NEW YORK (AP) — If Stephen Curry and Derrick Rose are tired after working overtime, now is the chance to earn some rest.
The Golden State Warriors and Chicago Bulls, following exhausting victories, can become the first teams to reach the second round of the NBA playoffs if they finish off sweeps Saturday.
The Warriors visit New Orleans, the Bulls are back in Milwaukee, and two other teams take 2-0 leads on the road as part of a four-game slate. Atlanta is at Brooklyn after two tough victories at home, while the Grizzlies easily handled Portland in Memphis.
No NBA team has blown a 3-0 lead, so the Warriors and Bulls figure to end up in the conference semifinals at some point. But clinching their spots on the first opportunity would guarantee at least a week off, with the next round not scheduled to begin until at least May 2.
“We want to get some rest. We don’t want to play any extra games we don’t have to play, especially with some guys banged up right now,” Warriors center Andrew Bogut said Friday. “If we get a couple extra days rest it will help us, but they’ll come out tomorrow the same way they did yesterday, and we have to make sure we blow them out.”
Rose had 34 points and eight assists in 48 minutes of Chicago’s 113-106 double-overtime victory on Thursday. After missing most of the last two seasons with knee injuries and making a late-season return from another surgery this season, the former MVP has shown some of his old explosiveness in this series.
“Feeling good. Just happy we got the victory,” Rose said. “We know that the game and the performance is behind us and we’ve just got to keep things going.”
Curry made the tying 3-pointer in regulation and finished with 40 points and nine assists as the Warriors charged back from 20 down in the fourth quarter for a 123-119 victory over the stunned Pelicans.
He logged 44 minutes, getting plenty of help before providing the highlight.
“That’s what the playoffs are all about,” he said. “Everybody can tune into that one shot. Obviously we’re not sitting 3-0 without it, but everybody on the court had a good part in that win.”
Here’s a breakdown of Saturday’s games, all times EDT:
Hawks at Nets, Atlanta leads 2-0, 3 p.m., TNT
Deron Williams used to be in the Rose-Curry category of point guards, but his decline has rarely seemed steeper than in this series. He finished a 1-for-7 performance in Game 2 by missing an open jumper in the final seconds that would have tied it.
Starting forward Thaddeus Young also was 1 for 7 and said he apologized to his teammates after being outplayed by All-Stars Paul Millsap and Al Horford. The Hawks are 6-0 against the Nets this season, and Brooklyn coach Lionel Hollins, who overcame 2-0 deficits as a Portland player and Memphis coach, will try to do it again.
“It’s difficult anyhow you look at it, to be down 0-2, but it’s better to be down 0-2 going home then down 0-2 going on the road,” he said. “So it’s about us doing what we need to do and that’s holding serve as they held serve in Atlanta.”
Bulls at Bucks, Chicago leads 3-0, 5:30 p.m., TNT
Rose isn’t Milwaukee’s only problem. Jimmy Butler is averaging 26.7 points to Rose’s 24, and the starting guards have combined to make nearly half their shots.
“They’re both very talented,” Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd said. “One is the MVP and is playing at a very high level. Jimmy is an All-Star that is one of the top guards in this league. They’re both playing at a very high level, so we have to try and contest and just make it harder for them.”
Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said reserve forward Nikola Mirotic felt better Friday after missing Game 3 with knee and thigh injuries, but wasn’t sure if he would play Saturday.
Warriors at Pelicans, Golden State leads 3-0, 8 p.m., ESPN
Anthony Davis and the Pelicans likely blew any chance they had of advancing, but are trying to keep their spirits up.
“It hurts us right now. We are down 3-0, but we have to bounce back tomorrow,” guard Eric Gordon said. “It’s a tough task, but we’re still fighting. We’re not giving up.”
Ryan Anderson will try to back up his 26-point performance in Game 3, while Davis looks to deliver another strong one after averaging 30 points through three games.
Grizzlies at Trail Blazers, Memphis leads 2-0, 10:30 p.m., ESPN
Portland held Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph to 9-of-31 shooting in Game 2 yet lost by 15 because Mike Conley and Courtney Lee each scored 18 points. Conley and backup Beno Udrih are averaging 32 points between them, Lee shot 8 of 11 in Game 2, and that’s been too much for Portland to handle.
“The big fellows are going to draw attention and I just got to play off of them,” Lee said of Gasol and Randolph.
“It’s a lot of fun. Those guys are capable of big numbers every night. They were able to make some plays and get everyone else involved.”
That’s supposed to be Damian Lillard’s job for Portland, but the All-Star point guard is just 10 for 37 (27 percent) thus far, missing 10 of his 11 3-point attempts.
“They played really well on their home floor and they took care of home, which is what their goal was to do: Win two games at home,” Lillard said. “Obviously we didn’t play as well as we liked. But we’ve got to keep playing, we’ve got to stay with it, stay together.”
AP Sports Writers Genaro Armas in Milwaukee and Anne Peterson in Portland, Oregon, and AP freelance writer Guerry Smith in New Orleans contributed to this report.
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