NBA

Antetokounmpo has third triple-double in four games as Bucks end Cavaliers' streak

By Sports Desk January 25, 2024

Giannis Antetokounmpo notched his third triple-double in four games and the Milwaukee Bucks ended the Cleveland Cavaliers’ eight-game winning streak Wednesday with a 126-116 victory in their first game since the firing of coach Adrian Griffin.

Antetokounmpo had 35 points, a season high-tying 18 rebounds and 10 assists for his seventh triple-double this season. He came up one assist shy of having four consecutive triple-doubles after he had 31 points, 10 boards and nine assists in Saturday’s win at Detroit.

Joe Prunty served as Milwaukee’s interim head coach after Griffin was fired on Tuesday despite the Bucks leading the Central Division with a 30-13 record. The team was finalising negotiations with Doc Rivers to take over.

Damian Lillard added 28 points and Khris Middleton had 24 for the Bucks, winners of six of seven.

Donovan Mitchell led Cleveland with 23 points and Jarrett Allen had 21 and 12 assists.

 

Booker scores 46 for streaking Suns

Devin Booker scored 22 of his 46 points in the third quarter and the Phoenix Suns won their seventh straight game, 132-109 over the Dallas Mavericks.

Bradley Beal had 20 points and Kevin Durant added 12 and 10 rebounds as Phoenix matched its longest win streak of the season by turning a 16-point deficit in the second quarter into a 22-point lead after outscoring Dallas 43-20 in the third.

Luka Dončić tallied 34 points, eight rebounds and nine assists but didn’t get much help with All-Star sidekick Kyrie Irving out with a right thumb sprain.

 

Gilgeous-Alexander keeps Thunder hot

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 32 points, 10 assists and six rebounds as the Oklahoma City Thunder pulled away for their fourth straight win, 140-114 over the San Antonio Spurs.

Aaron Wiggins scored 22 points and Chet Holmgren added 17 and nine rebounds as the Thunder remained tied with Minnesota atop the Northwest Division.

Victor Wembanyama had 24 points and 12 rebounds as the Spurs rookie faced off against Holmgren in a matchup of two of the top contenders for Rookie of the Year.

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  • Wembanyama to miss Spurs' season finale due to ankle injury Wembanyama to miss Spurs' season finale due to ankle injury

    The San Antonio Spurs will be without Victor Wembanyama for their final game of the season on Sunday.

    San Antonio face the Detroit Pistons in their last fixture of the 2023-24 campaign.

    The Spurs have a 21-60 record on the season, and sit 14th in the Western Conference.

    Wembanyama has nevertheless enjoyed a fine rookie season in the NBA, having been selected as the No.1 overall pick in last year's Draft.

    The seven-foot-four French youngster will sit out against the Pistons due to an ankle injury, meaning he ends his rookie campaign with 21.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists and an NBA-leading 3.6 blocks per game.

    Wembanyama has played 71 times for the Spurs, who he helped to overcome the Denver Nuggets on Friday, finishing with 34 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.

    After that game, the 20-year-old said: "As a growing team, a young team, it's big for us.

    "We're going to need these kind of wins in the future. We're going to need any win. But big-time wins against big teams, first seeds, we're going to need those in the future.

    "We've got the potential to be great. The fact that we have the chance to live this, with the fans, I can only hope it's as incredible as it can be."

    Wembanyama became the first rookie to accumulate 1,500 points, 250 assists and 250 blocks across the season, while he is only the fourth player in the history of the NBA to do so, after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson.

  • Hart highlights Madison Square Garden factor as Knicks battle Bucks for second seed Hart highlights Madison Square Garden factor as Knicks battle Bucks for second seed

    The New York Knicks are under no illusions as to the importance of securing home-court advantage for the Eastern Conference playoffs, with Friday's win over the Brooklyn Nets keeping them in the hunt for the second seed.

    The Knicks drew level with the Milwaukee Bucks at 49-32 with their 111-107 win at Madison Square Garden, boosting their chances of playing at the iconic venue through the postseason.

    Jalen Brunson put up 30 points and added 11 assists as the Knicks made it four straight victories, with Josh Hart adding 16 and Mitchell Robinson tacking on 15.

    The result saw New York secure a top-four seed, with the Bucks' subsequent 125-107 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder keeping their chances of finishing second in the East alive.

    With the Bucks possessing the head-to-head tiebreaker, the Knicks must beat the Chicago Bulls in their season finale on Sunday and hope Milwaukee lose on the road against the Orlando Magic. If both teams lose, the Cleveland Cavaliers could yet usurp them.

    Asked about the importance of playing at home, Hart said: "I heard the lights are really bright at MSG during that time, so it's really big for us."

    Coach Tom Thibodeau, though, said the team cannot control anything other than their own results, saying: "We want to go through the finish line so that's the way we're looking at it. We want to improve and play our best."

    With Giannis Antetokounmpo sidelined by a left calf injury and Damian Lillard missing out due to pain in his left adductor, the short-handed Bucks let the Knicks into the race with their loss at Paycom Center.

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 23 points and Chet Holmgren added 22 as the Thunder eased to victory, establishing a 17-point halftime lead which they never looked likely to surrender.

    Asked about Milwaukee's failure to wrap up second place, Bucks coach Doc Rivers said: "I don't have much of a reaction. We've got to run to the finish line.

    "The good news is, no matter what, we'll be at home for game one. That we do know."

    That result was also an important one in the race to top the Western Conference, with the Thunder now locked in a three-way tie with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets.

    It's in Oklahoma City's hands going into their season finale against the Dallas Mavericks, with Mark Daigneault's team edging the three-way tiebreaker.

    "I think the big exponential jumps come from small incremental steps," Daigneault said after Friday's game. "I talk all the time about stacking and we really are trying to live that out. 

    "We just try to have a good day in the day that's in front of us, have a good possession in the possession that's in front of us, a good game in the game that's in front of us and just be very present in the process of improving and competing."

  • 'Every seed matters' for LeBron James as Lakers outlast Grizzlies 'Every seed matters' for LeBron James as Lakers outlast Grizzlies

    LeBron James said "every seed matters" for the Los Angeles Lakers after he combined with Anthony Davis to power them past the Memphis Grizzlies and go eighth in the Western Conference.

    The Lakers entered Friday's game – their penultimate outing of the regular season – on a two-game losing streak and jockeying for position with the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors. 

    However, James put up 37 points, nine rebounds and five assists, while Davis added 35 points as the injury-hit Grizzlies failed to hold on after going 118-117 up with one minute and six seconds left.

    James sank six points in the final minute to lift Los Angeles one game clear of Sacramento and Golden State, both of whom suffered defeats later on Friday.

    "Every game matters. Every seed matters. Wherever you fall, you can't play in the past," James said.

    "I can't say I would much rather be where we are today than be the number one seed. That would be a lie. Seeds matter, and wherever you fall, you take that challenge."

    The Lakers emerged from the Play-In Tournament to reach the Western Conference Finals last year before being dispatched by the eventual NBA champions, the Denver Nuggets.

    With coach Darvin Ham plotting a route through the postseason, he left James out on the court for 41 minutes on Friday, while Davis played 43 minutes on his return from a left eye injury which kept him out of Tuesday's loss to the Warriors. 

    Asked about the risks of keeping the duo out there, Ham said: "In the moment, you're not worried about that. You're worried about securing the victory you came to get. 

    "Everyone knows what time it is. It's that time of the year. Everyone knows what's at stake. 

    "Whatever we need, and however long we need to push guys, we've got to have it, and they understand that."

    Memphis are guaranteed to end a frustrating campaign 13th in the West, and Scotty Pippen Jr. said they were simply playing for future opportunities after scoring a career-high 28 points.

    "The emphasis going into the game was to play hard," Pippen said. "We knew they were playing for something, and they probably thought we were playing for nothing. 

    "But a lot of guys here are playing for opportunities. That's our motivation."

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