NBA

NBA: Celtics defeat Giannis-less Bucks for 7th straight win

By Sports Desk March 20, 2024

Jayson Tatum scored 31 points and the Boston Celtics held on for their seventh straight victory, 122-119 over a Milwaukee Bucks team missing two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo on Wednesday.

Derrick White had 23 points and eight assists and Jaylen Brown added 21 with eight rebounds for the league-leading Celtics, who improved to 32-3 at home and are cruising to the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

Damian Lillard led the Bucks with 32 points and Bobby Portis had 24 points and 15 boards for Milwaukee, which dropped to 3-2 this season without Antetokounmpo and remained one game up on Cleveland for the Central Division lead.

Boston led by as many as 21 points but Milwaukee got the deficit down to 116-114 on Portis’ jumper with 32 seconds left.

Brown and Tatum each sank two free throws around a missed layup by Lillard and two more free throws by Tatum with seven seconds to play sealed it.

 

Rozier sparks Heat past Cavaliers

Terry Rozier scored nine of his 24 points in the final 84 seconds, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 14.5 left on the clock, to lift the Miami Heat to a 107-104 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Rozier converted a 4-point play before sinking a 26-footer that gave the Heat a 105-102 lead. Two free throws by Georges Niang made it a one-point game before Rozier followed with two of his own with 2.8 seconds remaining.

Darius Garland’s off-balance 3 at the buzzer failed to fall and Cleveland dropped its third straight home game despite getting 25 points and 20 rebounds from Jarrett Allen.

Jimmy Butler scored 30 points for Miami, which has won three of four following a four-game skid.

 

Holmgren’s big game powers Thunder

Chet Holmgren scored 35 points and matched a career high with 14 rebounds to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 119-107 win over the Utah Jazz.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 31 points to become the 13th player in NBA history to score 30 points or more in 50 games.

Jalen Williams chipped in 18 points for the Thunder, who moved into the top spot in the Western Conference, one-half game ahead of Denver.

Collin Sexton scored 25 points for Utah, which played without Lauri Markkanen and Jordan Clarkson – two of the team’s top three scorers. The Jazz have lost three straight and six of seven.

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    The Lakers entered Friday's game – their penultimate outing of the regular season – on a two-game losing streak and jockeying for position with the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors. 

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    "Every game matters. Every seed matters. Wherever you fall, you can't play in the past," James said.

    "I can't say I would much rather be where we are today than be the number one seed. That would be a lie. Seeds matter, and wherever you fall, you take that challenge."

    The Lakers emerged from the Play-In Tournament to reach the Western Conference Finals last year before being dispatched by the eventual NBA champions, the Denver Nuggets.

    With coach Darvin Ham plotting a route through the postseason, he left James out on the court for 41 minutes on Friday, while Davis played 43 minutes on his return from a left eye injury which kept him out of Tuesday's loss to the Warriors. 

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