MILWAUKEE — Miami’s Big Three finally have their sweep.
LeBron James scored 30, Ray Allen had another big game against his old team and the Miami Heat advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals with an 88-77 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday. It’s the first time the Heat have swept a playoff series since James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade in Miami three years ago.
And the Heat didn’t even need Wade to do it. The guard missed a postseason game for the second time in his career and first since 2005 due to three bone bruises on his right knee.
But the Heat still advanced handily, winning their fourth straight game by double digits. Wade will get plenty of time to rest now, too. The Heat will face the winner of the Brooklyn Nets-Chicago Bulls series — Chicago leads 3-1 — but the next round won’t begin until next Saturday.
Allen had 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including 4 of 7 from 3-point range. Udonis Haslem added 13 points and five rebounds, and Mario Chalmers kicked in eight rebounds and six assists.
Monta Ellis led the Bucks with 21 points, and Larry Sanders had 11 rebounds to go with seven points. But Milwaukee got almost nothing from Brandon Jennings, who didn’t even play in the fourth quarter. Jennings, who had guaranteed the Bucks would win the series in six games, finished with three points on 1-of-7 shooting and had two turnovers.
The Heat had won the first three games easily. But that was with Wade on the floor. He led Miami in scoring in Game 2, and his defense was key in Game 3.
But Wade got knocked around hard Thursday night, and the Heat decided it wasn’t worth risking further aggravating his knee Sunday. Wade missed six games near the end of the regular season with three bone bruises around his right knee — one above, below and to the side of the kneecap.
Wade got treatment “around the clock” on Friday and Saturday, and tested the knee before the game. Though he was active and sat on the bench in his warmups, a large ice bag on his knee made it clear he wasn’t going to play.
And, really, there was no need.
Spurs 103, Lakers 82: LOS ANGELES — Tony Parker scored 23 points, and the San Antonio Spurs completed their first-round sweep of the injury-plagued Los Angeles Lakers with a 103-82 victory in Game 4 on Sunday night.
Tim Duncan had 11 points and six rebounds for the second-seeded Spurs, who will face the winner of Denver’s series with Golden State in the second round. They’ll get plenty of rest after flattening the Lakers, who finished without three regular starters in their first opening-round exit since 2007.
In his final game before unrestricted free agency, Dwight Howard scored seven points before getting ejected early in the third quarter for arguing.
Pau Gasol had 16 points for the Lakers, who were swept from the postseason for the second time in three years despite a late courtside appearance by Kobe Bryant on crutches.
Celtics 97, Knicks 90: BOSTON — Jason Terry scored Boston’s last nine points and the Celtics weathered a strong comeback by the New York Knicks, avoiding a sweep with a 97-90 overtime win on Sunday.
Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 29 points as they forced a fifth game in the series, but it was Terry who provided the finishing touches.
In Game 3, he had been elbowed by J.R. Smith, and the NBA suspended the Knicks guard for Sunday’s game.
New York had tied the game 84-84 after trailing by 20 points early in the third quarter. It was 88-all before the Celtics regained control and took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Terry.
Carmelo Anthony, who led the Knicks with 36 points, hit a short jumper, but Terry connected on a 15-footer with 50 seconds remaining for a 93-90 lead.
After Anthony missed a 3-pointer with 21 seconds to go, Terry was fouled and sank both free throws. He added a layup to close out the game.