NBA

NBA playoffs 2021: Giannis' Bucks rout Heat for 2-0 lead, Jokic and Nuggets draw level despite Lillard show

By Sports Desk May 25, 2021

The Milwaukee Bucks earned a commanding 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series after Giannis Antetokounmpo and his team-mates blew away the Miami Heat 132-98.

Only two points separated the Bucks and Heat in overtime on Saturday as the third seeds edged Jimmy Butler's Miami 109-107.

But the Heat were no match for the Bucks on Monday after Milwaukee used a 46-20 opening quarter to rout Miami in Game 2 of their NBA playoff clash.

Antetokounmpo – the two-time reigning MVP – fuelled the Bucks with a game-high 31 points in 31 minutes, 13 rebounds, six assists and three steals on home court in Milwaukee.

Jrue Holiday added a double-double of his own, while Bucks team-mate Bryn Forbes made six three-pointers to contribute 22 points off the bench.

The Bucks set a franchise record for threes made in a playoff game after nailing 22 from beyond the arc.

Entering the second matchup, the Bucks and Heat had the NBA's two best records when making more three-pointers than their opponents this season – Milwaukee were 25-3 (89.3 per cent) in those games and Miami were 18-3 (85.7 per cent). But the Bucks won Game 1 while making only five of 31 three-point attempts, 16.1 percent, a season low.

The Heat had no answer on the road, where reserve Dewayne Dedmon was Miami's best performer with a team-high 19 points as Butler (10 points on four-for-10 shooting), Bam Adebayo (16 points), Duncan Robinson (10 points) and Kendrick Nunn (nine points) struggled to get going, while Trevor Ariza (0-for-three shooting) was scoreless.

In the day's only other game, the Denver Nuggets levelled their Western Conference matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers thanks to a 128-109 victory.

MVP frontrunner Nikola Jokic inspired the third-seeded Nuggets in Game 2, scoring 38 points on 15-for-20 shooting, while also tallying eight rebounds and five assists in Denver.

Not even Damian Lillard's monster performance was enough for the sixth-ranked Trail Blazers to take down the Nuggets for back-to-back wins.

Lillard finished with 42 points and 10 assists – the All-Star made eight three-pointers by half-time, tying Vince Carter's all-time playoff record in a half.

Related items

  • Rodgers says Packers' 9-3 run has defied expectations amid adversity Rodgers says Packers' 9-3 run has defied expectations amid adversity

    Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers says the Green Bay Packers have defied expectations amid more injuries than ever, meaning their 9-3 record "feels pretty good".

    The Packers are top in the NFC North ahead of their Week 13 bye where Rodgers, who has thrown 2,878 yards for 23 touchdowns this season, will get the chance to rest a niggling toe issue.

    Green Bay's impressive run has come amid injury issues to cornerback Jaire Alexander, center Josh Myers, outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith and offensive tackle David Bakhtiari, while star wide receiver Davante Adams tested positive to COVID-19 last month.

    "I think we've been dealing with as many injuries as we've had throughout the years," Rodgers said during an appearance on The Pat McAfee show. "A lot of important players, starters on IR, no chance to return and some with a chance.

    "Bakhtiari obviously had an opportunity, not sure when that will do. Jaire, hoping him. Za'Darius who knows? Josh Myers up in the air.

    "There's a lot of those and then you have the weekly injuries we've had with Kevin King and Aaron Jones. [The bye] definitely comes at a good time.

    "For us to be 9-3, not many people expected that looking at our schedule and what we've dealt with this year with Davante being out with COVID and all the injuries up front and on the defensive side of the ball, that feels pretty good."

    Rodgers has been in the thick of the news, with his immunisation revelation before testing positive to COVID-19, along with his tongue-in-cheek remark about "COVID toe", all the while his side have claimed good wins against the likes of the Los Angeles Rams, Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers.

    "It hasn’t been a quiet 12 weeks," he added. "I'm very happy with where we're at. Very happy to have gotten off to the star that we've gotten off to. Happy we've faced some adversity and we're moving through it and close to the other side of it."

    The Packers defeated the Rams 36-28 on Sunday, with Rodgers throwing two touchdown passes, as well as completing one rushing TD.

    Adams, who has five touchdowns for the season including two in Week 11 in the 34-31 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, had eight receptions against the Rams for 104 yards but no touchdowns.

    "He has a lot of freedom which he should because he has such a great release pattern and he's such a smart guy," Rodgers said about Adams. "It's not like he's going outside the schematic things but he's making decisions that might not be the expected paper decisions, when you’re looking at it on paper.

    "There's paper routes and there's do-whatever-you-want routes for Davante. He did it last week against Minnesota on the second touchdown, he ad-libbed that route, that's why I was a bit late getting to him.

    "Normally I have a pretty good sense. You've got to read body movements. Also our conversations are very high level when it comes to those situations."

  • LeBron set to miss several games after entering NBA's health and safety protocols LeBron set to miss several games after entering NBA's health and safety protocols

    Four-time NBA MVP LeBron James has entered the league's health and safety protocols.

    The 36-year-old was set to line up for the Los Angeles Lakers against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday but was ruled out ahead of tip-off.

    James is likely to be out for several games, having already missed 11 of the Lakers' 22 games this season with ankle and abdominal injuries along with a one-game suspension.

    The NBA mandates a minimum of 10 days of isolation away from a player's team if they have tested positive to COVID-19, before mandatory cardiac screening and reconditioning to be cleared to return. James confirmed in September that he has been vaccinated from COVID-19.

    The Lakers, who are 11-11 across the 2021-22 NBA season, are 4-7 without James in the team this campaign.

    James is averaging 25.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game from 11 games this season.

  • Chiellini: Juventus has given us all so much, it is time to give back Chiellini: Juventus has given us all so much, it is time to give back

    Giorgio Chiellini insists he and his team-mates are determined to repay the faith shown in them by Juventus and help put their recent struggles behind them.

    The Bianconeri bounced back from successive defeats by Chelsea and Atalanta with a routine 2-0 win over bottom side Salernitana in Serie A.

    Goals from Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata sealed victory for the visitors at Stadio Arechi. Juve dominated, enjoying 73.9 per cent of the ball, having 18 attempts, with seven on target, and finishing the match with a 92.9 per cent passing accuracy in contrast to their hosts' completion rate of 75.9.

    Dybala sliced a late penalty over the bar – his first spot-kick miss for Juve since 2017 – but the three points were already assured. 

    But despite the win, Juve remain seventh in the Serie A table and seven points off the top four after their opening 15 matches.

    Massimiliano Allegri has claimed Juve cannot be considered as title contenders, though Chiellini is still driven to improve.

    "It was a good performance, but the coach used the right words yesterday and today to let us realise what we need to do," Chiellini told DAZN.

    "We need a sense of responsibility, don't do anything extraordinary, just do it with the right mentality. 

    "We played it clean today; it doesn't always work, but we managed it this evening. We knew it would be difficult, but we held out.

    "Juventus have given so much to me and all my team-mates, so this is the time to give back. 

    "We must all stay close to this club and together, we'll get out of this situation."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.