series after spraining his left knee Wednesday night in a loss. Game 4 is Sunday in Chicago.

Antetokounmpo scored all but two of his points after the first quarter. The two-time MVP finished with nine assists and seven rebounds.

Nikola Vucevic led Chicago with 19 points.

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