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Magic on the brink of NBA elimination

Khris Middleton scored eight of his 21 points during a decisive 16-point run as the Milwaukee Bucks turned away the Orlando Magic for a 121-106 victory on Monday.

The Bucks now hold a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven NBA playoff series.

Nikola Vucevic continued his stellar post-season play with 31 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists to lead the Magic. Terrence Ross finished with 19 points while Markelle Fultz had 15 points and Evan Fournier and Gary Clark scored 12 apiece.

Vucevic and Clark combined for 10 of Orlando’s 18 three-pointers.

Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 31 points and 15 rebounds to lead Milwaukee, who outscored Orlando 42-20 in the paint.

Middleton sank two three-pointers and drained a fall-away baseline jumper for his eight points as Milwaukee used a 18-2 burst to open the fourth quarter to surge ahead.

It was that four-minute stretch that ultimately hurt the Magic, who are now on the brink of post-season elimination.

Should they progress, the Bucks will meet the Miami Heat who posted a statement series victory against the Indiana Pacers.

The Heat completed a four-game sweep of the Pacers with a 99-87, with Miami winning by a combined 42 points.

The No.5-seed Heat advanced to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs for the first time since 2016.

The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Portland Trail Blazers 135-115 on Kobe Bryant Day to take a 3-1 advantage into their playoff series.

LeBron James had 30 points and 10 assists in 28 minutes before heading to the bench late in the third quarter.

The Lakers led by as many as 38 points for their third straight win in the opening-round series, the team’s first playoff appearance since 2013.

The Trail Blazers won the opener but have appeared gassed in the past two games as the grind of the bubble and injuries appear to have taken a toll.

Damian Lillard, the MVP of the seeding games in the NBA bubble, had 11 points before leaving with a right knee injury in the third. Jusuf Nurkic had 20 points and 13 rebounds.

Anthony Davis added 18 points in 18 minutes for the Lakers before leaving the game midway through the third with back spasms.

The Lakers, the top seed in the Western Conference, can close out the series on Wednesday.

Dennis Schroder scored a career playoff-high 30 points as Oklahoma City rallied to beat Houston 117-114 and even the first-round Western Conference playoff series at two wins apiece.

Chris Paul scored 26 points and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Thunder, who won despite allowing 23 three-pointers.

James Harden had 32 points, 15 assists and eight rebounds for Houston. Eric Gordon scored 23 points and Danuel House Jr. added 21 for the Rockets.

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