Bucks clinch prime seed in East with win over Warmth

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton scored 33 factors every, and the Milwaukee Bucks overcame an enormous early deficit to get a 130-116 win over the Miami Warmth on Thursday to clinch the highest seed within the Jap Convention.

The Warmth led by as many as 23 factors in a primary half the place the workforce piled up 73 factors regardless of enjoying with out Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic. Miami cooled off after the break and the Bucks took the lead within the third quarter however have been down by 6 to begin the fourth.

Antetokounmpo sat out about 5 minutes of the fourth quarter after accumulating his fifth foul with 11 minutes to go. Milwaukee trailed by 1 with about 5 minutes remaining earlier than utilizing a 20-Zero run, with three dunks from Antetokounmpo, to make it 130-111 with lower than a minute to go and cruise to the victory.

“They have been simply getting every little thing they needed within the first half,” Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer stated. “We simply felt like we made it harder on them within the second half. We wore them down.”

Antetokounmpo and Middleton performed 30 and 34 minutes respectively after the celebs each sat out the whole second half of their final sport on Tuesday.

Duncan Robinson had 21 factors for the Warmth, who misplaced to Milwaukee for the primary time this season after successful the primary two conferences.

It’s the second straight yr the Bucks have had one of the best report within the East.

“It’s a tribute to our gamers and what they’ve accomplished each night time and the way they’ve introduced it… (however) we have now much more work to do,” Budenholzer stated.

The Warmth led by 6 with about 11 minutes left within the fourth quarter when Antetokounmpo picked up his fifth foul on a cost and headed to the bench. Andre Iguodala made a Three for Miami earlier than the Bucks scored the following 13 factors, capped by a Three from Bledsoe, to take a 107-103 lead with about seven minutes remaining.

Robinson made a 3-pointer to finish a scoring drought of just about 4 minutes for Miami with about 6½ minutes to go and Antetokounmpo re-entered the sport quickly after that.

The Warmth led by 12 with about 10 minutes left in third quarter earlier than Milwaukee used a 16-Three run to take an 82-81 lead with 5 minutes left within the quarter. Antetokounmpo and Wesley Matthews every had 5 factors every in that span to assist shut the hole.

The Bucks reduce the result in Three with a dunk by Antetokounmpo late within the third. However the Warmth wrapped up the quarter with a 5-2 spurt to take a 98-92 lead into the fourth.

“It’s not like we have been up 40. The way in which the NBA sport is now you must play constantly for 48 minutes,” Warmth coach Erik Spoelstra stated. “There’s going to be plenty of ebbs and flows forwards and backwards. You need to give them credit score. They stepped up their strain. We felt that extra within the second half.”

Rockets 113, Lakers 97

James Harden had 39 factors and 12 assists to steer the Houston Rockets over the Los Angeles Lakers, who have been enjoying with out LeBron James.

The Lakers, who clinched the highest seed within the Western Convention on Monday, didn’t have James due to a sore proper groin.

The Rockets have been additionally short-handed, lacking Russell Westbrook due to a bruised proper quadriceps. However the mixture of Harden’s massive sport and Houston’s long-range capturing have been sufficient to deal with the Lakers. The Rockets made 21 of 57 3’s whereas Los Angeles hit simply 2 of 19.

Kyle Kuzma led the Lakers with 21 factors and Anthony Davis added 17 factors with 12 rebounds.

Suns 114, Pacers 99

Deandre Ayton had 23 factors and 10 rebounds, and the Phoenix Suns continued their unbelievable run within the NBA bubble, beating the Indiana Pacers for his or her fourth straight win.

Devin Booker added 20 factors and 10 assists and Cameron Johnson had 14 factors and 12 rebounds because the Suns pulled away with a 21-Zero run that bridged the top of the the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth.

Malcolm Brogdon had 25 factors, six assists and 6 rebounds to steer the Pacers, who fell to 3-1 in Orlando.

Trailing 75-72 with 2:10 left within the third quarter, Dario Saric scored 9 of Phoenix’s 14 factors and Cameron Payne added the opposite 5 because the Suns completed the quarter on a 14-Zero tear. Saric additionally had 4 rebounds in the course of the stretch.

The Suns did most of their injury with Booker on the bench with 5 fouls.

Saric completed with 16 factors and eight rebounds, whereas Payne chipped in with 15 factors.

The win pulls the Suns out of the basement within the Western Convention among the many groups in Orlando, passing Zion Williamson and the Pelicans. New Orleans misplaced to the Kings 140-125 earlier within the day.

Kings 140, Pelicans 125

Bogdan Bogdanovic scored a career-high 35 factors to assist the Sacramento Kings beat the New Orleans Pelicans.

De’Aaron Fox had 30 factors and 10 assists and Harrison Barnes added 22 factors for the Kings, who bought their first win in 4 tries for the reason that restart. The Kings shot 54 p.c.

Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram every scored 24 factors for the Pelicans. Williamson made his first eight pictures and ended up making 10 of 12 total in slightly below 22 minutes.

JJ Redick scored 18 factors and Jrue Vacation added 17 for the Pelicans, who shot 57 p.c. New Orleans fell to 1-Three within the restart.

Each groups are chasing a spot within the Western Convention playoffs. The Kings pulled even with the Pelicans within the standings and now are 2½ video games behind eighth-place Memphis with 4 video games remaining. A workforce must be in ninth place and inside 4 video games of the eighth-place workforce to power a playoff.

Clippers 126, Mavericks 111

Kawhi Leonard scored 29 factors to assist the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Dallas Mavericks in a doable playoff preview.

Paul George scored 24 factors and Ivica Zubac added 21 factors on 10-for-10 capturing and 15 rebounds for the Clippers, who strengthened their maintain on the No. 2 spot within the Western Convention standings.

The Clippers entered the night time a simply half sport forward of Denver, however they shot 54 p.c towards the Mavericks to enhance to 2-2 within the restart.

Kristaps Porzingis scored 30 factors and Luka Doncic added 29 for Dallas, which fell to 1-Three within the restart. Dallas probably will end because the No. 7 seed, making a first-round matchup with the Clippers a robust risk.

Path Blazers 125, Nuggets 115

Damian Lillard tied his franchise report with 11 3-pointers and scored 45 factors, and the Portland Path Blazers moved nearer to the No. eight spot within the Western Convention by beating the Denver Nuggets.

Lillard was 11 for 18 from 3-point vary, plus had 12 assists for Portland. The Blazers (32-38) closed to inside a half-game of Memphis within the race for eighth within the West, the place a play-in sequence for the final playoff berth — and the best to face the Los Angeles Lakers within the opening spherical — now appears nearly sure.

Gary Trent Jr. had 27 off the bench and Jusuf Nurkic scored 22 for Portland.

Michael Porter Jr. scored 27 factors and grabbed 12 rebounds for Denver (45-24), which remained within the West’s No. Three spot. The Nuggets performed a lot of the fourth quarter with reserves on the ground, limiting Nikola Jokic to 24 minutes.

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