NBA

NBA: Antetokounmpo, Lillard help Bucks clinch quarterfinal spot

By Sports Desk November 29, 2023

The Milwaukee Bucks got big performances from their two brightest stars in a 131-124 win over the Miami Heat on Tuesday to clinch a quarterfinal spot in the In-Season Tournament.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 33 points and Damian Lillard added 32 to help the Bucks win East Group B with a 4-0 record.

Milwaukee will host wild-card New York on either Dec. 4 or 5, with East Group C winner Boston going to Group A winner Indiana for the other quarterfinal before the Final Four in Las Vegas.

Miami, which was without second-leading scorer Jimmy Butler, dropped its second straight following a 9-1 stretch.

Bam Adebayo scored 31 points and Kyle Lowry had 21, including a 3-pointer with 3:25 remaining to put the Heat up 118-115.

The Bucks, though, finished on a 16-6 run, going 5 for 6 from the field and 5 for 5 from the line. Lillard made two free throws with 63 seconds to play to help put it out of reach.

Milwaukee lost forward Pat Connaughton to a sprained right ankle in the second quarter.

Kings rally past Warriors to advance

Malik Monk sank a fadeaway with 7 seconds remaining and the Sacramento Kings rallied from 11 down in the fourth quarter for a 124-123 win over the Golden State Warriors.

De’Aaron Fox scored 29 points and Monk and Kevin Huerter each added 21 for the Kings, who won their group with a 4-0 record and will host New Orleans next week in the quarterfinals.

Sacramento needed a win or a loss by 11 points or fewer to advance but erased a 21-point deficit to win for the seventh time in nine games.

Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins led the Warriors with 29 points apiece, but Golden State dropped to 2-8 in its last 10 games.

Timberwolves star Edwards injured in win

Rudy Gobert had 17 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks as the Minnesota Timberwolves overcame an injury to star guard Anthony Edwards in a 106-103 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the In-Season Tournament.

Edwards had 12 of his 21 points in the third quarter before landing hard on his right side during a dunk attempt and leaving with a bruised right hip.

Coach Chris Finch had no more details on the injury or whether Edwards would miss time.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 32 points on 13-of-22 shooting but his 37-foot try at the buzzer, his only 3-point attempt of the night, was well off the mark.

Reserve Troy Brown Jr. scored 17 points and Naz Reid added 15 for Minnesota, which improved the West’s best record to 12-4.

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    Young leads Atlanta with 26.4 points per game (11th in the NBA) and ranks second in the league with 10.8 assists per contest.

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  • Timberwolves were 'desperate' for a win, claims Finch Timberwolves were 'desperate' for a win, claims Finch

    The Minnesota Timberwolves "needed a win desperately", according to head coach Chris Finch, whose team beat the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday.

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    The Timberwolves are now clear at the top of the Western Conference with a 40-17 record, one win better than the 39-17 Oklahoma City Thunder.

    But coach Finch said his team "desperately" needed a victory.

    "We needed a win desperately," Finch said. "Still not playing really sharp basketball, particularly on the offensive end. But defensively, we were really strong."

    Anthony Edwards led the Timberwolves with 29 points, while Karl-Anthony Towns added 28 to Milwaukee's total.

    "It was ugly, sloppy. I think by both teams, actually," said Timberwolves center Naz Reid.

    "But we [were] able to buckle down in the last quarter and handle business."

    The Nets dismissed coach Jacques Vaughn over the All-Star break, though are now 0-2 under interim Kevin Ollie.

    "I thought we did a great job coming together as a team and facing adversity," Ollie said. "But we've got to make shots."

  • 'We're not where we need to be yet' – Celtics out to improve despite season-best run 'We're not where we need to be yet' – Celtics out to improve despite season-best run

    Al Horford says the Boston Celtics are "not where we need to be yet" despite beating the New York Knicks to claim an eighth-straight win.

    The Celtics won 116-102 on Saturday to mark a season-best winning streak, while they are also eight games clear at the top of the Eastern Conference.

    Jaylen Brown finished with 30 points, Kristaps Porzingis had 22 and Jayson Tatum had 19, while Horford chipped in with 10 points from the bench, as Boston sealed their fourth win of the season over the Knicks.

    But in spite of their fine form, Horford says the Celtics must demand more from themselves.

    "It's just the way kind of the season has gone," he said.

    "We've kind of held our own, continued to work through things. Obviously, the [Philadelphia 76ers] have injuries, different teams have different stuff going on, so that all goes into account.

    "But I can just speak to we're continuing to play good basketball. We're really trying to play the right way. I feel like [Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla] is really challenging us to continue to get better. This is the stretch of the season where we can really take it to another level, and that's what we're trying to do.

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    He said: "When it comes down to the playoffs, none of that stuff really matters.

    "I feel like it's going to be about matchups, it's going to be about playing hard. Obviously, home court matters, so that is key, but when you get into the thick of it, you;'ve got to win basketball games. Regardless of what your seed is.

    "If anything, it puts more pressure on you. But I think we're an experienced team. We've been in these situations before and I think we're ready."

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