The Los Angeles Clippers are one victory away from their first-ever trip to the NBA’s Western Conference finals.
DeAndre Jordan poured in 26 points and Chris Paul had a double-double as the Clippers crushed the Houston Rockets 128-95 to take a 3-1 series lead.
Jordan took an NBA playoff-record 28 free throw attempts in the first half as the Rockets continued to send the Clippers’ worst free-throw shooter to the line. Jordan finished 14 of 34 from the line but also shot 6 of 7 from the field in helping the Clippers get within one win of a conference finals berth for only the second time since 1976, when the franchise was located in Buffalo.
Paul contributed 15 points and 12 assists in his first start since straining his left hamstring in Game 7 of the conference quarterfinals. The Clippers have posted consecutive blowout victories since Paul returned from the injury.
Blake Griffin added 21 points and J.J. Redick had 18 for the Clippers, who led by just six before opening the second half on a 29-7 run.
James Harden scored 21 points for the Rockets, but Dwight Howard finished with just seven points and six rebounds before fouling out early in the fourth quarter.
Game 5 is Tuesday in Houston.
Earlier Sunday, another Cavaliers-Bulls playoff game was decided by a buzzer-beater.
This time it was LeBron James hitting a jumper from the corner as time expired to give Cleveland an 86-84 victory at Chicago, tying the Eastern Conference semifinal series at two games apiece. The bucket came two days after Derrick Rose drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Bulls a three-point win over the Cavs.
James came through after Rose hit a driving layup to tie the game with just under 10 seconds left. James finished with 25 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists, while Rose delivered 31 points for Chicago.
The Cavaliers overcame a seven-point, fourth-quarter deficit and a poor shooting performance by Kyrie Irving, who scored 12 points on just 2 of 10 from the floor. Timofey Mozgov had 15 points and a team-high 12 boards for the Cavs, who host Game 5 on Tuesday. Jimmy Butler was the only Bull other than Rose to score more than eight points, finishing with 19. The Bulls were without forward Pau Gasol, who sat out with a hamstring injury.