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NBA Playoffs 2012 Food Fight: Final Round

NBA Playoffs 2012 Food Fight: Final Round

Which NBA team’s hometown treats are tops?

Philippe's French dip sandwich is world famous.

With only two teams remaining in the NBA Playoffs — Miami and Oklahoma — the NBA Food Fight is also down to two contenders. The Daily Meal has tallied the results of the third round of the NBA Food Fight. The Philadelphia 76ers’ cheesesteak and hoagies and Oklahoma City Thunder’s chicken-fried steak and onion burger have come out on top.

While the results of round one of the NBA Food Fight mimicked those of the NBA Playoffs, round two and round three of the NBA Food Fight were not as predictable.

While the Miami Heat advanced to the NBA Finals, Miami was eliminated in round two of the NBA Playoffs 2012 Food Fight. The Indiana Pacers’ pork tenderloin sandwich toasted Miami’s Del Monte fruits and vegetables with 96 percent of the votes cast in favor of the crispy, juicy pork sandwich.
In the three-way culinary contest in round three, the Philly cheesesteak and hoagies and Oklahoma’s chicken-fried steak and onion burger pounded the Indiana Pacers’ pork tenderloin sandwich, eliminating the juicy sandwich from the competition.

Vote in the final round of the NBA Playoffs 2012 Food Fight

Who city’s culinary duo will win the final round: cheesesteaks and hoagies or the chicken-fried steak and onion burger? Only one team can win the NBA Playoff 2012 Food Fight, so vote for your hometown favorite.

NBA Playoffs 2012 Food Fight

NBA TeamHometown Food
Philadelphia 76ersCheesesteak and Hoagies
Oklahoma City ThunderChicken-Fried Steak and Onion Burger

Curious about the origins of each NBA team’s hometown treats? See where your favorite team’s treats originated. Click here for the NBA Playoffs 2012 Food Fight Slideshow.

Not sure which hometown treats to cheer for? Learn about hoagies, cheesesteaks, the pork tenderloin sandwich, chicken-fried steak, and onion burgers by consulting the NBA Playoffs 2012 Food Fight.


A year after Finals, Lakers and Heat set to play before fans

1 of 3 Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, rear, hugs forward Anthony Davis (3) after Game 2 of the team's NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, May 25, 2021, in Phoenix. The Lakers won 109-102. Ross D. Franklin/AP Show More Show Less

2 of 3 Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo shoots over Milwaukee Bucks' Brook Lopez during the first half of Game 1 of their NBA basketball first-round playoff series Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Milwaukee. Morry Gash/AP Show More Show Less

3 of 3 Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots next to Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (1) during the second half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Denver. Jack Dempsey/AP Show More Show Less

MIAMI (AP) &mdash On their respective ways to the NBA Finals last season, there was one important element missing for both the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat.

That changes for last year&rsquos finalists on Thursday night, when the Lakers play host to Phoenix and the Heat return home to face Milwaukee in a pair of Round 1, Game 3 matchups. Those are two of the three games on Thursday&rsquos slate, the other being Denver heading to Portland for a Game 3 contest.

Portland and the Lakers are going home having taken away home-court advantage from higher-seeded opponents in their respective series by getting splits of the first two games, at third-seeded Denver and second-seeded Phoenix. Miami is limping home, the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference down 2-0 against the third-seeded Bucks and after getting simply blown out in Game 2.

Heat fans can get a shot in the arm &mdash literally. The Moderna vaccine will be available if any of the expected 17,000 fans want to begin the process of getting inoculated against the coronavirus. But Heat forward Jimmy Butler stopped short of saying having a raucous home crowd, which if capacity is hit would be the biggest in the NBA during this virus-marred season, would automatically help Miami&rsquos chances.

&ldquoI don&rsquot think so,&rdquo Butler said. &ldquoWe love playing in front of our home crowd, on our home floor, but we&rsquove still got to go out there and play basketball the right way &mdash compete and do what we say we&rsquore going to do before the game, what we say we&rsquore going to do after the game."

The Lakers, who won last season&rsquos NBA championship in the restart bubble at Walt Disney World, haven&rsquot won a playoff game in their home arena since May 18, 2012.

Here&rsquos how long ago that was: Lakers forward LeBron James was a month away from his first NBA title in Miami, Suns guard Chris Paul was in his first year of a six-year run with the Clippers (and he&rsquos been with three teams since), and Phoenix center Deandre Ayton was only about a year removed from picking up a basketball for the first time.

&ldquoUs just coming home, 1-1, evening up this series and actually playing a real playoff game . for the first time in, what, eight years? It&rsquoll be pretty special for our fans,&rdquo James said. &ldquoTo just have our fans in the building, we want to continue to make them proud. That&rsquos what I came here for, to play a playoff game in front of the Laker faithful.&rdquo

Portland won Game 1 of its matchup in Denver before the Nuggets recovered to take Game 2. Over the last three months, no team has been better than Denver on the road. The Nuggets are 14-6 in their last 20 road games, including a regular-season finale loss at Portland in which they didn&rsquot exactly give big minutes to their regular rotation.

Nikola Jokic made 15 of his 20 shots for Denver in Game 2, and the Nuggets had six players in double figures.

&ldquoWe&rsquoll have to be even better on the road to try and get Game 3,&rdquo Nuggets coach Michael Malone said.

Milwaukee leads 2-0. Game 3, 7:30 p.m. EDT, TNT.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Miami hasn&rsquot trailed 3-0 in a series since 2010, and the Heat return home to see if they can avoid that fate and get back into this matchup. Milwaukee is the first team to beat Miami by 30 or more points twice in the same season since Toronto in 2007-08 to the then NBA-worst Heat. (Oddly, the Bucks were one point shy of doing it in 2018-19, winning by 38 and 29 that season.)

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Miami&rsquos Bam Adebayo (9 for 26) and Jimmy Butler (8 for 32) are shooting a combined 29% in this series. That must change, fast, or else.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: All rotation players on both sides are expected to be available Thursday.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Miami. It&rsquos not technically an elimination game, but it sure seems like one.

Series tied 1-1. Game 3, 10 p.m. EDT, TNT.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Suns center Deandre Ayton is 21 for 24 in this series, the best two-game shooting percentage for anyone (taking nine or more shots per game) making their NBA playoff debut since Larry McNeill of the Kansas City Kings was 18 for 18 through his first two games of the 1975 playoffs. McNeill was 11 for 26 from the field for the rest of his playoff career.

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Lakers guard Dennis Schroder had 24 points in Game 2. If he takes some of the workload off LeBron James and Anthony Davis, that&rsquos a huge boost for the Lakers.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: Suns guard Chris Paul&rsquos shoulder issue remains a major question. Paul sat out most of the second half of Game 2, playing for just under 7 minutes &mdash and his lone fourth-quarter appearance was a 2 1/2-minute stint to give Booker a quick break.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Phoenix. When James leads a series after three games, it&rsquos usually curtains for the other side his teams have won 32 of 35 series when holding the edge going into Game 4.

Series tied 1-1. Game 3, 10:30 p.m. EDT, NBATV.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Denver has trailed after three games in each of its last 10 playoff series and can finally buck that trend. Portland has held the three-game series lead three times in Damian Lillard&rsquos career the Blazers are 3-0 in those series.

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo has four turnovers in 62 minutes through his first two NBA playoff games. He&rsquos played a ton of big games on the international level and his pestering, high-energy style is a big plus for Denver.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: All eyes are on Denver&rsquos Will Barton, and if he can return from his right hamstring strain. He hasn&rsquot played since April 23 and remains listed as out for Game 3.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Portland. The Blazers got the split in Denver. Giving the home-court edge right back to the Nuggets would be less than ideal.


A year after Finals, Lakers and Heat set to play before fans

1 of 3 Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, rear, hugs forward Anthony Davis (3) after Game 2 of the team's NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, May 25, 2021, in Phoenix. The Lakers won 109-102. Ross D. Franklin/AP Show More Show Less

2 of 3 Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo shoots over Milwaukee Bucks' Brook Lopez during the first half of Game 1 of their NBA basketball first-round playoff series Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Milwaukee. Morry Gash/AP Show More Show Less

3 of 3 Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots next to Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (1) during the second half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Denver. Jack Dempsey/AP Show More Show Less

MIAMI (AP) &mdash On their respective ways to the NBA Finals last season, there was one important element missing for both the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat.

That changes for last year&rsquos finalists on Thursday night, when the Lakers play host to Phoenix and the Heat return home to face Milwaukee in a pair of Round 1, Game 3 matchups. Those are two of the three games on Thursday&rsquos slate, the other being Denver heading to Portland for a Game 3 contest.

Portland and the Lakers are going home having taken away home-court advantage from higher-seeded opponents in their respective series by getting splits of the first two games, at third-seeded Denver and second-seeded Phoenix. Miami is limping home, the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference down 2-0 against the third-seeded Bucks and after getting simply blown out in Game 2.

Heat fans can get a shot in the arm &mdash literally. The Moderna vaccine will be available if any of the expected 17,000 fans want to begin the process of getting inoculated against the coronavirus. But Heat forward Jimmy Butler stopped short of saying having a raucous home crowd, which if capacity is hit would be the biggest in the NBA during this virus-marred season, would automatically help Miami&rsquos chances.

&ldquoI don&rsquot think so,&rdquo Butler said. &ldquoWe love playing in front of our home crowd, on our home floor, but we&rsquove still got to go out there and play basketball the right way &mdash compete and do what we say we&rsquore going to do before the game, what we say we&rsquore going to do after the game."

The Lakers, who won last season&rsquos NBA championship in the restart bubble at Walt Disney World, haven&rsquot won a playoff game in their home arena since May 18, 2012.

Here&rsquos how long ago that was: Lakers forward LeBron James was a month away from his first NBA title in Miami, Suns guard Chris Paul was in his first year of a six-year run with the Clippers (and he&rsquos been with three teams since), and Phoenix center Deandre Ayton was only about a year removed from picking up a basketball for the first time.

&ldquoUs just coming home, 1-1, evening up this series and actually playing a real playoff game . for the first time in, what, eight years? It&rsquoll be pretty special for our fans,&rdquo James said. &ldquoTo just have our fans in the building, we want to continue to make them proud. That&rsquos what I came here for, to play a playoff game in front of the Laker faithful.&rdquo

Portland won Game 1 of its matchup in Denver before the Nuggets recovered to take Game 2. Over the last three months, no team has been better than Denver on the road. The Nuggets are 14-6 in their last 20 road games, including a regular-season finale loss at Portland in which they didn&rsquot exactly give big minutes to their regular rotation.

Nikola Jokic made 15 of his 20 shots for Denver in Game 2, and the Nuggets had six players in double figures.

&ldquoWe&rsquoll have to be even better on the road to try and get Game 3,&rdquo Nuggets coach Michael Malone said.

Milwaukee leads 2-0. Game 3, 7:30 p.m. EDT, TNT.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Miami hasn&rsquot trailed 3-0 in a series since 2010, and the Heat return home to see if they can avoid that fate and get back into this matchup. Milwaukee is the first team to beat Miami by 30 or more points twice in the same season since Toronto in 2007-08 to the then NBA-worst Heat. (Oddly, the Bucks were one point shy of doing it in 2018-19, winning by 38 and 29 that season.)

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Miami&rsquos Bam Adebayo (9 for 26) and Jimmy Butler (8 for 32) are shooting a combined 29% in this series. That must change, fast, or else.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: All rotation players on both sides are expected to be available Thursday.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Miami. It&rsquos not technically an elimination game, but it sure seems like one.

Series tied 1-1. Game 3, 10 p.m. EDT, TNT.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Suns center Deandre Ayton is 21 for 24 in this series, the best two-game shooting percentage for anyone (taking nine or more shots per game) making their NBA playoff debut since Larry McNeill of the Kansas City Kings was 18 for 18 through his first two games of the 1975 playoffs. McNeill was 11 for 26 from the field for the rest of his playoff career.

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Lakers guard Dennis Schroder had 24 points in Game 2. If he takes some of the workload off LeBron James and Anthony Davis, that&rsquos a huge boost for the Lakers.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: Suns guard Chris Paul&rsquos shoulder issue remains a major question. Paul sat out most of the second half of Game 2, playing for just under 7 minutes &mdash and his lone fourth-quarter appearance was a 2 1/2-minute stint to give Booker a quick break.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Phoenix. When James leads a series after three games, it&rsquos usually curtains for the other side his teams have won 32 of 35 series when holding the edge going into Game 4.

Series tied 1-1. Game 3, 10:30 p.m. EDT, NBATV.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Denver has trailed after three games in each of its last 10 playoff series and can finally buck that trend. Portland has held the three-game series lead three times in Damian Lillard&rsquos career the Blazers are 3-0 in those series.

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo has four turnovers in 62 minutes through his first two NBA playoff games. He&rsquos played a ton of big games on the international level and his pestering, high-energy style is a big plus for Denver.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: All eyes are on Denver&rsquos Will Barton, and if he can return from his right hamstring strain. He hasn&rsquot played since April 23 and remains listed as out for Game 3.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Portland. The Blazers got the split in Denver. Giving the home-court edge right back to the Nuggets would be less than ideal.


A year after Finals, Lakers and Heat set to play before fans

1 of 3 Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, rear, hugs forward Anthony Davis (3) after Game 2 of the team's NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, May 25, 2021, in Phoenix. The Lakers won 109-102. Ross D. Franklin/AP Show More Show Less

2 of 3 Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo shoots over Milwaukee Bucks' Brook Lopez during the first half of Game 1 of their NBA basketball first-round playoff series Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Milwaukee. Morry Gash/AP Show More Show Less

3 of 3 Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots next to Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (1) during the second half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Denver. Jack Dempsey/AP Show More Show Less

MIAMI (AP) &mdash On their respective ways to the NBA Finals last season, there was one important element missing for both the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat.

That changes for last year&rsquos finalists on Thursday night, when the Lakers play host to Phoenix and the Heat return home to face Milwaukee in a pair of Round 1, Game 3 matchups. Those are two of the three games on Thursday&rsquos slate, the other being Denver heading to Portland for a Game 3 contest.

Portland and the Lakers are going home having taken away home-court advantage from higher-seeded opponents in their respective series by getting splits of the first two games, at third-seeded Denver and second-seeded Phoenix. Miami is limping home, the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference down 2-0 against the third-seeded Bucks and after getting simply blown out in Game 2.

Heat fans can get a shot in the arm &mdash literally. The Moderna vaccine will be available if any of the expected 17,000 fans want to begin the process of getting inoculated against the coronavirus. But Heat forward Jimmy Butler stopped short of saying having a raucous home crowd, which if capacity is hit would be the biggest in the NBA during this virus-marred season, would automatically help Miami&rsquos chances.

&ldquoI don&rsquot think so,&rdquo Butler said. &ldquoWe love playing in front of our home crowd, on our home floor, but we&rsquove still got to go out there and play basketball the right way &mdash compete and do what we say we&rsquore going to do before the game, what we say we&rsquore going to do after the game."

The Lakers, who won last season&rsquos NBA championship in the restart bubble at Walt Disney World, haven&rsquot won a playoff game in their home arena since May 18, 2012.

Here&rsquos how long ago that was: Lakers forward LeBron James was a month away from his first NBA title in Miami, Suns guard Chris Paul was in his first year of a six-year run with the Clippers (and he&rsquos been with three teams since), and Phoenix center Deandre Ayton was only about a year removed from picking up a basketball for the first time.

&ldquoUs just coming home, 1-1, evening up this series and actually playing a real playoff game . for the first time in, what, eight years? It&rsquoll be pretty special for our fans,&rdquo James said. &ldquoTo just have our fans in the building, we want to continue to make them proud. That&rsquos what I came here for, to play a playoff game in front of the Laker faithful.&rdquo

Portland won Game 1 of its matchup in Denver before the Nuggets recovered to take Game 2. Over the last three months, no team has been better than Denver on the road. The Nuggets are 14-6 in their last 20 road games, including a regular-season finale loss at Portland in which they didn&rsquot exactly give big minutes to their regular rotation.

Nikola Jokic made 15 of his 20 shots for Denver in Game 2, and the Nuggets had six players in double figures.

&ldquoWe&rsquoll have to be even better on the road to try and get Game 3,&rdquo Nuggets coach Michael Malone said.

Milwaukee leads 2-0. Game 3, 7:30 p.m. EDT, TNT.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Miami hasn&rsquot trailed 3-0 in a series since 2010, and the Heat return home to see if they can avoid that fate and get back into this matchup. Milwaukee is the first team to beat Miami by 30 or more points twice in the same season since Toronto in 2007-08 to the then NBA-worst Heat. (Oddly, the Bucks were one point shy of doing it in 2018-19, winning by 38 and 29 that season.)

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Miami&rsquos Bam Adebayo (9 for 26) and Jimmy Butler (8 for 32) are shooting a combined 29% in this series. That must change, fast, or else.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: All rotation players on both sides are expected to be available Thursday.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Miami. It&rsquos not technically an elimination game, but it sure seems like one.

Series tied 1-1. Game 3, 10 p.m. EDT, TNT.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Suns center Deandre Ayton is 21 for 24 in this series, the best two-game shooting percentage for anyone (taking nine or more shots per game) making their NBA playoff debut since Larry McNeill of the Kansas City Kings was 18 for 18 through his first two games of the 1975 playoffs. McNeill was 11 for 26 from the field for the rest of his playoff career.

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Lakers guard Dennis Schroder had 24 points in Game 2. If he takes some of the workload off LeBron James and Anthony Davis, that&rsquos a huge boost for the Lakers.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: Suns guard Chris Paul&rsquos shoulder issue remains a major question. Paul sat out most of the second half of Game 2, playing for just under 7 minutes &mdash and his lone fourth-quarter appearance was a 2 1/2-minute stint to give Booker a quick break.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Phoenix. When James leads a series after three games, it&rsquos usually curtains for the other side his teams have won 32 of 35 series when holding the edge going into Game 4.

Series tied 1-1. Game 3, 10:30 p.m. EDT, NBATV.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Denver has trailed after three games in each of its last 10 playoff series and can finally buck that trend. Portland has held the three-game series lead three times in Damian Lillard&rsquos career the Blazers are 3-0 in those series.

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo has four turnovers in 62 minutes through his first two NBA playoff games. He&rsquos played a ton of big games on the international level and his pestering, high-energy style is a big plus for Denver.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: All eyes are on Denver&rsquos Will Barton, and if he can return from his right hamstring strain. He hasn&rsquot played since April 23 and remains listed as out for Game 3.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Portland. The Blazers got the split in Denver. Giving the home-court edge right back to the Nuggets would be less than ideal.


A year after Finals, Lakers and Heat set to play before fans

1 of 3 Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, rear, hugs forward Anthony Davis (3) after Game 2 of the team's NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, May 25, 2021, in Phoenix. The Lakers won 109-102. Ross D. Franklin/AP Show More Show Less

2 of 3 Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo shoots over Milwaukee Bucks' Brook Lopez during the first half of Game 1 of their NBA basketball first-round playoff series Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Milwaukee. Morry Gash/AP Show More Show Less

3 of 3 Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots next to Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (1) during the second half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Denver. Jack Dempsey/AP Show More Show Less

MIAMI (AP) &mdash On their respective ways to the NBA Finals last season, there was one important element missing for both the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat.

That changes for last year&rsquos finalists on Thursday night, when the Lakers play host to Phoenix and the Heat return home to face Milwaukee in a pair of Round 1, Game 3 matchups. Those are two of the three games on Thursday&rsquos slate, the other being Denver heading to Portland for a Game 3 contest.

Portland and the Lakers are going home having taken away home-court advantage from higher-seeded opponents in their respective series by getting splits of the first two games, at third-seeded Denver and second-seeded Phoenix. Miami is limping home, the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference down 2-0 against the third-seeded Bucks and after getting simply blown out in Game 2.

Heat fans can get a shot in the arm &mdash literally. The Moderna vaccine will be available if any of the expected 17,000 fans want to begin the process of getting inoculated against the coronavirus. But Heat forward Jimmy Butler stopped short of saying having a raucous home crowd, which if capacity is hit would be the biggest in the NBA during this virus-marred season, would automatically help Miami&rsquos chances.

&ldquoI don&rsquot think so,&rdquo Butler said. &ldquoWe love playing in front of our home crowd, on our home floor, but we&rsquove still got to go out there and play basketball the right way &mdash compete and do what we say we&rsquore going to do before the game, what we say we&rsquore going to do after the game."

The Lakers, who won last season&rsquos NBA championship in the restart bubble at Walt Disney World, haven&rsquot won a playoff game in their home arena since May 18, 2012.

Here&rsquos how long ago that was: Lakers forward LeBron James was a month away from his first NBA title in Miami, Suns guard Chris Paul was in his first year of a six-year run with the Clippers (and he&rsquos been with three teams since), and Phoenix center Deandre Ayton was only about a year removed from picking up a basketball for the first time.

&ldquoUs just coming home, 1-1, evening up this series and actually playing a real playoff game . for the first time in, what, eight years? It&rsquoll be pretty special for our fans,&rdquo James said. &ldquoTo just have our fans in the building, we want to continue to make them proud. That&rsquos what I came here for, to play a playoff game in front of the Laker faithful.&rdquo

Portland won Game 1 of its matchup in Denver before the Nuggets recovered to take Game 2. Over the last three months, no team has been better than Denver on the road. The Nuggets are 14-6 in their last 20 road games, including a regular-season finale loss at Portland in which they didn&rsquot exactly give big minutes to their regular rotation.

Nikola Jokic made 15 of his 20 shots for Denver in Game 2, and the Nuggets had six players in double figures.

&ldquoWe&rsquoll have to be even better on the road to try and get Game 3,&rdquo Nuggets coach Michael Malone said.

Milwaukee leads 2-0. Game 3, 7:30 p.m. EDT, TNT.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Miami hasn&rsquot trailed 3-0 in a series since 2010, and the Heat return home to see if they can avoid that fate and get back into this matchup. Milwaukee is the first team to beat Miami by 30 or more points twice in the same season since Toronto in 2007-08 to the then NBA-worst Heat. (Oddly, the Bucks were one point shy of doing it in 2018-19, winning by 38 and 29 that season.)

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Miami&rsquos Bam Adebayo (9 for 26) and Jimmy Butler (8 for 32) are shooting a combined 29% in this series. That must change, fast, or else.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: All rotation players on both sides are expected to be available Thursday.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Miami. It&rsquos not technically an elimination game, but it sure seems like one.

Series tied 1-1. Game 3, 10 p.m. EDT, TNT.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Suns center Deandre Ayton is 21 for 24 in this series, the best two-game shooting percentage for anyone (taking nine or more shots per game) making their NBA playoff debut since Larry McNeill of the Kansas City Kings was 18 for 18 through his first two games of the 1975 playoffs. McNeill was 11 for 26 from the field for the rest of his playoff career.

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Lakers guard Dennis Schroder had 24 points in Game 2. If he takes some of the workload off LeBron James and Anthony Davis, that&rsquos a huge boost for the Lakers.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: Suns guard Chris Paul&rsquos shoulder issue remains a major question. Paul sat out most of the second half of Game 2, playing for just under 7 minutes &mdash and his lone fourth-quarter appearance was a 2 1/2-minute stint to give Booker a quick break.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Phoenix. When James leads a series after three games, it&rsquos usually curtains for the other side his teams have won 32 of 35 series when holding the edge going into Game 4.

Series tied 1-1. Game 3, 10:30 p.m. EDT, NBATV.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Denver has trailed after three games in each of its last 10 playoff series and can finally buck that trend. Portland has held the three-game series lead three times in Damian Lillard&rsquos career the Blazers are 3-0 in those series.

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo has four turnovers in 62 minutes through his first two NBA playoff games. He&rsquos played a ton of big games on the international level and his pestering, high-energy style is a big plus for Denver.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: All eyes are on Denver&rsquos Will Barton, and if he can return from his right hamstring strain. He hasn&rsquot played since April 23 and remains listed as out for Game 3.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Portland. The Blazers got the split in Denver. Giving the home-court edge right back to the Nuggets would be less than ideal.


A year after Finals, Lakers and Heat set to play before fans

1 of 3 Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, rear, hugs forward Anthony Davis (3) after Game 2 of the team's NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, May 25, 2021, in Phoenix. The Lakers won 109-102. Ross D. Franklin/AP Show More Show Less

2 of 3 Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo shoots over Milwaukee Bucks' Brook Lopez during the first half of Game 1 of their NBA basketball first-round playoff series Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Milwaukee. Morry Gash/AP Show More Show Less

3 of 3 Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots next to Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (1) during the second half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Denver. Jack Dempsey/AP Show More Show Less

MIAMI (AP) &mdash On their respective ways to the NBA Finals last season, there was one important element missing for both the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat.

That changes for last year&rsquos finalists on Thursday night, when the Lakers play host to Phoenix and the Heat return home to face Milwaukee in a pair of Round 1, Game 3 matchups. Those are two of the three games on Thursday&rsquos slate, the other being Denver heading to Portland for a Game 3 contest.

Portland and the Lakers are going home having taken away home-court advantage from higher-seeded opponents in their respective series by getting splits of the first two games, at third-seeded Denver and second-seeded Phoenix. Miami is limping home, the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference down 2-0 against the third-seeded Bucks and after getting simply blown out in Game 2.

Heat fans can get a shot in the arm &mdash literally. The Moderna vaccine will be available if any of the expected 17,000 fans want to begin the process of getting inoculated against the coronavirus. But Heat forward Jimmy Butler stopped short of saying having a raucous home crowd, which if capacity is hit would be the biggest in the NBA during this virus-marred season, would automatically help Miami&rsquos chances.

&ldquoI don&rsquot think so,&rdquo Butler said. &ldquoWe love playing in front of our home crowd, on our home floor, but we&rsquove still got to go out there and play basketball the right way &mdash compete and do what we say we&rsquore going to do before the game, what we say we&rsquore going to do after the game."

The Lakers, who won last season&rsquos NBA championship in the restart bubble at Walt Disney World, haven&rsquot won a playoff game in their home arena since May 18, 2012.

Here&rsquos how long ago that was: Lakers forward LeBron James was a month away from his first NBA title in Miami, Suns guard Chris Paul was in his first year of a six-year run with the Clippers (and he&rsquos been with three teams since), and Phoenix center Deandre Ayton was only about a year removed from picking up a basketball for the first time.

&ldquoUs just coming home, 1-1, evening up this series and actually playing a real playoff game . for the first time in, what, eight years? It&rsquoll be pretty special for our fans,&rdquo James said. &ldquoTo just have our fans in the building, we want to continue to make them proud. That&rsquos what I came here for, to play a playoff game in front of the Laker faithful.&rdquo

Portland won Game 1 of its matchup in Denver before the Nuggets recovered to take Game 2. Over the last three months, no team has been better than Denver on the road. The Nuggets are 14-6 in their last 20 road games, including a regular-season finale loss at Portland in which they didn&rsquot exactly give big minutes to their regular rotation.

Nikola Jokic made 15 of his 20 shots for Denver in Game 2, and the Nuggets had six players in double figures.

&ldquoWe&rsquoll have to be even better on the road to try and get Game 3,&rdquo Nuggets coach Michael Malone said.

Milwaukee leads 2-0. Game 3, 7:30 p.m. EDT, TNT.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Miami hasn&rsquot trailed 3-0 in a series since 2010, and the Heat return home to see if they can avoid that fate and get back into this matchup. Milwaukee is the first team to beat Miami by 30 or more points twice in the same season since Toronto in 2007-08 to the then NBA-worst Heat. (Oddly, the Bucks were one point shy of doing it in 2018-19, winning by 38 and 29 that season.)

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Miami&rsquos Bam Adebayo (9 for 26) and Jimmy Butler (8 for 32) are shooting a combined 29% in this series. That must change, fast, or else.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: All rotation players on both sides are expected to be available Thursday.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Miami. It&rsquos not technically an elimination game, but it sure seems like one.

Series tied 1-1. Game 3, 10 p.m. EDT, TNT.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Suns center Deandre Ayton is 21 for 24 in this series, the best two-game shooting percentage for anyone (taking nine or more shots per game) making their NBA playoff debut since Larry McNeill of the Kansas City Kings was 18 for 18 through his first two games of the 1975 playoffs. McNeill was 11 for 26 from the field for the rest of his playoff career.

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Lakers guard Dennis Schroder had 24 points in Game 2. If he takes some of the workload off LeBron James and Anthony Davis, that&rsquos a huge boost for the Lakers.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: Suns guard Chris Paul&rsquos shoulder issue remains a major question. Paul sat out most of the second half of Game 2, playing for just under 7 minutes &mdash and his lone fourth-quarter appearance was a 2 1/2-minute stint to give Booker a quick break.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Phoenix. When James leads a series after three games, it&rsquos usually curtains for the other side his teams have won 32 of 35 series when holding the edge going into Game 4.

Series tied 1-1. Game 3, 10:30 p.m. EDT, NBATV.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Denver has trailed after three games in each of its last 10 playoff series and can finally buck that trend. Portland has held the three-game series lead three times in Damian Lillard&rsquos career the Blazers are 3-0 in those series.

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo has four turnovers in 62 minutes through his first two NBA playoff games. He&rsquos played a ton of big games on the international level and his pestering, high-energy style is a big plus for Denver.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: All eyes are on Denver&rsquos Will Barton, and if he can return from his right hamstring strain. He hasn&rsquot played since April 23 and remains listed as out for Game 3.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Portland. The Blazers got the split in Denver. Giving the home-court edge right back to the Nuggets would be less than ideal.


A year after Finals, Lakers and Heat set to play before fans

1 of 3 Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, rear, hugs forward Anthony Davis (3) after Game 2 of the team's NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, May 25, 2021, in Phoenix. The Lakers won 109-102. Ross D. Franklin/AP Show More Show Less

2 of 3 Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo shoots over Milwaukee Bucks' Brook Lopez during the first half of Game 1 of their NBA basketball first-round playoff series Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Milwaukee. Morry Gash/AP Show More Show Less

3 of 3 Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots next to Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (1) during the second half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Denver. Jack Dempsey/AP Show More Show Less

MIAMI (AP) &mdash On their respective ways to the NBA Finals last season, there was one important element missing for both the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat.

That changes for last year&rsquos finalists on Thursday night, when the Lakers play host to Phoenix and the Heat return home to face Milwaukee in a pair of Round 1, Game 3 matchups. Those are two of the three games on Thursday&rsquos slate, the other being Denver heading to Portland for a Game 3 contest.

Portland and the Lakers are going home having taken away home-court advantage from higher-seeded opponents in their respective series by getting splits of the first two games, at third-seeded Denver and second-seeded Phoenix. Miami is limping home, the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference down 2-0 against the third-seeded Bucks and after getting simply blown out in Game 2.

Heat fans can get a shot in the arm &mdash literally. The Moderna vaccine will be available if any of the expected 17,000 fans want to begin the process of getting inoculated against the coronavirus. But Heat forward Jimmy Butler stopped short of saying having a raucous home crowd, which if capacity is hit would be the biggest in the NBA during this virus-marred season, would automatically help Miami&rsquos chances.

&ldquoI don&rsquot think so,&rdquo Butler said. &ldquoWe love playing in front of our home crowd, on our home floor, but we&rsquove still got to go out there and play basketball the right way &mdash compete and do what we say we&rsquore going to do before the game, what we say we&rsquore going to do after the game."

The Lakers, who won last season&rsquos NBA championship in the restart bubble at Walt Disney World, haven&rsquot won a playoff game in their home arena since May 18, 2012.

Here&rsquos how long ago that was: Lakers forward LeBron James was a month away from his first NBA title in Miami, Suns guard Chris Paul was in his first year of a six-year run with the Clippers (and he&rsquos been with three teams since), and Phoenix center Deandre Ayton was only about a year removed from picking up a basketball for the first time.

&ldquoUs just coming home, 1-1, evening up this series and actually playing a real playoff game . for the first time in, what, eight years? It&rsquoll be pretty special for our fans,&rdquo James said. &ldquoTo just have our fans in the building, we want to continue to make them proud. That&rsquos what I came here for, to play a playoff game in front of the Laker faithful.&rdquo

Portland won Game 1 of its matchup in Denver before the Nuggets recovered to take Game 2. Over the last three months, no team has been better than Denver on the road. The Nuggets are 14-6 in their last 20 road games, including a regular-season finale loss at Portland in which they didn&rsquot exactly give big minutes to their regular rotation.

Nikola Jokic made 15 of his 20 shots for Denver in Game 2, and the Nuggets had six players in double figures.

&ldquoWe&rsquoll have to be even better on the road to try and get Game 3,&rdquo Nuggets coach Michael Malone said.

Milwaukee leads 2-0. Game 3, 7:30 p.m. EDT, TNT.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Miami hasn&rsquot trailed 3-0 in a series since 2010, and the Heat return home to see if they can avoid that fate and get back into this matchup. Milwaukee is the first team to beat Miami by 30 or more points twice in the same season since Toronto in 2007-08 to the then NBA-worst Heat. (Oddly, the Bucks were one point shy of doing it in 2018-19, winning by 38 and 29 that season.)

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Miami&rsquos Bam Adebayo (9 for 26) and Jimmy Butler (8 for 32) are shooting a combined 29% in this series. That must change, fast, or else.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: All rotation players on both sides are expected to be available Thursday.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Miami. It&rsquos not technically an elimination game, but it sure seems like one.

Series tied 1-1. Game 3, 10 p.m. EDT, TNT.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Suns center Deandre Ayton is 21 for 24 in this series, the best two-game shooting percentage for anyone (taking nine or more shots per game) making their NBA playoff debut since Larry McNeill of the Kansas City Kings was 18 for 18 through his first two games of the 1975 playoffs. McNeill was 11 for 26 from the field for the rest of his playoff career.

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Lakers guard Dennis Schroder had 24 points in Game 2. If he takes some of the workload off LeBron James and Anthony Davis, that&rsquos a huge boost for the Lakers.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: Suns guard Chris Paul&rsquos shoulder issue remains a major question. Paul sat out most of the second half of Game 2, playing for just under 7 minutes &mdash and his lone fourth-quarter appearance was a 2 1/2-minute stint to give Booker a quick break.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Phoenix. When James leads a series after three games, it&rsquos usually curtains for the other side his teams have won 32 of 35 series when holding the edge going into Game 4.

Series tied 1-1. Game 3, 10:30 p.m. EDT, NBATV.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Denver has trailed after three games in each of its last 10 playoff series and can finally buck that trend. Portland has held the three-game series lead three times in Damian Lillard&rsquos career the Blazers are 3-0 in those series.

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo has four turnovers in 62 minutes through his first two NBA playoff games. He&rsquos played a ton of big games on the international level and his pestering, high-energy style is a big plus for Denver.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: All eyes are on Denver&rsquos Will Barton, and if he can return from his right hamstring strain. He hasn&rsquot played since April 23 and remains listed as out for Game 3.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Portland. The Blazers got the split in Denver. Giving the home-court edge right back to the Nuggets would be less than ideal.


A year after Finals, Lakers and Heat set to play before fans

1 of 3 Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, rear, hugs forward Anthony Davis (3) after Game 2 of the team's NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, May 25, 2021, in Phoenix. The Lakers won 109-102. Ross D. Franklin/AP Show More Show Less

2 of 3 Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo shoots over Milwaukee Bucks' Brook Lopez during the first half of Game 1 of their NBA basketball first-round playoff series Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Milwaukee. Morry Gash/AP Show More Show Less

3 of 3 Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots next to Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (1) during the second half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Denver. Jack Dempsey/AP Show More Show Less

MIAMI (AP) &mdash On their respective ways to the NBA Finals last season, there was one important element missing for both the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat.

That changes for last year&rsquos finalists on Thursday night, when the Lakers play host to Phoenix and the Heat return home to face Milwaukee in a pair of Round 1, Game 3 matchups. Those are two of the three games on Thursday&rsquos slate, the other being Denver heading to Portland for a Game 3 contest.

Portland and the Lakers are going home having taken away home-court advantage from higher-seeded opponents in their respective series by getting splits of the first two games, at third-seeded Denver and second-seeded Phoenix. Miami is limping home, the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference down 2-0 against the third-seeded Bucks and after getting simply blown out in Game 2.

Heat fans can get a shot in the arm &mdash literally. The Moderna vaccine will be available if any of the expected 17,000 fans want to begin the process of getting inoculated against the coronavirus. But Heat forward Jimmy Butler stopped short of saying having a raucous home crowd, which if capacity is hit would be the biggest in the NBA during this virus-marred season, would automatically help Miami&rsquos chances.

&ldquoI don&rsquot think so,&rdquo Butler said. &ldquoWe love playing in front of our home crowd, on our home floor, but we&rsquove still got to go out there and play basketball the right way &mdash compete and do what we say we&rsquore going to do before the game, what we say we&rsquore going to do after the game."

The Lakers, who won last season&rsquos NBA championship in the restart bubble at Walt Disney World, haven&rsquot won a playoff game in their home arena since May 18, 2012.

Here&rsquos how long ago that was: Lakers forward LeBron James was a month away from his first NBA title in Miami, Suns guard Chris Paul was in his first year of a six-year run with the Clippers (and he&rsquos been with three teams since), and Phoenix center Deandre Ayton was only about a year removed from picking up a basketball for the first time.

&ldquoUs just coming home, 1-1, evening up this series and actually playing a real playoff game . for the first time in, what, eight years? It&rsquoll be pretty special for our fans,&rdquo James said. &ldquoTo just have our fans in the building, we want to continue to make them proud. That&rsquos what I came here for, to play a playoff game in front of the Laker faithful.&rdquo

Portland won Game 1 of its matchup in Denver before the Nuggets recovered to take Game 2. Over the last three months, no team has been better than Denver on the road. The Nuggets are 14-6 in their last 20 road games, including a regular-season finale loss at Portland in which they didn&rsquot exactly give big minutes to their regular rotation.

Nikola Jokic made 15 of his 20 shots for Denver in Game 2, and the Nuggets had six players in double figures.

&ldquoWe&rsquoll have to be even better on the road to try and get Game 3,&rdquo Nuggets coach Michael Malone said.

Milwaukee leads 2-0. Game 3, 7:30 p.m. EDT, TNT.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Miami hasn&rsquot trailed 3-0 in a series since 2010, and the Heat return home to see if they can avoid that fate and get back into this matchup. Milwaukee is the first team to beat Miami by 30 or more points twice in the same season since Toronto in 2007-08 to the then NBA-worst Heat. (Oddly, the Bucks were one point shy of doing it in 2018-19, winning by 38 and 29 that season.)

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Miami&rsquos Bam Adebayo (9 for 26) and Jimmy Butler (8 for 32) are shooting a combined 29% in this series. That must change, fast, or else.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: All rotation players on both sides are expected to be available Thursday.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Miami. It&rsquos not technically an elimination game, but it sure seems like one.

Series tied 1-1. Game 3, 10 p.m. EDT, TNT.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Suns center Deandre Ayton is 21 for 24 in this series, the best two-game shooting percentage for anyone (taking nine or more shots per game) making their NBA playoff debut since Larry McNeill of the Kansas City Kings was 18 for 18 through his first two games of the 1975 playoffs. McNeill was 11 for 26 from the field for the rest of his playoff career.

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Lakers guard Dennis Schroder had 24 points in Game 2. If he takes some of the workload off LeBron James and Anthony Davis, that&rsquos a huge boost for the Lakers.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: Suns guard Chris Paul&rsquos shoulder issue remains a major question. Paul sat out most of the second half of Game 2, playing for just under 7 minutes &mdash and his lone fourth-quarter appearance was a 2 1/2-minute stint to give Booker a quick break.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Phoenix. When James leads a series after three games, it&rsquos usually curtains for the other side his teams have won 32 of 35 series when holding the edge going into Game 4.

Series tied 1-1. Game 3, 10:30 p.m. EDT, NBATV.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Denver has trailed after three games in each of its last 10 playoff series and can finally buck that trend. Portland has held the three-game series lead three times in Damian Lillard&rsquos career the Blazers are 3-0 in those series.

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo has four turnovers in 62 minutes through his first two NBA playoff games. He&rsquos played a ton of big games on the international level and his pestering, high-energy style is a big plus for Denver.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: All eyes are on Denver&rsquos Will Barton, and if he can return from his right hamstring strain. He hasn&rsquot played since April 23 and remains listed as out for Game 3.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Portland. The Blazers got the split in Denver. Giving the home-court edge right back to the Nuggets would be less than ideal.


A year after Finals, Lakers and Heat set to play before fans

1 of 3 Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, rear, hugs forward Anthony Davis (3) after Game 2 of the team's NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, May 25, 2021, in Phoenix. The Lakers won 109-102. Ross D. Franklin/AP Show More Show Less

2 of 3 Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo shoots over Milwaukee Bucks' Brook Lopez during the first half of Game 1 of their NBA basketball first-round playoff series Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Milwaukee. Morry Gash/AP Show More Show Less

3 of 3 Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots next to Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (1) during the second half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Denver. Jack Dempsey/AP Show More Show Less

MIAMI (AP) &mdash On their respective ways to the NBA Finals last season, there was one important element missing for both the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat.

That changes for last year&rsquos finalists on Thursday night, when the Lakers play host to Phoenix and the Heat return home to face Milwaukee in a pair of Round 1, Game 3 matchups. Those are two of the three games on Thursday&rsquos slate, the other being Denver heading to Portland for a Game 3 contest.

Portland and the Lakers are going home having taken away home-court advantage from higher-seeded opponents in their respective series by getting splits of the first two games, at third-seeded Denver and second-seeded Phoenix. Miami is limping home, the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference down 2-0 against the third-seeded Bucks and after getting simply blown out in Game 2.

Heat fans can get a shot in the arm &mdash literally. The Moderna vaccine will be available if any of the expected 17,000 fans want to begin the process of getting inoculated against the coronavirus. But Heat forward Jimmy Butler stopped short of saying having a raucous home crowd, which if capacity is hit would be the biggest in the NBA during this virus-marred season, would automatically help Miami&rsquos chances.

&ldquoI don&rsquot think so,&rdquo Butler said. &ldquoWe love playing in front of our home crowd, on our home floor, but we&rsquove still got to go out there and play basketball the right way &mdash compete and do what we say we&rsquore going to do before the game, what we say we&rsquore going to do after the game."

The Lakers, who won last season&rsquos NBA championship in the restart bubble at Walt Disney World, haven&rsquot won a playoff game in their home arena since May 18, 2012.

Here&rsquos how long ago that was: Lakers forward LeBron James was a month away from his first NBA title in Miami, Suns guard Chris Paul was in his first year of a six-year run with the Clippers (and he&rsquos been with three teams since), and Phoenix center Deandre Ayton was only about a year removed from picking up a basketball for the first time.

&ldquoUs just coming home, 1-1, evening up this series and actually playing a real playoff game . for the first time in, what, eight years? It&rsquoll be pretty special for our fans,&rdquo James said. &ldquoTo just have our fans in the building, we want to continue to make them proud. That&rsquos what I came here for, to play a playoff game in front of the Laker faithful.&rdquo

Portland won Game 1 of its matchup in Denver before the Nuggets recovered to take Game 2. Over the last three months, no team has been better than Denver on the road. The Nuggets are 14-6 in their last 20 road games, including a regular-season finale loss at Portland in which they didn&rsquot exactly give big minutes to their regular rotation.

Nikola Jokic made 15 of his 20 shots for Denver in Game 2, and the Nuggets had six players in double figures.

&ldquoWe&rsquoll have to be even better on the road to try and get Game 3,&rdquo Nuggets coach Michael Malone said.

Milwaukee leads 2-0. Game 3, 7:30 p.m. EDT, TNT.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Miami hasn&rsquot trailed 3-0 in a series since 2010, and the Heat return home to see if they can avoid that fate and get back into this matchup. Milwaukee is the first team to beat Miami by 30 or more points twice in the same season since Toronto in 2007-08 to the then NBA-worst Heat. (Oddly, the Bucks were one point shy of doing it in 2018-19, winning by 38 and 29 that season.)

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Miami&rsquos Bam Adebayo (9 for 26) and Jimmy Butler (8 for 32) are shooting a combined 29% in this series. That must change, fast, or else.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: All rotation players on both sides are expected to be available Thursday.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Miami. It&rsquos not technically an elimination game, but it sure seems like one.

Series tied 1-1. Game 3, 10 p.m. EDT, TNT.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Suns center Deandre Ayton is 21 for 24 in this series, the best two-game shooting percentage for anyone (taking nine or more shots per game) making their NBA playoff debut since Larry McNeill of the Kansas City Kings was 18 for 18 through his first two games of the 1975 playoffs. McNeill was 11 for 26 from the field for the rest of his playoff career.

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Lakers guard Dennis Schroder had 24 points in Game 2. If he takes some of the workload off LeBron James and Anthony Davis, that&rsquos a huge boost for the Lakers.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: Suns guard Chris Paul&rsquos shoulder issue remains a major question. Paul sat out most of the second half of Game 2, playing for just under 7 minutes &mdash and his lone fourth-quarter appearance was a 2 1/2-minute stint to give Booker a quick break.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Phoenix. When James leads a series after three games, it&rsquos usually curtains for the other side his teams have won 32 of 35 series when holding the edge going into Game 4.

Series tied 1-1. Game 3, 10:30 p.m. EDT, NBATV.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Denver has trailed after three games in each of its last 10 playoff series and can finally buck that trend. Portland has held the three-game series lead three times in Damian Lillard&rsquos career the Blazers are 3-0 in those series.

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo has four turnovers in 62 minutes through his first two NBA playoff games. He&rsquos played a ton of big games on the international level and his pestering, high-energy style is a big plus for Denver.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: All eyes are on Denver&rsquos Will Barton, and if he can return from his right hamstring strain. He hasn&rsquot played since April 23 and remains listed as out for Game 3.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Portland. The Blazers got the split in Denver. Giving the home-court edge right back to the Nuggets would be less than ideal.


A year after Finals, Lakers and Heat set to play before fans

1 of 3 Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, rear, hugs forward Anthony Davis (3) after Game 2 of the team's NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, May 25, 2021, in Phoenix. The Lakers won 109-102. Ross D. Franklin/AP Show More Show Less

2 of 3 Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo shoots over Milwaukee Bucks' Brook Lopez during the first half of Game 1 of their NBA basketball first-round playoff series Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Milwaukee. Morry Gash/AP Show More Show Less

3 of 3 Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots next to Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (1) during the second half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Denver. Jack Dempsey/AP Show More Show Less

MIAMI (AP) &mdash On their respective ways to the NBA Finals last season, there was one important element missing for both the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat.

That changes for last year&rsquos finalists on Thursday night, when the Lakers play host to Phoenix and the Heat return home to face Milwaukee in a pair of Round 1, Game 3 matchups. Those are two of the three games on Thursday&rsquos slate, the other being Denver heading to Portland for a Game 3 contest.

Portland and the Lakers are going home having taken away home-court advantage from higher-seeded opponents in their respective series by getting splits of the first two games, at third-seeded Denver and second-seeded Phoenix. Miami is limping home, the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference down 2-0 against the third-seeded Bucks and after getting simply blown out in Game 2.

Heat fans can get a shot in the arm &mdash literally. The Moderna vaccine will be available if any of the expected 17,000 fans want to begin the process of getting inoculated against the coronavirus. But Heat forward Jimmy Butler stopped short of saying having a raucous home crowd, which if capacity is hit would be the biggest in the NBA during this virus-marred season, would automatically help Miami&rsquos chances.

&ldquoI don&rsquot think so,&rdquo Butler said. &ldquoWe love playing in front of our home crowd, on our home floor, but we&rsquove still got to go out there and play basketball the right way &mdash compete and do what we say we&rsquore going to do before the game, what we say we&rsquore going to do after the game."

The Lakers, who won last season&rsquos NBA championship in the restart bubble at Walt Disney World, haven&rsquot won a playoff game in their home arena since May 18, 2012.

Here&rsquos how long ago that was: Lakers forward LeBron James was a month away from his first NBA title in Miami, Suns guard Chris Paul was in his first year of a six-year run with the Clippers (and he&rsquos been with three teams since), and Phoenix center Deandre Ayton was only about a year removed from picking up a basketball for the first time.

&ldquoUs just coming home, 1-1, evening up this series and actually playing a real playoff game . for the first time in, what, eight years? It&rsquoll be pretty special for our fans,&rdquo James said. &ldquoTo just have our fans in the building, we want to continue to make them proud. That&rsquos what I came here for, to play a playoff game in front of the Laker faithful.&rdquo

Portland won Game 1 of its matchup in Denver before the Nuggets recovered to take Game 2. Over the last three months, no team has been better than Denver on the road. The Nuggets are 14-6 in their last 20 road games, including a regular-season finale loss at Portland in which they didn&rsquot exactly give big minutes to their regular rotation.

Nikola Jokic made 15 of his 20 shots for Denver in Game 2, and the Nuggets had six players in double figures.

&ldquoWe&rsquoll have to be even better on the road to try and get Game 3,&rdquo Nuggets coach Michael Malone said.

Milwaukee leads 2-0. Game 3, 7:30 p.m. EDT, TNT.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Miami hasn&rsquot trailed 3-0 in a series since 2010, and the Heat return home to see if they can avoid that fate and get back into this matchup. Milwaukee is the first team to beat Miami by 30 or more points twice in the same season since Toronto in 2007-08 to the then NBA-worst Heat. (Oddly, the Bucks were one point shy of doing it in 2018-19, winning by 38 and 29 that season.)

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Miami&rsquos Bam Adebayo (9 for 26) and Jimmy Butler (8 for 32) are shooting a combined 29% in this series. That must change, fast, or else.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: All rotation players on both sides are expected to be available Thursday.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Miami. It&rsquos not technically an elimination game, but it sure seems like one.

Series tied 1-1. Game 3, 10 p.m. EDT, TNT.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Suns center Deandre Ayton is 21 for 24 in this series, the best two-game shooting percentage for anyone (taking nine or more shots per game) making their NBA playoff debut since Larry McNeill of the Kansas City Kings was 18 for 18 through his first two games of the 1975 playoffs. McNeill was 11 for 26 from the field for the rest of his playoff career.

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Lakers guard Dennis Schroder had 24 points in Game 2. If he takes some of the workload off LeBron James and Anthony Davis, that&rsquos a huge boost for the Lakers.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: Suns guard Chris Paul&rsquos shoulder issue remains a major question. Paul sat out most of the second half of Game 2, playing for just under 7 minutes &mdash and his lone fourth-quarter appearance was a 2 1/2-minute stint to give Booker a quick break.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Phoenix. When James leads a series after three games, it&rsquos usually curtains for the other side his teams have won 32 of 35 series when holding the edge going into Game 4.

Series tied 1-1. Game 3, 10:30 p.m. EDT, NBATV.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Denver has trailed after three games in each of its last 10 playoff series and can finally buck that trend. Portland has held the three-game series lead three times in Damian Lillard&rsquos career the Blazers are 3-0 in those series.

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo has four turnovers in 62 minutes through his first two NBA playoff games. He&rsquos played a ton of big games on the international level and his pestering, high-energy style is a big plus for Denver.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: All eyes are on Denver&rsquos Will Barton, and if he can return from his right hamstring strain. He hasn&rsquot played since April 23 and remains listed as out for Game 3.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Portland. The Blazers got the split in Denver. Giving the home-court edge right back to the Nuggets would be less than ideal.


A year after Finals, Lakers and Heat set to play before fans

1 of 3 Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, rear, hugs forward Anthony Davis (3) after Game 2 of the team's NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, May 25, 2021, in Phoenix. The Lakers won 109-102. Ross D. Franklin/AP Show More Show Less

2 of 3 Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo shoots over Milwaukee Bucks' Brook Lopez during the first half of Game 1 of their NBA basketball first-round playoff series Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Milwaukee. Morry Gash/AP Show More Show Less

3 of 3 Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots next to Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (1) during the second half of Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Denver. Jack Dempsey/AP Show More Show Less

MIAMI (AP) &mdash On their respective ways to the NBA Finals last season, there was one important element missing for both the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat.

That changes for last year&rsquos finalists on Thursday night, when the Lakers play host to Phoenix and the Heat return home to face Milwaukee in a pair of Round 1, Game 3 matchups. Those are two of the three games on Thursday&rsquos slate, the other being Denver heading to Portland for a Game 3 contest.

Portland and the Lakers are going home having taken away home-court advantage from higher-seeded opponents in their respective series by getting splits of the first two games, at third-seeded Denver and second-seeded Phoenix. Miami is limping home, the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference down 2-0 against the third-seeded Bucks and after getting simply blown out in Game 2.

Heat fans can get a shot in the arm &mdash literally. The Moderna vaccine will be available if any of the expected 17,000 fans want to begin the process of getting inoculated against the coronavirus. But Heat forward Jimmy Butler stopped short of saying having a raucous home crowd, which if capacity is hit would be the biggest in the NBA during this virus-marred season, would automatically help Miami&rsquos chances.

&ldquoI don&rsquot think so,&rdquo Butler said. &ldquoWe love playing in front of our home crowd, on our home floor, but we&rsquove still got to go out there and play basketball the right way &mdash compete and do what we say we&rsquore going to do before the game, what we say we&rsquore going to do after the game."

The Lakers, who won last season&rsquos NBA championship in the restart bubble at Walt Disney World, haven&rsquot won a playoff game in their home arena since May 18, 2012.

Here&rsquos how long ago that was: Lakers forward LeBron James was a month away from his first NBA title in Miami, Suns guard Chris Paul was in his first year of a six-year run with the Clippers (and he&rsquos been with three teams since), and Phoenix center Deandre Ayton was only about a year removed from picking up a basketball for the first time.

&ldquoUs just coming home, 1-1, evening up this series and actually playing a real playoff game . for the first time in, what, eight years? It&rsquoll be pretty special for our fans,&rdquo James said. &ldquoTo just have our fans in the building, we want to continue to make them proud. That&rsquos what I came here for, to play a playoff game in front of the Laker faithful.&rdquo

Portland won Game 1 of its matchup in Denver before the Nuggets recovered to take Game 2. Over the last three months, no team has been better than Denver on the road. The Nuggets are 14-6 in their last 20 road games, including a regular-season finale loss at Portland in which they didn&rsquot exactly give big minutes to their regular rotation.

Nikola Jokic made 15 of his 20 shots for Denver in Game 2, and the Nuggets had six players in double figures.

&ldquoWe&rsquoll have to be even better on the road to try and get Game 3,&rdquo Nuggets coach Michael Malone said.

Milwaukee leads 2-0. Game 3, 7:30 p.m. EDT, TNT.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Miami hasn&rsquot trailed 3-0 in a series since 2010, and the Heat return home to see if they can avoid that fate and get back into this matchup. Milwaukee is the first team to beat Miami by 30 or more points twice in the same season since Toronto in 2007-08 to the then NBA-worst Heat. (Oddly, the Bucks were one point shy of doing it in 2018-19, winning by 38 and 29 that season.)

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Miami&rsquos Bam Adebayo (9 for 26) and Jimmy Butler (8 for 32) are shooting a combined 29% in this series. That must change, fast, or else.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: All rotation players on both sides are expected to be available Thursday.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Miami. It&rsquos not technically an elimination game, but it sure seems like one.

Series tied 1-1. Game 3, 10 p.m. EDT, TNT.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Suns center Deandre Ayton is 21 for 24 in this series, the best two-game shooting percentage for anyone (taking nine or more shots per game) making their NBA playoff debut since Larry McNeill of the Kansas City Kings was 18 for 18 through his first two games of the 1975 playoffs. McNeill was 11 for 26 from the field for the rest of his playoff career.

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Lakers guard Dennis Schroder had 24 points in Game 2. If he takes some of the workload off LeBron James and Anthony Davis, that&rsquos a huge boost for the Lakers.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: Suns guard Chris Paul&rsquos shoulder issue remains a major question. Paul sat out most of the second half of Game 2, playing for just under 7 minutes &mdash and his lone fourth-quarter appearance was a 2 1/2-minute stint to give Booker a quick break.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Phoenix. When James leads a series after three games, it&rsquos usually curtains for the other side his teams have won 32 of 35 series when holding the edge going into Game 4.

Series tied 1-1. Game 3, 10:30 p.m. EDT, NBATV.

&mdash NEED TO KNOW: Denver has trailed after three games in each of its last 10 playoff series and can finally buck that trend. Portland has held the three-game series lead three times in Damian Lillard&rsquos career the Blazers are 3-0 in those series.

&mdash KEEP AN EYE ON: Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo has four turnovers in 62 minutes through his first two NBA playoff games. He&rsquos played a ton of big games on the international level and his pestering, high-energy style is a big plus for Denver.

&mdash INJURY WATCH: All eyes are on Denver&rsquos Will Barton, and if he can return from his right hamstring strain. He hasn&rsquot played since April 23 and remains listed as out for Game 3.

&mdash PRESSURE IS ON: Portland. The Blazers got the split in Denver. Giving the home-court edge right back to the Nuggets would be less than ideal.


Watch the video: NBA Playoffs 2012: Best Moments To Remember HD (January 2022).