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Rockets race by Wolves with 50-point 3rd

(Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) James Harden gave Houston quite the jump-start with 22 of the team's 50 points in the third quarter, as the Rockets cruised past the Minnesota Timberwolves 119-100 on Monday night to take a 3-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.

Chris Paul scored 15 of his 25 points in the near-record third for the Rockets, who turned a 50-49 halftime edge into a 31-point advantage after the torrid 12-minute span. The only team in the history of the NBA playoffs with more points in one quarter was the Los Angeles Lakers, who scored 51 points in the fourth on March 31, 1962, in a loss to the Detroit Pistons.

Clint Capela added 14 points and 17 rebounds, Eric Gordon finally got going with 18 points off the bench and the Rockets easily recovered from their rough start.

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Rubio, Jazz try to go up 3-1 on Thunder

SALT LAKE CITY -- Being a playoff novice isn't preventing Utah Jazz point guard Ricky Rubio from making a major impact on the court.

Rubio turned in one of the finest performances of his career while sparking the Jazz to a 115-102 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday. He tallied 26 points on 9-for-18 shooting, 10 assists, 11 rebounds and two steals to help Utah claim a 2-1 series lead over Oklahoma City. The Thunder will look to even the series again when the two teams square off again on Monday night.

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Warriors again try to eliminate Spurs

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The San Antonio Spurs hope to take a second step on what would be an unprecedented journey in the NBA playoffs when they once again face elimination in Game 5 against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night.

No team has ever won a series in which it trailed 3-0, but the Spurs were able to stay alive at home with a 103-90 win in Game 4 on Sunday.

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76ers look to close out Heat in Game 5

Even as the Philadelphia 76ers exceeded expectations this season, those who have indeed trusted the process still could not have imagined the team's quick ascension to the NBA's elite.

Joel Embiid, for one, isn't about to pump the brakes on what has been a whirlwind ride that has the 76ers heading into their Game 5 home matchup on Tuesday sporting a 3-1 lead over the visiting Miami Heat.

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Celtics host Bucks with series tied at 2

BOSTON -- The Milwaukee Bucks continue to battle history and the Celtics as they visit TD Garden for Game 5 of their opening-round playoff series with Boston on Tuesday night.

Despite winning both games in Milwaukee, the Bucks, looking for their first series victory since 2000, have never won a series after trailing 0-2, going 0-17 in such situations.

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Pelicans pick up Gentry's 2018-19 option

NEW ORLEANS (AP) A person familiar with the situation says Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry's contract option for next season has been exercised by the club.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the club has not announced the move. The person says Gentry was informed of the decision before the Pelicans swept their first-round playoff series against third-seeded Portland.

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Curry signs production deal with Sony

LAS VEGAS (AP) NBA star Stephen Curry is heading to Hollywood in a big way.

Sony Pictures Entertainment announced Monday that it has struck a deal with the Golden State Warriors All-Star guard to produce television, film and possibly gaming projects.

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Wall back to explosive, elite self

WASHINGTON (AP) Washington Wizards coach Scott Brooks knew John Wall would be back to his explosive, elite self for the playoffs when the All-Star point guard was able to play 38 minutes in a regular-season loss at Cleveland.

It took Wall one additional outing to be absolutely certain he' d be OK after coming back from surgery on his left knee, pointing to his 29-point, 12-assist effort against Boston five days later.

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Embiid surprises churchgoers near Philly

SPRINGFIELD, Pa. (AP) Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid is shaping up to be the answer to Philly fans' prayers, and he shocked parishioners by showing up during the middle of some at a small Roman Catholic church this weekend.

St. Kevin Parish in Springfield, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) outside Philadelphia, posted photos on Facebook of the player posing with thrilled churchgoers as he attended their 5:30 p.m. Mass Sunday.

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Antetokounmpo can't get table for lunch

MILWAUKEE (AP) Giannis Antetokounmpo helped the Milwaukee Bucks win a playoff game but couldn't score a table at a Mexican restaurant.

Antetokounmpo says the social media-fueled mess over the missed meal isn't a big deal.

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