NBA

Giannis dominates with 40 in Bucks win over Pacers, 76ers miss top spot chance again

By Sports Desk May 14, 2021

Giannis Antetokounmpo produced a remarkable individual performance to keep the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference top two hunt with a 142-133 win over the Indiana Pacers on Thursday.

Antetokounmpo scored 40 points, with 15 rebounds and six assists as the Bucks closed in on the second-placed Brooklyn Nets (46-24), improving their record to 45-25.

Milwaukee shot at 57 per cent on the night, boosted by the Greek forward who shot 14-from-18 from the field, going at 77.8 per cent.

Antetokounmpo's display was the first since Charles Barkley in 1988 where a player had at least 40 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and shot at higher than 75 per cent.

At the top of the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia 76ers missed the chance to claim first seeding again, going down 106-94 to the surging Miami Heat.

The 76ers trailed by 19 at the half with Joel Embiid returning from illness, while Jimmy Butler had 16 points by the main break.

Butler finished with 21 points including four-from-four beyond the arc as the Heat claimed their sixth win from their past seven.

 

Blazers blow buzzer beater, Knicks still in top four hunt

The Portland Trail Blazers left the door open for the Los Angeles Lakers to usurp them in the playoffs race after going down on the buzzer 118-117 to the Phoenix Suns.

C.J. McCollum, who had 27 points, had a shot to win the game on the buzzer but missed, meaning the Blazers move to 41-30, marginally ahead of the Lakers on 40-30 and seventh in the West. Damian Lillard had 41 points for Portland.

The New York Knicks kept up their push for a top four spot in the East with a 102-98 win over the San Antonio Spurs, who qualify for the play-in tournament after the Sacramento Kings lost.

Julius Randle had 25 points with nine rebounds and nine assists for the Knicks, while R.J. Barrett scored 19 of his 24 points in the second half.

MVP favourite Nikola Jokic faced off against Rookie of the Year candidate Anthony Edwards as the Denver Nuggets won 114-103 over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Jokic dominated with 31 points and 14 rebounds, while Edwards had 29 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

The Atlanta Hawks made it 10 consecutive home wins with a 116-93 victory over the Orlando Magic led by Clint Capela with 14 points and 14 rebounds.

 

Kings' long wait extends

The Sacramento Kings' 116-110 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies means they are mathematically out of post-season calculations, which also means they long wait for playoffs basketball extends. The Kings have not made the playoffs since 2006.

 

Clippers on-song beyond the arc

The Los Angeles Clippers scored an outstanding 21 three-pointers as a team in their 113-90 win over the Charlotte Hornets. They went at 46.7 per cent from range with Reggie Jackson draining five after coming off the bench.

 

Thursday's results

Los Angeles Clippers 113-90 Charlotte Hornets
Milwaukee Bucks 142-133 Indiana Pacers
Miami Heat 106-94 Philadelphia 76ers
New York Knicks 102-98 San Antonio Spurs
Atlanta Hawks 116-93 Orlando Magic
Chicago Bulls 114-102 Toronto Raptors
Denver Nuggets 114-103 Minnesota Timberwolves
Memphis Grizzlies 116-110 Sacramento Kings
Phoenix Suns 118-117 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Magic at 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers, after back-to-back losses, will look to seal top seeding in the Eastern Conference when they host the lowly Orlando Magic.

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    The reigning NBA champions got back on track Saturday, as Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Milwaukee Bucks to a 121-111 defeat of the San Antonio Spurs. 

    Two days after a 42-point blowout loss to the Miami Heat, the Bucks looked more like their usual selves in San Antonio, though the Spurs kept the game tight and pulled within four points with 4:24 to play. 

    Middleton had 28 points to lead the Bucks, while Antetokounmpo added 21 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. 

    Middleton, who is beginning his ninth season with the Bucks, passed Ray Allen to move into 10th on Milwaukee's all-time scoring list with 9,704 points for the team.

    Doug McDermott scored 25 to lead Milwaukee, making seven of 11 from three-point range. 

     

    Grizzlies hand Clippers another loss

    Despite 41 points from Paul George, the Los Angeles Clippers lost their second straight game to open the season, falling 120-114 to the Memphis Grizzlies. While George poured in the points, a balanced Memphis attack led by Ja Morant's 28 points and eight assists secured another win for the visitors. 

    In Portland, CJ McCollum scored 28 points and Damian Lillard had 19 as the Trail Blazers rolled past the Phoenix Suns 134-105. Devin Booker had 21 points, the only Phoenix player to score more than 14. 

    Luka Doncic had a game-high 27 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds as the Dallas Mavericks rallied from a six-point half-time deficit to defeat the Raptors 103-95 in Toronto for their first victory under new head coach Jason Kidd. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 25 points and Kristaps Porzingis had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Mavericks, while OG Anunoby led Toronto with 23. 

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    The Lakers, aiming to regain the title they won in the NBA bubble in 2020, fell to 0-2 as they were beaten 115-105 by last season's Western Conference champions.

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    "We just had a disagreement about something that was happening on the floor," said Howard. 

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    "But we already talked. We squashed it. There's no issues between me and him. And that's my brother. That's my team-mate."

    "It's over with," Davis added. "After the situation happened, me and DH talked about it ... and we left it in the locker room at half-time."

    Meanwhile, LeBron James made it clear there is no panic among the Lakers after following up their opening-night loss to the Golden State Warriors with another disappointing display.

    "There's a process along with building something to become the team you want to become, and I know it firsthand," James said.

    "It doesn't happen overnight, as much as you want it. It just takes time, and we'll know when that time is. Right now, we've got to continue to just push."

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    Steve Nash said "it's not going to be pretty for a little while" after the Brooklyn Nets rallied past the Philadelphia 76ers 114-109 for their first win of the season.

    The Nets had never led or tied the 76ers until LaMarcus Aldridge's dunk levelled Friday's NBA clash at 108-108 with 48 seconds remaining in Philadelphia.

    Brooklyn, who were blown out by reigning champions the Milwaukee Bucks in their season opener, relied on superstars Kevin Durant and James Harden to eventually see off Eastern Conference rivals the 76ers.

    Durant had a triple-double of 29 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists, while Harden finished with 20 points for the Nets, who closed out the contest on a 16-1 run.

    "It's not going to be pretty for a little while here," said Nets head coach Nash in the continued absence of Kyrie Irving (unvaccinated).

    "We just got to continue to fight, play for each other and figure out ways to compete and stay engaged while we figure out rotations and combinations and what we are all about."

     

    On Durant and Harden, Nash added: "I think they are excited for their new team-mates. But it takes time to find that rhythm and combinations. And also we lost a big piece [Irving].

    "It is not just the new pieces, it's the void that we are used to playing with. It is, it is a lot for us to take on at this moment in time. But hopefully in the weeks coming, we start to clear some of the debris so to speak and figure out how we can best play together."

    Nets recruit Patty Mills (three-of-three shooting from beyond the arc) became the first player in NBA history to open a season 10-10 from three.

    Durant recorded his 13th career triple-double and the former MVP said of playing without Irving: "We wasn't planning on having to do this, but you know, it's good for us to make adjustments.

    "It's good for guys who wasn't expecting to play bigger roles to step into those roles and see who we are. This is the situation we were in, and I think a lot of guys have taken advantage of it.

    "For James and myself, it feels like each game may be different and we may have to do different things than we thought coming into the season. But it's all good. It's always gonna help us get better."

    Harden added: "We're the best at what we do, we'll figure it out. Me personally, I've been through a lot where I had different team-mates, different line-ups and playing small ball, so I'm used to trying to figure it out and just go with the flow and making it work. We have a really good team and we'll figure it out.

    "Kevin is the same way and one of the best to ever touch a basketball. So we just got to go out there and do what we do and things will work out."

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