Bucks, Warriors survive hectic finishes to record wins
By Agence France-Presse
Khris Middleton nailed a three pointer in the final seconds and Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 30 points as the league- leading Milwaukee Bucks edged the Boston Celtics 98-97 on Thursday.
Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 27.2 points a game this season, scored 12 of his points in the fourth quarter for the Bucks, who also won the season series over the Celtics two games to one.
Antetokounmpo added 13 rebounds and Middleton had 15 points and a season-high 13 rebounds. Malcolm Brogdon had 15 points for the Bucks, who have won 15 of the last 17 games, including nine of the last 10.
This was the first game back from the all-star break for both teams as Milwaukee improved to 44-14 on the season.
Antetokounmpo’s hand-picked all-star team lost to one selected by LeBron James. But he scored 38 of his team’s 164 points while grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out five assists.
Al Horford finished with 21 points and a season-high 17 rebounds for Boston against Milwaukee, and Jayson Tatum had 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Kyrie Irving tallied 22 points and had a chance to win the game for Boston, but he stumbled while driving to the basket and missed an awkward shot as time expired.
“Kyrie with the ball. That’s what we wanted,” Horford said. “Get the ball in Kyrie’s hands. Let him create. I felt like we put ourselves in a good position there.”
Irving has battled a variety of injuries this season. He missed two games prior to the all-star break with a strained right knee.
The Celtics have now lost three of their last five games.
Meanwhile, Stephen Curry scored 36 points and drained 10 three pointers, allowing the Golden State Warriors to complete a season-series sweep of the Sacramento Kings with a 125-123 victory.
Kevin Durant added 28 points, nine rebounds and tied his career-high with seven blocks as the Warriors survived a hectic finish.
“Kevin was tremendous in every aspect, the energy, the cutting, the aggressiveness,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “Defensively he was all over the place. He was really on his game tonight in every way.”
DeMarcus Cousins had 17 points and 10 rebounds in his first game against his former team since signing with the Warriors in the offseason.
The four-game sweep was the Warriors’ fourth in the past six seasons over the Kings. But there was just a 12-point total margin of victory in the four wins this season.
The Warriors led most of the fourth quarter behind Curry’s 11 points. The two-time league MVP shot 12 of 23 overall and was 10 of 16 three-point range.
Golden State still had to hold on though to avoid suffering back-to-back losses.