Suns slide with Bucks and Heat one step from qualifying
With devastating performances from Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jimmy Butlerthe Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat swept the Bulls and Hawks on Sunday to move within a win of advancing to the NBA playoffs.
In the other two games of the day, the Denver Nuggets avoided a sweep against the Warriors and the New Orleans Pelicans tied their streak against the Phoenix Suns.
The Giannis effect
Milwaukee, defending champion of the North American basketball league, again beat the Bulls 119-95 on the road and will have their first chance to advance to the Eastern Conference second round next Wednesday at home.
The Bulls, who fell 30 points on Friday, disappointed again on Sunday in front of their home crowd at the United Center without finding an answer to Antetokounmpo’s exuberant play.
The Greek power forward, who abuses all his defenders in this series, had 32 points, 17 rebounds and 7 assists.
Antetokounmpo thus added his twelfth playoff game with at least 30 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists, second only in history behind LeBron James (48 games) and Larry Bird (19).
Taking advantage of defensive attention from Antetokounmpo, backup point guard Grayson Allen was once again luxury relief for injured Khris Middleton with 27 points and 7 from three.
On the Bulls side, their trio of star players were again unable to take the game. Shooter Zach LaVine started with 12 points in the first quarter but slowed to finish with 24.
Veteran DeMar DeRozan continues to weigh no weight in this series and finishes with 23 points while Montenegrin center Nikola Vucevic was held at 11.
Heat on the brink
With 36 points from Jimmy Butler, the miami heat beat Trae Young’s Atlanta Hawks 110-86 on the road to improve to 3-1 in the Eastern Conference series.
The Heat again applied a relentless defense that left Young with just 9 points and a 3/11 shooting stat line.
The talented young who is averaging 28 points per game and started in the last All-Star Game, has missed just 10 points three times this season, and two of them were in that playoff against Miami.
Only striker DeAndre Hunter, with 24 points, stepped up to the plate for the Hawks, who hoped to be more competitive with the resumption of their starting center, Clint Capela (2 points and 7 rebounds).
Series powerhouse Butler added 36 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals to lead Miami’s offense, which didn’t suffer the loss of Kyle Lowry to a hamstring problem. leggings.
Denver denies the Warriors
In a biting finish, the Denver Nuggets beat the Golden State Warriors 126-121 to force a Game 5 of this Western Conference series.
Denver cut its deficit to 3-1 and gave fans at the Ball Arena a glimpse of happiness with another display from point guard Nikola Jokic.
The Serbian center had 37 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists to allow the Nuggets to dream of becoming the first team in history to qualify after a 3-0 deficit.
“That’s what we have left, to fight. The odds are against us, but we’ve already smashed them, why not? said ‘Joker’ after the match.
With Monte Morris (24 points) and youngster ‘Bones’ Hylands (15) backing up Jokic, the Nuggets built up a 17-point lead.
The Warriors picked up the pace in the final quarter but ended up falling victim to errors from Andrew Wiggins and Otto Porter.
Steph Curry, who again came off the bench, scored 33 points and Klay Thompson still 32 points and 7 three-pointers.
The suns stutter
In the last game on Sunday, the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Phoenix Suns 118-103 to tie the playoffs 2-2.
The Suns, the top seed in the West, are now under pressure to secure a victory Tuesday at home to avoid being on the ropes against the Pelicans, a team that clinched a playoff berth.
Under the suffocating defense of José Alvarado, of Puerto Rican descentveteran Chris Paul had one of the worst playoff nights of his career, with just 4 points and 11 assists.
Center DeAndre Ayton had 23 points and 8 rebounds for the Suns, who lacks the scoring ability of injured Devin Booker, who may not play in the entire series due to his hamstring problem.
At Smoothie King Center, Lithuanian Center Jonas Valanciunas put in an impressive performance with 26 points and 15 rebounds while forward Brandon Ingram contributed another 30 points.