Former MVP James Harden and Atlanta Hawks franchise player Trae Young were among those to miss out on All-Star selection after the Eastern Conference reserves were announced on Thursday.

The starters had already been named a week ago, with Brooklyn Nets tandem Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant being joined by Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell and Boston Celtics MVP candidate Jayson Tatum on the East team, captained by Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.

After being a surprise omission from the starters, Philadelphia 76ers back-to-back MVP runner-up Joel Embiid headlined the reserves, where he will be joined by Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo, Celtics wing Jaylen Brown, New York Knicks big-man Julius Randle, Chicago Bulls wing DeMar DeRozan, Bucks point guard Jrue Holiday and Indiana Pacers rising star Tyrese Haliburton.

It is the sixth consecutive All-Star selection for Embiid, the sixth overall for DeRozan, while it will be the second time for Adebayo, Brown, Randle and Holiday – with Holiday having to wait 10 years between drinks after his first selection in 2013.

Haliburton was the only first-time All-Star in the East, and he had to beat out some serious names to earn the honour.

The Pacers point guard is averaging career-highs in points (20.2) and assists (10.2) after being traded from the Sacramento Kings at last season's trade deadline, while his 1.8 steals per game has him sitting fourth in the league.

His 10.2 assists per game trails only Harden (11.0), while Harden is also averaging more points (21.4), rebounds (6.4 to 4.0) and owns a superior record. Harden – who had made 10 consecutive All-Star Games prior to this season – is 23-11 in his 34 contests entering Thursday, while Haliburton's Pacers are 22-18 in his 40 appearances.

The 76ers are the only of the East's top-four teams to not send two players to All-Star Weekend.

Meanwhile, Young's Hawks also sit two places above the Pacers in the standings with a 26-26 record. With 27.0 points and 9.9 assists per game, Young joins Harden and back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic as the only players in the league averaging at least 21 points and nine assists.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was determined to reach 50 points as he piled on 12 in the last four minutes of the Milwaukee Bucks' 135-110 home win against the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday.

It was the sixth 50-point performance of Antetokounmpo's career, and after coming into the season with four, he has managed two this month following his career-high 55 against the Washington Wizards on January 3.

He shot a blistering 20-of-26 from the field – including 16 of Milwaukee's first 21 points – adding 13 rebounds and four assists, and while he could have settled for a strong effort and a comfortable win, he decided to make it a memorable night down the stretch.

Sitting on 38 points with 3:51 remaining, Antetokounmpo hit four free throws and a layup to reach 44, before closing the game with back-to-back three-pointers to bring up his 50.

Speaking after the victory, the two-time MVP and 2021 NBA Finals MVP said these are opportunities you do not want to waste.

"I knew that if I was able to get the rebound, I was going to shoot," he said. "It doesn't always work out, but tonight it did. 

"I didn't hesitate at all. I was able to get my legs under my shot, stayed there, and just watched the ball go in.

"It's one of those moments you can never take for granted because you never know when you're going to have those moments again."

Antetokounmpo's team-mates decided to bring the locker-room celebration out to the court, showering their franchise player with bottles of water in front of the sold-out Fiserv Forum.

"We might as well do it in front of everybody," Bucks guard Jrue Holiday said. "It's really just to show how much we appreciate him. For him to go out there and do that is amazing, no matter how many times you score 50 points.

"It's a great time – everybody just kind of gets on his shoulders and we're just along for the ride. At that point, we just got to support him. If he passes it to us, make the shot, but for the most part, we know who's going to carry us."

Head coach Mike Budenholzer joined Holiday in awe of his star player, highlighting all the hard work he puts in.

"Tonight, I think 50 on 26 shots is impressive," he said. "Just everything he did, his aggressiveness, a couple threes, especially late, but he's shooting it well. 

"It feels like a few more catch and shoots – if we can generate a few of those for him and build the confidence in that area, those are areas where he's improving."

The Bucks improved their record to 33-17, leaving them third in the Eastern Conference and with the fourth-best record overall, while the Pelicans slipped to 26-25 after their eighth consecutive loss as they battle a number of key injuries.

The Splash Brothers found their range as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 64 points including 10 three-pointers in the Golden State Warriors' 129-117 win over the Toronto Raptors on Friday.

Curry top scored with 35 points on 13-of-21 shooting from the field, making four-of-eight from beyond the arc, with seven rebounds, 11 assists and two steals at Chase Center.

Thompson finished with 29 points but nailed six-of-14 three-point attempts, along with eight rebounds.

Donte DiVincenzo made another strong impression off the bench, playing 33 minutes for 12 points with two-of-five three-pointers and 11 assists.

As a team, Golden State shot at 55.6 per cent from the field (50-of-90), while they had 40 assists compared to Toronto's 24.

The win improves the Warriors' home record to 19-6, while they nudge over .500 with a 25-24 overall record to move up seventh in the Western Conference.

Raptors guard Fred VanVleet scored a team-high 28 points on five-of-10 three-point shooting with 10 assists, while Scottie Barnes chipped in with 24 points.

Giannis dominates as Middleton comeback continues

Giannis Antetokounmpo held off another Indiana Pacers' late charge as the Milwaukee Bucks won 141-131 fuelled by the Greek's 41 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.

Antetokounmpo made five-of-eight free-throws in the final four minutes as the Bucks held on. Jrue Holiday contributed 20 points with nine rebounds and nine assists.

Khris Middleton continued his gradual return to full fitness, scoring 17 points in 15 minutes off the bench, while Myles Turner top scored for Indiana with 24 points.

SGA racks them up again for OKC

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander recorded his fourth straight 30-point game as the Oklahoma City Thunder down the Cleveland Cavaliers 112-100 after scores were locked at three-quarter time.

Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 35 points, with eight assists and five rebounds for OKC, who won for the sixth time in eight games to improve to 24-25.

The Cavs were without Donovan Mitchell due to a groin injury, with Darius Garland starring for them with 31 points and 13 assists.

Meanwhile, Ja Morant recorded his fourth triple-double of the season with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in the Memphis Grizzlies' 111-100 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Evan Mobley scored a career-high 38 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers secured a big win in the Eastern Conference, downing the Milwaukee Bucks 114-102.

The 2021 NBA Draft third overall pick shot 19-of-27 from the field with nine rebounds and three assists for the Cavs, who improved to a 29-19 record to sit fifth in the east, with the Bucks third at 29-17.

Cavs point guard Darius Garland added 21 points, including 10 in the third, with 10 assists.

The Bucks were without Giannis Antetokounmpo who missed his fifth straight game due to knee soreness. Milwaukee are 6-5 on the season when playing without the MVP contender.

Jrue Holiday led the way for Milwaukee with 28 points, four rebounds and 10 assists, while Bobby Portis added 23 points including five three-pointers with 11 rebounds.

In Antetokounmpo's absence, Milwaukee turned to three-point shooting with regularity, but shot 14-of-39 from beyond the arc.

On Antetokounmpo's continued absence, Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said: "There's still just things he's working on, I think body-wise, to get to that point where; there's a big difference between practicing and playing a game.

"I know I've said it pretty much every day – we continue to be confident and feel like this is kind of the things we've managed and dealt with for most of his career. So we'll just continue to take it day-by-day. He's getting good work in, good lifts."

Celtics win but pick up injuries

The Boston Celtics won 106-104 over the Toronto Raptors but lost guard Marcus Smart and center Robert Williams to ankle and knee injuries respectively.

Jaylen Brown top scored with 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists for Boston, for whom Jayson Tatum sat out the game with a sore left wrist.

Grant Williams and Malcolm Brogdon played increased minutes, scoring 25 and 23 points respectively off the bench, while Pascal Siakam had 29 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors.

Edwards stars as Rockets sink to new low

Former NBA Draft top overall pick Anthony Edwards scored a season-high 44 points to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves past the struggling Houston Rockets 113-104.

Edwards shot 17-of-29 from the field with eight three-pointers for the Wolves, who improved to a 24-24 record. Edwards also had six rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks, while D'Angelo Russell contributed 23 points.

The defeat condemned the Rockets to their 13th straight loss, which is the longest streak this season. Houston gave up 23 turnovers that led to 30 Wolves points.

Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic took another step towards a third consecutive MVP after dominating the Portland Trail Blazers in a 122-113 victory on Tuesday.

Jokic was unstoppable offensively, finishing with 36 points on 13-of-14 shooting while adding 12 rebounds and 10 assists. 

In doing so, he became the first player in NBA history to record multiple 35-point triple-doubles while shooting at least 90 per cent from the field. Hall-of-Famer Wilt Chamberlain is the only other player with even one such game.

Jokic was supported well by Michael Porter Jr, who scored 23 points on nine-of-13 shooting, while Jamal Murray chipped in 17 points (six-of-15), seven assists, five rebounds and two steals.

For the Blazers, it was another spectacular showing from the franchise's all-time scoring leader as Damian Lillard had a game-high 44 points on 12-of-20 shooting with eight assists.

It continued a blistering run of form for Lillard, who is averaging a league-leading 39 points per game across his past six outings, although Portland have only been able to convert his stellar play into two wins from six.

With the victory, the Nuggets are now alone atop the Western Conference with a record of 31-13, which the Memphis Grizzlies can tie if they can secure their 11th consecutive win when they face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.

Holiday delivers for the Giannis-less Bucks

Jrue Holiday has set a new season-high points total in back-to-back games after putting up 37 in the Milwaukee Bucks' 130-122 triumph at home against the Toronto Raptors.

Holiday scored a season-high 35 on Monday against the Indiana Pacers in the first leg of the Bucks' back-to-back, and he followed it up with 37 against the Raptors.

He shot 16-of-26 from the field while adding seven assists, six rebounds, two steals and a block, and Fred VanVleet was just as good for Toronto.

VanVleet tied his season-high by scoring 39 points on 15-of-28 shooting, with nine rebounds and seven assists.

The Bucks are now 29-16 and occupy the second seed in the Eastern Conference.

Embiid bullies the Clippers

Joel Embiid was too big and too strong on his way to a game-high 41 points in the Philadelphia 76ers' 120-110 road win against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Embiid shot 12-of-22 from the field and 15-of-18 from the free throw line while adding nine rebounds, three assists and two blocks in a comprehensive performance.

Tobias Harris was sharp in a supporting role, snatching five steals in the first half while scoring 20 points on efficient eight-of-12 shooting.

For the Clippers, Kawhi Leonard made it five consecutive games with at least 24 points and a steal as he begins to recapture his All-NBA form following a string of injuries.

Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded 42 points while Zion Williamson was largely subdued by an excellent performance from Jrue Holiday as the Milwaukee Bucks beat the New Orleans Pelicans.

Antetokounmpo made 12 of 17 field goal attempts, while also sinking 17 out of a hefty 22 shots from the free-throw line.

Williamson was restricted to 18 points in his team's 128-119 defeat at Smoothie King Center, with former Pelican Holiday shining back in New Orleans.

"I'm guessing I've done it quite a bit here," Holiday said, after also scoring 18 points with 11 assists. "So, just coming off that screen and letting it fly.

"We know [Williamson] is such a big part of their offense that if he's not scoring, we had a good chance. I feel like we kind of frustrated him."

Along with Antetokounmpo, three other players scored 30+ points, with Brook Lopez helping out his fellow Buck, while Jonas Valanciunas (37) and CJ McCollum (31) stepped up while Williamson struggled for the Pels.

Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer reserved praise for Holiday and the job he did on Williamson.

"Jrue, in a kind of subtle, understated way is very, very strong and I think he loved the challenge, beating him to a spot, having the strength to kind of take a hit, pressuring him a little bit," he said.

"There's probably only a handful of guards, if even that many, like Jrue that could maybe pick him up higher, pick him up earlier, do some different things to him."

The Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics had a statement win over the Western Conference-leading Phoenix Suns with a 125-98 blowout victory on Wednesday.

The Celtics led by as much as 45 points and benched MVP candidate Jayson Tatum in the fourth quarter, in a game where the Suns welcomed back All-Star Chris Paul from a heel injury.

Tatum finished with 25 points with five rebounds, two assists and two steals. The 24-year-old is the first player in Celtics history to average 30 points per game in his first 25 games of any season.

Jaylen Brown also scored 25 points with seven rebounds, while Malcolm Brogdon added 16 points off the bench.

Boston led 69-42 at half-time in the blowout win, which was the Celtics' second-biggest margin this season.

Devin Booker struggled with four fouls and three field-goals made in the first half, finishing with 17 points, five rebounds and three assists. Paul had four points and four assists in 24 minutes on his return.

The result means the Celtics improved to an NBA-best 21-5 record after three straight wins, while the Suns fall to 16-9.

Giannis powers Bucks to another win

Giannis Antetokounmpo matched Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the second-longest streak of consecutive 30-point games (eight) in franchise history as the Milwaukee Bucks downed the Sacramento Kings 126-113.

The Greek forward finished with 35 points on 12-of-19 field-goal shooting, with six rebounds and six assists as the Bucks improved to 18-6 with their third straight win. The victory extended the Bucks' win streak against the Kings to 13.

Bucks guard Jrue Holiday made an excellent contribution with 31 points, five rebounds and six assists, while Kings forward Domantas Sabonis added 23 points with 12 rebounds.

Banchero clutch in Magic OT win

Top overall NBA Draft pick Pablo Banchero showcased his potential to help the Orlando Magic snap their nine-game losing streak with a 116-111 overtime win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

The 20-year-old power forward scored 23 points for the game, including making all six of his free-throws in the final seven seconds of overtime to overturn a 111-110 deficit. The Clippers gave up two turnovers down the stretch.

Paul George and Kawhi Leonard made another rare appearance together again, combining for 17 first-quarter points. George finished with 11 for the game with seven rebounds and five assists, while Leonard added 14 points with seven rebounds and three assists.

The Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics had a statement win over the Western Conference-leading Phoenix Suns with a 125-98 blowout victory on Wednesday.

The Celtics led by as much as 45 points and benched MVP candidate Jayson Tatum in the fourth quarter, in a game where the Suns welcomed back All-Star Chris Paul from a heel injury.

Tatum finished with 25 points with five rebounds, two assists and two steals. The 24-year-old is the first player in Celtics history to average 30 points per game in his first 25 games of any season.

Jaylen Brown also scored 25 points with seven rebounds, while Malcolm Brogdon added 16 points off the bench.

Boston led 69-42 at half-time in the blowout win, which was the Celtics' second-biggest margin this season.

Devin Booker struggled with four fouls and three field-goals made in the first half, finishing with 17 points, five rebounds and three assists. Paul had four points and four assists in 24 minutes on his return.

The result means the Celtics improved to an NBA-best 21-5 record after three straight wins, while the Suns fall to 16-9.

Giannis powers Bucks to another win

Giannis Antetokounmpo matched Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the second-longest streak of consecutive 30-point games (eight) in franchise history as the Milwaukee Bucks downed the Sacramento Kings 126-113.

The Greek forward finished with 35 points on 12-of-19 field-goal shooting, with six rebounds and six assists as the Bucks improved to 18-6 with their third straight win. The victory extended the Bucks' win streak against the Kings to 13.

Bucks guard Jrue Holiday made an excellent contribution with 31 points, five rebounds and six assists, while Kings forward Domantas Sabonis added 23 points with 12 rebounds.

Banchero clutch in Magic OT win

Top overall NBA Draft pick Pablo Banchero showcased his potential to help the Orlando Magic snap their nine-game losing streak with a 116-111 overtime win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

The 20-year-old power forward scored 23 points for the game, including making all six of his free-throws in the final seven seconds of overtime to overturn a 111-110 deficit. The Clippers gave up two turnovers down the stretch.

Paul George and Kawhi Leonard made another rare appearance together again, combining for 17 first-quarter points. George finished with 11 for the game with seven rebounds and five assists, while Leonard added 14 points with seven rebounds and three assists.

The Milwaukee Bucks overcame the absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo to reach a franchise-record ninth straight win to open the season with a 108-94 triumph over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.

Antetokounmpo was absent due to left knee soreness, but Brook Lopez delivered with 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting including four three-pointers for the Bucks who are 9-0.

Jrue Holiday provided 13 assists with 10 points, while forward Bobby Portis pulled down 21 rebounds with 12 points.

Guards Jevon Carter and Grayson Allen scored five three-pointers each, contributing 18 and 19 points respectively for Milwaukee.

The Bucks shot 17-of-47 (36.2 per cent) from three-point range, while Portis' dominance in the paint helped them to 55-38 rebounds. Four of Portis' 21 rebounds were offensive.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander top scored for OKC with 18 points, while second-year guard Josh Giddey had 15 points with six rebounds.

Nets rally for back-to-back wins

Amid their off-court tumult, Kevin Durant led the Brooklyn Nets to back-to-back wins with a 98-94 victory over the Charlotte Hornets rallying back after trailing by 11 points in the fourth quarter.

Durant scored a game-high 27 points, including a clutch jump shot to open up a four-point lead with 32 seconds remaining, along with seven rebounds. The win improved the Nets to 3-6.

Cam Thomas stepped up off the bench with 21 points for the Nets who were without Kyrie Irving (suspension) and Ben Simmons (knee soreness).

Celtics hit franchise-record, Suns move to 7-2

The Boston Celtics scored a franchise-record 27 three-pointers with six each from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown as they got past the New York Knicks 133-118.

Tatum scored 26 points while Brown had a game-high 30 points, while Sam Hauser came off the bench to add five triples in his 17-point haul, with all nine of the Celtics used making a three-pointer.

Meanwhile, the Phoenix Suns improved to 7-2 with a comfortable 102-82 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, with Devin Booker scoring 24 points.

Jayson Tatum's 36 points ended up being just enough for the Boston Celtics to overcome the Chicago Bulls 123-119 on Friday.

In front of Boston's home fans, the Celtics used a 37-26 second quarter to fight back from a sluggish start and take a 63-57 lead into the halftime break.

Chicago's DeMar DeRozan would try to will his side back into the contest in the third period, putting up 16 points in the quarter to trim the lead to 88-85 and set up a thrilling final term.

DeRozan added another 11 points in the fourth, going on to finish with a game-high 46 as he lived at the free throw line. He hit 13 of his 23 field goal attempts, and added another 20 points from his 22 free throw attempts.

Tatum put together his big game in a similar fashion, although he was less efficient from the field. He finished eight-of-23, but hit 17-of-20 from the free throw line, and had 11 points of his own in the final quarter to repel the Bulls' late charge.

Tatum's running-mate Jaylen Brown had a quieter game, scoring 16 points on six-of-14 shooting, but Malcolm Brogdon rose to the occasion off the Celtics' bench. 

Brogdon was clearly Boston's second-best player, shooting a hyper-efficient nine-of-10 from the field to put up 25 points and four assists in 29 minutes.

Luka magic leads to eighth straight 30-point performance

Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks is now one of two players to ever score at least 30 points in the first eight games of an NBA season, putting up 35 in a 111-110 win against the Toronto Raptors.

Doncic joins the great Wilt Chamberlain in that honour, with the 'Big Dipper' accomplishing it on two occasions. Chamberlain started the 1959-60 season with eight consecutive 30-point games, before hitting that benchmark in the first 23 games of the 1962-63 season for a record that will likely never be broken.

The 23-year-old Slovenian was 10-of-15 from the field for his 35 points, and he added eight rebounds, six assists, three steals and a block.

O.G. Anunoby was the shining light for the Raptors, putting up 27 points (11-of-21 shooting) with seven rebounds and five steals.

Mathurin shows star potential for the Pacers

Indiana Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin flashed some intriguing upside as he scored 23 points off the bench in a 101-99 upset win against the Miami Heat.

Mathurin, the sixth overall pick from this year's NBA Draft, has now scored at least 23 points in four of his nine NBA games, and has only scored fewer than 15 points on one occasion.

The six-foot-six scoring wing was five-of-11 from the field, three-for-seven from long range and 10-of-12 from the free throw line in a well-rounded performance, finishing with a plus/minus of plus four in his 37 minutes.

Bucks win again, remain undefeated

The Milwaukee Bucks, who are still missing All-Star Khris Middleton, continue to look like the best team in the league after moving to 8-0 with a convincing 115-102 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

In a game where two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was not scoring the ball efficiently, finishing with 26 points on seven-of-17 shooting and a poor 10-of-20 from the free throw line, Jrue Holiday picked up the slack.

To Antetokounmpo's credit, he also added 13 rebounds and 11 assists for a strong triple-double, but Holiday was the star of the show, shooting 50 per cent from the field (12-of-24) for his 29 points, while grabbing eight rebounds, dishing six assists and snatching two steals to round out a terrific performance.

It is the first time in the Bucks' franchise history they have started a season 8-0.

Big performances from Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez carried the Milwaukee Bucks to a 110-108 victory against the Detroit Pistons on Monday.

With their win, the Bucks are now 6-0, and the NBA's last remaining unbeaten team.

Two-time MVP Antetokounmpo led the way with a game-high 31 points on 12-of-23 shooting, and he delivered in an important stretch of the game.

After the Bucks came out of halftime with a 60-52 lead, the Pistons got on a quick run, cutting the margin to one at 62-61, before Antetokounmpo scored his team's first 10 points of the third quarter to steady the ship.

He was supported well by Holiday, who scored 25 points with an efficient long-range shooting performance, finishing seven-of-15 from the field while hitting five of his 11 three-point attempts. He also added 10 assists and seven rebounds

Meanwhile, Lopez was a force in the middle of the paint, scoring 26 points (10-of-16) with nine rebounds and two blocks.

For the Pistons, Cade Cunningham was excellent with 27 points (11-of-23), seven assists and six rebounds, while the fifth overall pick from this year's NBA Draft, Jaden Ivey, had seven of his 19 points in the fourth quarter to make it a game down the stretch.

Harden narrowly misses career-high 

James Harden was one assist shy of his career-high as he dished out 17 in the Philadelphia 76ers' 118-111 win over the Washington Wizards.

His 17 assists matched his regular-season high, becoming the 10th time he has reached that figure, while he had 18 assists in a playoff game for the Brooklyn Nets against the Boston Celtics in the first round of 2021.

Against the Wizards, Harden also added 23 points (eight-of-17 shooting) and seven rebounds, with Tyrese Maxey finishing as their top-scorer with 28 on 12-of-22 shooting.

Washington's Kristaps Porzingis was the game's highest scorer with 32 points (10-of-17), nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Durant and the Nets get back in the win column

The Brooklyn Nets snapped a four-game losing streak when they defeated the Indiana Pacers 116-109.

Superstar duo Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving led the way as Ben Simmons missed the game with swelling in his knee.

Durant finished with a game-high 36 points on 13-of-22 shooting, while adding nine rebounds and seven assists. Irving was not far behind, posting 28 points (nine-of-19) with six rebounds, six assists and four steals.

Second-year wing Chris Duarte was impressive for the Pacers, scoring 30 points on 10-of-15 shooting, hitting five-of-10 from long range.

The NBA All-Defensive teams were released on Friday, headlined by Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) Marcus Smart and reigning NBA Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in the First Team.

Joining that pair on the First Team is Phoenix Suns wing and DPOY runner-up Mikal Bridges, the Utah Jazz's three-time DPOY-winning center Rudy Gobert, and the Memphis Grizzlies' league-leading shot-blocker Jaren Jackson Jr.

It is Gobert's sixth consecutive First Team appearance, and Antetokounmpo's fourth consecutive, while also having one Second Team selection in 2017.

Marcus Smart now has three First Team selections after making it in 2019 and 2020, and it was the first of what will likely be numerous defensive honours for both Bridges, aged 25, and Jackson, 22.

The Second Team is made up of Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo, Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, Boston Celtics big-man Robert Williams III, Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday and Philadelphia 76ers defensive specialist Matisse Thybulle.

It is Green's seventh All-Defensive honour since 2015, with four First Teams (2015, 2016, 2017 and 2021) and now three Second Teams (2018, 2019 and now 2022). 

For Holiday, it is his fourth All-Defensive selection overall, with First Teams in 2018 and 2021, and another Second Team in 2019.

Adebayo has now made the Second Team for three consecutive years, and is yet to break into the First Team, while Thybulle made his second straight Second Team, and it was Williams' first award after being drafted in 2018, 23 selections after Memphis' Jackson.

Giannis Antetokounmpo showed why many feel he is the best player in the world in the Milwaukee Bucks' 110-107 comeback win away against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.

The two-time MVP and reigning NBA Finals MVP was a dominant force in Boston, finishing with 40 points on 16-of-27 shooting, keeping his side in touch as they struggled in the first half, and making clutch plays down the stretch to help the Bucks win the fourth quarter 33-21.

It was a bright start in the first quarter for Milwaukee, with Antetokounmpo only scoring four points as role players hit shots and Jrue Holiday had nine early, but their star had to take over in the second quarter as the offense stalled.

Antetokounmpo had 15 of the Bucks' 19 second-quarter points as the Celtics threatened to pull away, leading 54-42 with two minutes remaining in the first half.

Both teams were clicking in the third quarter, but every time the Bucks closed the gap, the Celtics had an answer in front of their raucous home fans, with an Antetokounmpo pull-up three to end the quarter needed to trim the margin to an 86-77 Boston lead.

With 10 minutes to play, the Celtics led 93-79 – and then everything began to fall apart.

The once-fluid Boston offense devolved into a stagnant, turn-taking, isolation-heavy mess, consistently not even beginning to attack until there was less than 10 seconds on the shot clock, often resulting in tough, contested, long two-point jump shots by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Trailing 105-99 with two minutes remaining, Antetokounmpo drained a clutch three-pointer to make it a one-possession game, before Holiday tied it up via a long-ball with 42 seconds on the clock.

Two Tatum free throws put the Celtics back ahead, before Antetokounmpo earned two shots himself. 

He scored the first – with blood dripping down his face from a cut above his right eye – and missed the second, but Bobby Portis was able to come up with the offensive rebound in a scramble and put it back in to take a 108-107 lead with 11 seconds remaining.

The last 11 seconds was a chance for Holiday to make a statement. Widely considered the best defensive guard in the game, Holiday blocked the shot of Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart, snatching the ball out of the air in the process to win possession.

After two successful free throws from Pat Connaughton, Holiday put the finishing touches on the game by picking Smart's pocket once again as he tried to bring the ball up for one last attempt at tying it, taking a 3-2 series lead, with Game 6 headed back to Milwaukee.

In NBA playoff history, when a series has been tied at 2-2, the winner of Game 5 has won the series 82.2 per cent of the time (180-39).

If the Celtics can win Game 6, the Game 7 decider will head back to Boston.

 

No Ja, no worries for Memphis Grizzlies at home

With their season on the line, the Memphis Grizzlies dominated the Golden State Warriors 134-95 as nine players scored at least nine points each with star Ja Morant out injured.

The Grizzlies were expected to be competitive without Morant – going 20-5 in the 25 games he missed in the regular season – but they were far more than that, opening up a 119-67 lead at three-quarter time.

Illustrating the one-sided nature of the contest, the Warriors committed 22 turnovers compared to 10 for the Grizzlies, and grabbed just four offensive rebounds while the home side snatched down 18.

Overall, this meant the Grizzlies attempted 19 more field goals (47-of-99 compared to 36-of-80), as well as 17 more free throws (22-of-30 to nine-of-13).

Desmond Bane, Tyus Jones and Jaren Jackson Jr top-scored for Memphis with 21 points each, and all five Grizzlies starters finished with a plus/minus of at least plus 32.

Klay Thompson top-scored for the Warriors with 19 points on an efficient seven-of-12 shooting, but he had the worst plus/minus in the game at minus 45.

Game 6 will head back to Memphis, and if the Grizzlies can force a Game 7, it will be played in Golden State

Giannis Antetokounmpo never thought twice about putting up his clutch three-pointer, which was key in the Milwaukee Bucks coming back to beat the Boston Celtics 110-107 in Game 5.

The win gives the Bucks a 3-2 series lead, with Game 6 heading back to Milwaukee, and at times it was a one-man show as Antetokounmpo finished with a game-high 40 points on 16-of-27 shooting.

As the Celtics began to open up a sizeable lead, Antetokounmpo scored 15 of the Bucks' 19 second-quarter points to keep his side within touching distance, and hit an important three-pointer to close out the third quarter and trim the margin back to nine points.

With less than two minutes to play, trailing 105-99, and having shot the three poorly all playoffs (four-of-29, 13 per cent entering Game 5) Antetokounmpo nailed a clutch catch-and-shoot three to make it 105-102, before Jrue Holiday tied the game with another a minute later.

Speaking to the post-game media, the reigning NBA Finals MVP said the big moments are not for everyone, but he wanted the responsibility.

"In a play, when it's a close game and if you're not comfortable or confident enough to take that shot, for a person who is being criticised for his shooting, you don't take that shot," he said.

"You wait, you give the ball to the point guard and you have like a full play, set a pick-and-roll, make sure everybody touches the ball, drive-and-kick…but as I said, I worked on it.

"I felt good, the ball felt good in my hands and I was able to have the nerves and time to take that shot."

While Antetokounmpo was the driving force behind the win, Holiday was crucial in securing the result, becoming the first player in the past 25 years to have a steal and a block in the last 10 seconds of a playoff game.

Antetokounmpo made sure to credit Holiday and the Bucks defense, which held the Celtics to just nine points in the final eight minutes.

"Great block [by Holiday], and he was able to keep his balance then stay in the court," he said.

"Then at the end of the game he got that steal from Marcus Smart. Big-time plays down the stretch and that's what Jrue does.

"It's great. Some people take this for granted, but you can live or die with Jrue making decisions like that, going for a steal or putting his hands in there. We've won a lot of games with him doing that.

"[As a team] we just tried to keep guys in front of us, make them take that tough shot, being as active as we could – showing our bodies, showing our hands.

"Sometimes it's just luck, sometimes the ball just bounces our way and we were able to get some stops, but there was definitely effort behind it."

The Chicago Bulls supporters booing Grayson Allen no longer bothers the Milwaukee Bucks shooting guard, who propelled his side to a 3-1 playoff series lead on Sunday.

Allen fell out of favour with the Chicago faithful after his flagrant foul on guard Alex Caruso during a game in January resulted in a two-month absence for the Bulls star.

The 26-year-old, formerly of Duke, has since been greeted with boos at any opportunity as the Bucks hit the road for the playoffs in Chicago, but that has been music to Allen's ears.

He set a career-high in the playoffs in Game 3 when he scored 22 in a 111-81 triumph at the United Center, before surpassing that the following game with 27 points, including six three-pointers, in a 119-95 victory.

Allen is 18 of 24 from the field and 11 for 14 on three-pointers over the past two games, but it is the playful jeers from his own Bucks bench that has made the hostile atmosphere easier for him.

"They have so much fun doing it," he told reporters of his team-mate's decision to boo him in practice, the team hotel or film sessions.

"I think it's honestly hilarious. They've kind of turned it into a fun thing. It makes hearing it out there during the game a lot easier too because they think it's so funny.

"It's not naturally comfortable for me. I am to the point now, anytime I go out and play basketball, I just remind myself to go out and have fun with this.

"My personality is naturally uncomfortable with the attention, the booing, the heckling. It's not something I feed off of. I'm not going out searching for it."

Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo is also enjoying his team-mate thriving under the pressure and playfully suggested the Bucks fans may have to try a new way of motivating Allen.

"He's played amazing, maybe we got to boo him even more," Antetokounmpo said. "Maybe Milwaukee fans, we got to boo him ... nah, we're not going to do that."

Meanwhile, guard Jrue Holiday added: "When we booed him during the game, and he really started hooping, I think we just stuck with it."

Allen also became the first Bucks player to score 25 points and knock down six 3s in a playoff game and first Milwaukee player with at least 25 points off the bench since Tim Thomas in 2003, according to ESPN.

And Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer was delighted to see Allen step up in the absence of Khris Middleton, who will miss the rest of this first-round series after sustaining an injury to his left knee.

"He's kind of quiet, but confident," Budenholzer said of Allen. "I think this is a confident group, a group that sees a player that can help them and appreciates his competitiveness.

"He's just quiet, no bull****, and comes to play. I think our guys gravitate towards that type of mentality. It's certainly been a good fit."

It was not just his Milwaukee colleagues showering Allen with praise either, Bulls guard Zach LaVine was also quick to credit his opponent.

"You got to give [Allen] credit," LaVine said. "He's hitting shots. Obviously, we know what happened [with the Caruso injury]. At the end of the day, it's basketball too. We understand it. But it's not like we're going out there saying, 'That guy can't beat us.'

"The Milwaukee Bucks can't beat us and he's part of their team. Them as a whole is beating us right now. You can't just account for him. It's everybody."

Chicago have lost six straight home playoff games since beating Cleveland in Game 3 of the 2015 Eastern Conference semi-finals, losing that series in six. The Bulls will look to make amends in Game 5 on the road on Wednesday as they aim to keep the playoff series alive.

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