Thursday's roundup: Bulls hold off Bucks in double OT
Milwaukee — Jimmy Butler intercepted the errant pass and darted the other way for a fastbreak basket.
Finally, the Chicago Bulls were able to shake free from the pesky Milwaukee Bucks.
Derrick Rose scored 34 points, and Butler added 24 in the Bulls' 113-106 double-overtime victory Thursday night to take a 3-0 lead in their Eastern Conference playoff series.
Butler got the second overtime off to a rousing start, converting the bad pass from Giannis Antetokounmpo into a dunk that started an 8-0 run that gave Chicago a 109-101 lead with 2:44 left. It was one of four steals in the final period for Chicago.
"Jimmy set the tone for that," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said about the late defense.
Rose played a huge part, too. The Chicago backcourt has been bugging Milwaukee all series.
"Playing with Derrick, he makes everything easier for everybody," Butler said.
The Bulls will go for the sweep on Saturday in Milwaukee. No NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series.
Antetokounmpo had 25 points and Khris Middleton added 18 for Milwaukee, which went scoreless for more than 6 minutes between the first and second overtimes.
"We just got sloppy and stagnant," Middleton said.
Or exactly the opposite of how Rose played for most of the game.
He finished 12 of 23 from the field and 5 of 9 from 3-point range, adding eight assists and five rebounds.
It's the most aggressive that Rose has looked this year since coming back from a right knee injury earlier this month, Thibodeau said.
Another good sign for Chicago: Rose played 48 minutes.
"It's playoff basketball. I'm still trying to catch a rhythm," Rose said. "Sometimes I get winded. I catch a second wind and I come back good. But I can't think about that."
He atoned for a missed free throw with 4 seconds left in regulation that left the game tied. He scored six points in the second overtime, including a layup off an offensive rebound with 2:15 left for a 10-point lead.
Chicago appeared to have wrapped things up with 2:50 left in regulation after Tony Snell hit his second straight 3 for a 94-84 lead, rousing an often Bulls-friendly crowd. The Bradley Center at times felt like a northern outpost for Bulls fans who made the barely 90-minute drive from Chicago.
But the young Bucks didn't quit and their fans backed them up, too.
Middleton had eight points over the final 1:27 of regulation, including a floater with 10 seconds left that gave the Bucks a 95-94 lead. Rose went 1 of 2 from the free throw line, and Middleton missed a 27-footer at the other end to send the game into overtime.
It was a fitting stretch run to a wildly entertaining game featuring one of the East's standard-bearers against the scrappy upstarts from Milwaukee.
"The effort was there the whole night. The guys played their hearts out and gave us a chance to win," Bucks coach Jason Kidd said.
It was hard to believe that Chicago trailed 49-31 with 4:03 left in the second quarter. But the Bulls closed the half with an 18-4 spurt to get within 53-49.
"Ball pressure got better," Thibodeau said. "We made our run there to give ourselves a chance to get back in it."
Former Chicago forward Scottie Pippen rooted the Bulls on from courtside.
"Love the fight in this Bulls team to close out the half. A little adversity on the road will do you some good," the Hall of Famer posted on Twitter at halftime.
Cleveland 103, (at) Boston 95: LeBron James scored 31 points and the Cavaliers moved one win away from a sweep in their first playoff series in five years.
The scrappy Celtics kept it close, just as they did in the previous two games, and trailed 95-92 after Evan Turner hit a 3-pointer with 2:45 left. But Kevin Love hit two 3-pointers for a 101-93 lead with 26 seconds to go.
Cleveland can complete the sweep of the best-of-seven, first-round series Sunday in Boston. No NBA team has won a series after trailing 3-0.
Turner had 19 points and Avery Bradley added 18 while Isaiah Thomas managed just five points after scoring 22 in the first two games.
Love had 23 points and J.R. Smith added 15 for the Cavaliers.
Golden State 123, (at) New Orleans 119 (OT): Stephen Curry scored 40 points, including a 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation to complete a 20-point, fourth-quarter comeback, and the Warriors beat New Orleans in overtime to take a 3-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Curry hit seven 3s in all, including one to start overtime that gave the Warriors the lead for good.
Klay Thompson had 28 points for the Warriors, who trailed 89-69 after three quarters, then outscored New Orleans 39-19 over the next 12 minutes.
Anthony Davis had 29 points and 15 rebounds for the Pelicans, but his missed free throw with 9.6 seconds left — as the crowd chanted "M-V-P!" — allowed Curry's late 3 to tie it.
Davis had a chance to tie it in the final seconds of overtime, but Warriors center Andrew Bogut forced him into a difficult driving shot, which missed badly.