NBA

NBA: Bucks best Clippers to extend run

By Sports Desk March 05, 2024

Damian Lillard poured in 41 points and helped lead a fourth-quarter rally as the Milwaukee Bucks withstood Giannis Antetokounmpo's absence and remained unbeaten since the All-Star break with Monday's 113-106 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Despite Antetokounmpo sitting out with left Achilles tendinitis, the Bucks moved to 6-0 following the break behind Lillard and Bobby Portis, who scored 14 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter after Milwaukee trailed by as many as 15 in the third.

Portis added a season-high 16 rebounds for Milwaukee, which took the lead for good with a 15-0 run that erased a 96-90 deficit with under 5 1/2 minutes left.

Back-to-back 3-pointers from Lillard and Patrick Beverley began the spurt, which Portis capped with four consecutive points that gave Milwaukee a 105-96 advantage with under two minutes to go. 

The Clippers, who shot just 35 per cent in the fourth quarter compared to Milwaukee's 61.9 per cent, never got closer than five points down the rest of the way.

Los Angeles owned a 74-59 lead just past the midway point of the third quarter, but the Bucks scored the period's final five points and pulled to within 81-73 entering the fourth on Malik Beasley's triple in the final seconds.

The Clippers, who were coming off Sunday's 89-88 road win over the Western Conference-leading Minnesota Timberwolves, got 29 points each from Paul George and James Harden. Kawhi Leonard finished with 16 points, but was held to one in the fourth quarter while going 0 for 4 from the field.

Lakers continue surge, knock Thunder out of first in West

It was a better night for Los Angeles' other team, as the Lakers continued their recent strong play by knocking the Oklahoma City Thunder out of first place in the Western Conference with a 116-104 victory.

D'Angelo Russell recorded 26 points and Anthony Davis had 24 along with 12 rebounds as the Lakers improved to 10-4 since Feb. 1. Los Angeles currently stands in ninth place in the West but is now just two games behind the sixth-place Phoenix Suns, with the top six teams guaranteed a first-round play-off series.

The Thunder, who were coming off a 118-110 win over Phoenix on Sunday, shot just 39.4 per cent and fell a half-game behind Minnesota for the West's top spot after the Timberwolves registered a 119-114 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday.

All-Star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led Oklahoma City with 20 points but finished 5 of 13 from the field.

The Lakers seized control with a 12-0 run to build a 37-27 lead with seven minutes left in the second quarter, and went into the break owning a 52-43 advantage behind 10 points from Russell and Austin Reaves. 

Davis then took over in the third quarter, as the All-Star forward netted 15 points in the period as Los Angeles stretched its lead to 89-72 entering the fourth. 

The Lakers' margin grew to as much as 25 points in the final quarter before the Thunder scored the game's final 13 points with the outcome already determined.

Bulls stun Kings with furious late comeback

Coby White put up a career-high 37 points and helped ignite a big second-half comeback that carried the Chicago Bulls to a stunning 113-109 road win over the Sacramento Kings.

Chicago trailed by 22 points late in the third quarter before outscoring the Kings by a 36-18 margin in the fourth to deal Sacramento a third loss in four games. DeMar DeRozan had 19 of his 33 points in the final period, while White tallied 24 of his points in the second half.

After closing out the third quarter on a 10-2 run to cut their deficit to 91-77, the Bulls continued to chip away in the fourth. They outscored the Kings by an 18-5 count over the final 5 1/2 minutes and held Sacramento without a point over the last 2:20.

White's layup off a Sacramento turnover tied the contest at 109-109 with 1:32 left, and after the Kings gave the ball away on their next possession as well, White again drove the lane and scored to put Chicago ahead with 47.6 seconds to go.

The Bulls would miss their next two shots, but got a late offensive rebound before DeRozan was able to seal the victory with two free throws with 3.5 seconds left.

De'Aaron Fox led the Kings with 20 points and 10 rebounds in his return from a two-game absence, while Domantas Sabonis grabbed 21 rebounds to go along with 18 points before fouling out with 2:57 remaining.

 

 

 

Related items

  • 'Sky's the limit' for Coby White as Bulls tee up Miami rematch 'Sky's the limit' for Coby White as Bulls tee up Miami rematch

    Dejounte Murray declared "the sky's the limit" for Coby White after his career-best performance guided the Chicago Bulls past the Atlanta Hawks in the Play-In Tournament on Wednesday.

    The Bulls clinched a 131-116 win over Atlanta at a sold-out United Center in their first Play-In game, teeing up a rematch with the Miami Heat – who eliminated them from last year's Play-In Tournament – for Friday.

    White had a career-high 42 points, the second-best tally ever recorded in a Play-In contest, after Jayson Tatum's 50 against the Washington Wizards in 2021, and went 15-of-21 from the field.

    His stunning performance meant Murray's own 30-point showing counted for nothing, with Atlanta always fighting an uphill battle after going 18 points down in the first quarter.

    Asked about White after the game, Murray said: "I root for guys that work hard and are great people.

    "[Bulls forward] DeMar DeRozan's a brother to me and he speaks highly of him. He says he works hard, he's a great guy, he's handled his business, he's a professional on and off the floor. 

    "When I hear those things, I root for guys around the league just to have success. 

    "I think he's always been good. He never really got the opportunity to showcase what he's showcasing now, and the sky's the limit."

    It was something of a breakout performance for White, who averaged just 8.4 points per game in his only previous playoff series, a 4-1 first-round defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks in 2022.

    He was also part of the Chicago team beaten by the Heat in last year's Play-In Tournament, and they will get a chance to avenge that loss when they go to Kaseya Center on Friday.

    "I'm just grateful to be where I'm at. That first playoff series I ever had in my career didn't go how I wanted it to go," White said. 

    "Then last year, I played better in the Play-In, but this year, I didn't come into the game saying I was going to put the team on my back. 

    "I just wanted to be aggressive and take what the defense gave me and try to lead."

    DeRozan is glad to have the opportunity to banish the ghosts of last year's loss in Miami, saying: "I remember that plane ride back home vividly, everybody was just frustrated.

    "That feeling sucked. I know for me that was one thing that was on my mind once I realised we were going back to Miami, not to have that same feeling."

  • Klay Thompson on Warriors future: 'I want to keep winning' Klay Thompson on Warriors future: 'I want to keep winning'

    Klay Thompson says winning remains his priority as he prepares to enter free agency and is grateful to hear the Golden State Warriors are keen on keeping him in San Francisco.

    Thompson's five-year contract with the Warriors – who selected him 11th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft – is due to expire following an abrupt ending to their 2023-24 campaign.

    The Warriors were eliminated from the Play-In Tournament by the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday, with Thompson shooting 0-for-10 from the field in a 118-94 defeat at Golden 1 Center.

    The four-time NBA champion is yet to agree fresh terms and has already been linked with the Orlando Magic and the Dallas Mavericks. 

    Asked what the future holds in his exit interview on Wednesday, the 34-year-old said the ability to compete for a fifth championship would play a huge role in determining where he will play next year.

    "Considering it's April 17, I don't think I have to pivot that quickly," Thompson said. "When is free agency? July 1? Yeah, I've got some time.

    "I want to keep winning. When you've been a part of winning seasons, you don't really want to go away from that. So I would like to win again. One for the thumb would be nice. 

    "I still think it's within reach. Other than that, you've just got to think about what will really make you happy in the last few years of your career.

    "Every year I give my best effort, and the ownership group has been great. I have nothing but positive things to say about them.

    "It's up to them, but at the end of the day, whatever happens, it's all gravy. It's been such a special run."

    Several key figures around Golden State have outlined the importance of keeping Thompson. After Tuesday's Play-In elimination, Stephen Curry said he couldn't imagine playing without him, while Draymond Green insisted "there isn't any scenario" where he moves on.

    Head coach Steve Kerr also said the Warriors need Thompson to return, and those comments have gone down well with the soon-to-be free agent. 

    "It means a lot," Thompson said when those quotes were put to him. "I mean, we've been through the highest of highs and lows. 

    "Whether it's losing a championship, winning a championship, missing the playoffs, we've been through everything together, so that does mean a lot. 

    "It makes me grateful to have the times I've had with them. Like, that was pretty historic stuff."

  • Heat top scorer Butler expected to miss several weeks with knee injury Heat top scorer Butler expected to miss several weeks with knee injury

    The Miami Heat won’t have injured leading scorer Jimmy Butler in the lineup when they host the Chicago Bulls in Friday’s Eastern Conference do-or-die play-in tournament game.

    Butler will be sidelined for several weeks due to a right MCL injury sustained in Wednesday’s 105-104 road loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, who clinched the No. 7 seed in the East.

    Butler was hurt late in the first quarter when he tried to fake out Philadelphia’s Kelly Oubre Jr. and his knee buckled, causing the six-time All-Star to fall to the court.

    A hobbled Butler remained in the game and wound up playing 40 minutes. He scored 19 points but shot 5 of 18 from the field.

    Butler led Miami in the regular season with 20.8 points, 5.0 assists and 1.32 steals per game while also averaging 5.3 rebounds.

    Last season, Butler won the Larry Bird Trophy as the MVP of the Eastern Conference Finals as No. 8 seed Miami advanced to the NBA Finals before losing in five games to the Denver Nuggets.

    The winner of Friday’s matchup between Miami and Chicago will capture the No. 8 seed in the East and move on to play the top-seeded Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.