(Orlando) The Bucks, carried by the 66 points of the duo Giannis Antetokounmpo / Khris Middleton, reversed Thursday a compromised situation to defeat Miami (130-116), thus ensuring to finish in the first place of the Eastern conference of the NBA.
Strong head milwaukee
Like last season, the Wisconsin team will be the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. A status which will have to be doubled this time of an accession in the finals, in order to record a progression.
In the meantime, the Bucks have taken the best of the Heat (4 th ), one of the underestimates not to be underestimated and that he could find in the conference semifinals, which however had up to 23 points in advance, despite the absences of Jimmy Butler (ankle) and Goran Dragic (foot).
Antetokounmpo and Middleton sounded the revolt in the second half, each scoring 33 points and contributing to the 18-0 inflicted on Miami in the money-time.
If the Bucks' offensive potential was verified again at the best time, it was the tight defense shown by his players that pleased coach Mike Budenholzer. “Overall our attention to detail in this industry was better,” he praised.
Without James, Harden has fun
LeBron James, reduced by a pain in the groin, logically missed the Lakers against Houston, easy winner (113-97), in the wake of James Harden particularly successful with 39 points scored (11/19, 12 assists, 8 rebounds ).
PHOTO KEVIN C. COX, USA TODAY SPORTS
Devin Booker (1) defends in front of TJ Warren (1)
The Rockets, now 4 th , have always led, even though they were also deprived of their other star Russell Westbrook (thigh). But the desire was much more obvious on their side than in LA already assured of being the No. 1 seed in the West and who kept some under the sole like Anthony Davis (17 pts, 12 rbds).
The Clippers in full rehearsal
Little at stake between LA and Dallas, if not to gauge themselves before a probable reunion in the 1 st round of the playoffs. And in this game, the 2 nd in the West showed in the 7 th that he was armed to finish the matches strong, winning (126-111) thanks in particular to four baskets with three points in the money- time remained unanswered on the Texans side.
Kawhi Leonard (29 pts, 4/8 behind the arc) showed that he was slowly but surely increasing in power, well supported by Paul George (24 pts, 7 rebounds, 6 assists) and the pivot Ivica Zubac (21 pts, 15 rbds). So much so that Joakim Noah had to settle for crumbs with 2 rebounds captured in 2 minutes.
Opposite, Kristaps Porzingis confirmed his excellent provisions of the moment (30 pts, 9 rebounds, 5 assists) and Luka Doncic was just as present (29 pts, 6 assists). But as often in Dallas it is in defense that the shoe pinches.
Portland is dam
As often in a match where the last minutes coincide with the "Dame-Time" - when Damian Lillard comes out of the shots offering the victory - the Blazers seem to be the fastest in the final sprint towards the barrage in the West, evidenced by this. their victory over Denver (125-115).
Portland consolidates its 9 th place and even approaches the 8 th occupied by Memphis, its probable adversary to validate the final ticket for the playoffs.
Lillard, often the man of decisive moments, therefore, was preponderant with 45 points registered, including 11 three-point baskets out of 18 attempted, and 12 assists delivered.
Behind the Blazers, no one saw Phoenix coming at the end of the regular season, but the Arizona team (10 th ), winner of their fourth game in a row at the expense of Indiana (114-99) is still in the race.
Two days after his superb basket for the buzzer victory against the Clippers, Devin Booker scored 20 points (10 assists) and DeAndre Ayton added 23 (10 rebounds). On the Pacers side, TJ Warren was less bleeding (16 pts, 11 rebounds) than in recent days (53 pts against the Sixers on Saturday).
New Orleans, on the other hand, burnt one of its last cartridges by losing to Sacramento (140-125), carried by Bogdan Bojanovic (35 pts, 6/9 at long distance) and D'Aron Fox (30 pts, 10 assists ), which dates back to its height in the 12 th spot.