Giannis Antetokounmpo scores 49 in Milwaukee Bucks win over Brooklyn Nets; LA Clippers reach playoffs

A round-up of Sunday night’s NBA action, as Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 49 points in the Milwaukee Bucks’ win over Brooklyn Nets, while the Toronto Raptors’ victory over the LA Lakers seals a playoff berth for the LA Clippers.

Sunday night’s NBA results

  • Latest NBA scores and fixtures
  • Updated season standings

Brooklyn Nets 114-117 Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a season-high 49 points and out-duelled Kevin Durant as the host Milwaukee Bucks edged the Brooklyn Nets, 117-114.

Antetokounmpo, who missed Friday’s game against the Chicago Bulls with an ankle injury, delivered the dunk that put the Bucks ahead for good with 7:57 left. The 49 points were the third-most of his career and his most since he scored 50 points against the Utah Jazz on November 25, 2019.

Khris Middleton had 26 points and 11 rebounds as the Bucks (40-24) maintained their hopes of finishing first in the Eastern Conference for the third straight season. Milwaukee closed within two-and-a-half games of the second-place Nets (43-22) and within three games of the East-leading Philadelphia 76ers (43-21), who defeated San Antonio 113-111 in overtime later on Sunday.

Jrue Holiday had 18 points and Bryn Forbes 12 points for the Bucks. Durant tied a season-high with 42 points but missed a pair of potential game-tying three-pointers in the final 30 seconds, including a shot that glanced off the rim just before the buzzer.

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DeAndre Jordan finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Kyrie Irving scored 20 points. Off the bench, Landry Shamet netted 17 points and Blake Griffin added 11.

The Nets led by as many as 14 in the first quarter before the Bucks chipped away in the second, when they went on a quarter-ending 18-9 run to take a 62-59 lead. Holiday’s three-pointer tied the score at 52-52 with 3:20 left, and Forbes’ three-pointer put Milwaukee ahead 57-54 – their first lead since 2-0.

The Bucks led by as many as seven in the third, which ended with three lead changes and one tie in the final 1:30. A jumper by Antetokounmpo tied the score at 90-90 before Holiday missed a 3-pointer and Brook Lopez whiffed on a putback just before the buzzer.

Griffin and Shamet opened the fourth with three-pointers for the Nets, but Middleton scored six straight points to spark the Bucks’ 11-0 run that included Antetokounmpo’s go-ahead dunk.

Milwaukee twice led by seven before the Nets pulled within three points three times. Brooklyn were 0-for-3 on potential game-tying three-pointers, with Irving missing a chance to knot the score with 1:28 remaining.

Toronto Raptors 121-114 Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers are finally healthy, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis back from injuries. However, the Lakers are playing their worst basketball of the season.

Trailing by as many as 21 points, the Lakers lost at home to the Toronto Raptors 121-114 at the Staples Center.

Pascal Siakam carried the scoring load for Toronto, finishing with 39 points and 13 rebounds. Kyle Lowry finished with a season-high 37 points and 11 assists for the Raptors.

The Lakers have lost six of their last seven games and are 0-2 since James returned to the starting line-up after a right, high-ankle sprain. James finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists but played 26 minutes and departed with 6:42 left due to soreness in the ankle.

Point guard Dennis Schroder did not play for the Lakers due to the NBA’s healthy and safety protocols. The Lakers are 0-5 this season with Schroder out of the line-up.

Even more embarrassing for the Lakers is Toronto played short-handed in the second night of a back-to-back after going toe-to-toe with the Utah Jazz in a tough road loss.

With the Lakers’ loss to Toronto, the Dallas Mavericks (36-28) losing at home to the Sacramento Kings and the Portland Trail Blazers (36-28) defeating the Boston Celtics on the road, the Lakers (36-28), Mavericks and Trail Blazers are all tied for the No 5 seed in the Western Conference.

With the win, Toronto (27-38) are two-and-a-half games behind the Washington Wizards for the No 10 spot in the Eastern Conference and a chance to get into the play-in game for the postseason tournament.

The result also means that the LA Clippers have clinched a playoff spot.

Portland Trail Blazers 129-119 Boston Celtics

CJ McCollum scored a game-high 33 points, Damian Lillard added 26 points with 13 assists, and the Portland Trail Blazers won their fourth straight game on their current road swing with a 129-119 defeat of the Boston Celtics.

Portland (36-28) remained perfect on their six-game road trip thanks to a balanced scoring effort with all five starters scoring in double figures.

Three hit for at least 23 points with Norman Powell scoring 23, including a driving lay-up in the final minute that gave Portland a seven-point lead.

Powell’s basket followed a Carmelo Anthony three-pointer that ended a field-goal drought of 2:43. Anthony finished with 13 points, and his three-pointer was the last of Portland’s 19 on a 19-of-38 shooting night for the team.

The Trail Blazers’ second-half defensive effort on Jayson Tatum also proved crucial. Tatum – one game removed from tying a Celtics franchise record with 60 points – scored 24 points in a raucous first half with the teams combining for 142 points.

Portland held Tatum to just two points in the third quarter and nine in the second half. He finished with 33 points on 11-of-19 shooting before leaving in the final minute after colliding with team-mate Jaylen Brown. Brown also left the game.

Miami Heat 121-111 Charlotte Hornets

Bam Adebayo scored 20 points to go with 10 assists as the visiting Miami Heat defeated the Charlotte Hornets for the first time in three meetings this season, winning 121-111.

It was a key outcome for the Heat (35-30) as they jockey for playoff position with the Hornets (31-33) in the Eastern Conference.

The Hornets were trying to win for the second night in a row since the return to action of guards LaMelo Ball and Malik Monk, who had been out with injuries.

Kendrick Nunn poured in 19 points and Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic each added 18 points for the Heat. Dewayne Dedmon had 14 points and Duncan Robinson supplied 10 points as Miami won their third game in a row. Butler had eight rebounds and eight assists.

Ball, who missed all three of his three-point attempts, ended up with 14 points and five assists but he was charged with five of Charlotte’s 15 turnovers.

Monk had 11 points in a reserve role.

PJ Washington led Charlotte with 21 points, while Miles Bridges chipped in 15 points, Terry Rozier had 14 points and Jalen McDaniels notched 12 points.

Sacramento Kings 111-99 Dallas Mavericks

Buddy Hield finished with 27 points and six rebounds and shot 6-for-10 from three-point range to lead the Sacramento Kings to a 111-99 victory over the host Dallas Mavericks.

The Kings (27-37) swept the season series against the Mavericks (36-28), winning all three match-ups since April 18. Those losses are Dallas’ only defeats over its past nine games.

Sacramento picked up their second consecutive upset win over a Western Conference playoff contender, following up its win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Marvin Bagley III had 23 points and nine rebounds, and Delon Wright delivered 14 points off the bench. Richaun Holmes also had 17 points and seven rebounds.

The Kings prevailed, but lost rookie Tyrese Haliburton with 7:30 to go in the third quarter to a left knee injury. Haliburton pulled up while dribbling across midcourt and collapsed, clutching his knee. He would later be helped by trainers to the locker room.

According to a report from ESPN, Haliburton was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday morning and the team is optimistic he may have avoided serious injury.

Luka Doncic led Dallas with 30 points, six rebounds and six assists. But the Mavericks struggled shooting from long distance, making only 6-of-35 attempts from three-point range.

Frustration boiled over late as Dallas coach Rick Carlisle and Doncic were ejected after receiving their second technical fouls with 31.8 seconds left.

New York Knicks 122-97 Houston Rockets

Julius Randle scored a game-high 31 points and authored the clinching run down the stretch of the third quarter as the New York Knicks opened their final road trip with a 122-97 victory over the Houston Rockets.

Randle added seven rebounds, six assists and four three-pointers to his ledger to lead the Knicks (36-28) to their 11th win in 12 games.

RJ Barrett chipped in 21 points and seven rebounds while Derrick Rose had 24 points off the bench for the Knicks, who maintained their hold on the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

After securing a double-digit lead with a 16-1 run midway through the first quarter, the Knicks essentially maintained that cushion until the cold-shooting Rockets (16-49) cut the deficit to 73-64 on a Christian Wood dunk with 5:35 remaining in the third period.

Houston took advantage of a sudden stretch of lackadaisical ball security from the Knicks, who committed just one turnover in the first half but had six in the third quarter through the Wood basket in the paint.

Randle responded to the Rockets’ threat with a driving layup and back-to-back three-pointers that stretched the lead to 81-64. And he was undeterred when Houston called a timeout to stem his tide, following three-pointers from Reggie Bullock and Rose and a Barrett free throw with another basket plus a three-point play at the 34-second mark to cap his 15-point third period.

While the Rockets were playing the second half of a back-to-back and their third game in four nights, the Knicks were playing for the first time since Wednesday. Fittingly, their energy carried them to that early lead, with Houston missing three field goals and three free throws during the Knicks’ aforementioned 16-1 run. The Knicks shot 6-of-10 from deep to take control in the first quarter.

Phoenix Suns 123-120 Oklahoma City Thunder

Devin Booker scored 32 points to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 123-120 road win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Suns (46-18) extended their winning streak to four, moving into a tie with the Utah Jazz for the top spot in the Western Conference. Phoenix holds the tie-breaker.

A night after sustaining the largest home loss in NBA history – a 152-95 defeat to Indiana – the Thunder stayed within striking distance much of the night.

The Suns led by 16 with 3:29 to play but the Thunder reeled off a 14-2 run to move within four with 36.8 seconds left. It looked like Phoenix’s lead would shrink even further when Booker was called for a foul on Luguentz Dort with 16 seconds left as Dort elevated for a three-pointer.

But Suns coach Monty Williams challenged the call, it was overturned and Phoenix won the jump, with Mikal Bridges putting the game away at the free-throw line with six seconds left.

The loss was Oklahoma City’s 20th in 22 games and their third in a row.

The win was Phoenix’s first in Oklahoma City since December 19, 2010, snapping a 16-game losing streak in the arena.

Philadelphia 76ers 113-111 San Antonio Spurs (OT)

Ben Simmons made a game-winning tip-in at the buzzer in overtime and Joel Embiid scored 34 points and took 12 rebounds as the Philadelphia 76ers outlasted the short-handed San Antonio Spurs 113-111 in a wild game in the Alamo City.

The 76ers (43-21) had to work hard to hold off San Antonio, as the Spurs, down four starters, tied the game at 107 with Keldon Johnson’s putback lay-up with 1:03 to play. Misses by both teams in the final minute sent the game to an extra period.

Points were at a premium in the overtime, and Rudy Gay’s driving layup with 19.1 seconds left tied the game at 111. Embiid’s shot with one second remaining bounced off the rim but Simmons leaped high and tipped in the rebound to provide the 76ers their fourth straight win.

Simmons’ tip-in was the 76ers’ only basket in overtime. Philadelphia moved ahead of the Brooklyn Nets, who lost on Sunday to the Milwaukee Bucks, and into first place in the Eastern Conference.

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