NBA: Joel Embiid returns as Philadelphia 76ers top Miami Heat, Golden State roll past Spurs for 3-0 lead

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid goes for the basket during the National Basketball Association game against Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena in Miami on May 19, 2018.
Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid goes for the basket during the National Basketball Association game against Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena in Miami on May 19, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Joel Embiid scored 23 points in his first career play-off game to lift the Philadelphia 76ers past the hosts Miami Heat 128-108 on Thursday (April 19).

Dario Saric and Marco Belinelli added 21 points each for the Sixers, who took a 2-1 series lead with Game 4 looming on Saturday. Ben Simmons had a terrific all-around game with 19 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.

Embiid had been out with an orbital bone injury and was forced to wear a protective mask. He went through three different masks during the game and looked uncomfortable at times in the first half.

Goran Dragic led the Heat with 23 points while Justise Winslow added 19.

Nikola Mirotic and Anthony Davis led the way as New Orleans dominated from start to finish in a dismantling of visiting Portland, giving the Pelicans a 3-0 lead in a Western Conference first-round play-off series wuth a 119-102 win.

Mirotic scored 30 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and Davis collected 28 points and 11 boards for New Orleans, who will try to sweep the best-of-seven series at home on Saturday. Rajon Rondo chipped in 16 points and 11 assists for the Pelicans, who led by 33 points with seven minutes to play.

C.J. McCollum scored 22 points, Al-Farouq Aminu 21 and Damian Lillard 20 for the Trail Blazers, who committed 24 turnovers.

Kevin Durant scored a game-high 26 points as Golden State won 110-97 at San Antonio and moved within one game of a first-round play-off sweep.

The only negatives for Golden State were Durant rolling his left ankle and Shaun Livingston turning his right ankle in the fourth quarter. Durant left the game for good with the Warriors ahead by 15 points. Afterwards, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, "Both sprained ankles, but I think they'll be all right."

The Spurs played Game 3 without coach Gregg Popovich, whose wife, Erin, died on Wednesday. Assistant coach Ettore Messina filled in for Popovich. LaMarcus Aldridge posted an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double for San Antonio.