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Dublin: 10 °C Friday 18 October, 2019

Michael Jordan's Charlotte Hornets win first play-off game in 14 years

Elsewhere, Toronto and Indiana’s ding-dong battle continued while Oklahoma City Thunder took a giant step towards the conference semis.

Image: Chuck Burton/AP/Press Association Images

JEREMY LIN MANAGED 18 points as the Charlotte Hornets defeated the Miami Heat 96-80 to claim their first NBA play-off win since 2002.

It was a vital victory for the Michael Jordan-owned franchise and breathes new life into the Hornets’ hopes of reaching their first Eastern Conference semi-final in sixteen years.

The tie is nicely balanced with the Heat leading 2-1 in the best-of-seven clash.

On Monday, the Hornets are in front of their own crowd again and will look to level the series.

Elsewhere, the Oklahoma City Thunder took a giant step towards the semis with a 119-108 win over the Dallas Mavericks to give them a 3-1 lead.

A sensational comeback is unlikely. In NBA history, only nine teams have managed to rescue such a deficit.

Russell Westbrook had 25 points and 15 assists while Kevin Durant added a further 19 points.

But Durant didn’t finish the game – he was ejected when he clawed at Justin Anderson’s face attempting to block a shot.

Meanwhile, Toronto’s ding-dong battle with the Pacers continued in Indiana.

The home side’s French centre Ian Mahinmi conjured 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists as the Pacers levelled the series at 2-2. George Hill also hit 22 points while Paul George scored 19.

In Saturday’s late game, Damian Lillard hit 32 points as the Portland Trail Blazers beat Los Angeles 96-88 to cut the Clippers lead in the series to 2-1.

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Eoin O'Callaghan

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