NBA

Chicago edge Brooklyn to take playoff series lead

Defence was the key for the Bulls (©GettyImages)
Defence was the key for the Bulls (©GettyImages).

Carlos Boozer had a big night as the Chicago Bulls squeezed past the Brooklyn Nets 79-76 in Game 3 to take a 2-1 playoff series lead on Thursday night.

Boozer piled on 22 points and hauled in 16 rebounds, while fellow forward Luol Deng added 21 points and 10 boards.

For the Nets, centre Brook Lopez totalled 22 points, nine rebounds and seven blocked shots, while point guard Deron Williams ended with 18 points.

Boozer told ESPN after the game: "We did what we had to do to win the game. In the playoffs, you have to win in different ways. Nothing is perfect."

It was a grind-it-out game between two low-scoring, defence-first teams. The Bulls edged it by holding the Nets to just 35 per cent shooting, but having built a 16-point lead the Bulls went cold and Brooklyn cut that just three points with 14.4 seconds left.

Free throws from Joakim Noah and Nate Robinson down the stretch took the game away from the Nets at the death and Nets guard C.J. Watson missed an open three point shot to tie the game as time expired.

Elsewhere, the Miami Heat extended their lead over the Milwaukee Bucks, winning the game with ease 104-91.

LeBron James top scored for the Heat with 22 points and five rebounds, and the defending champions are now just one win away from the next round.

Memphis Grizzlies pulled one back on the LA Clippers, winning the first game back in Memphis 94-82 to make it a 2-1 series after Game 3.

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