Antetokounmpo return sparks Bucks over Kings, Celtics upset
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Giannis Antetokounmpo returned from harm with a vengeance on Monday, scoring 46 factors to steer the Milwaukee Bucks to a come-from-behind 133-124 victory over the in-form Sacramento Kings.
A tense duel in Sacramento ended with tempers flaring because the Bucks’ Brook Lopez and Sacramento’s Trey Lyles clashed angrily within the closing seconds, sparking a mass melee and the ejection of each gamers.
Antetokounmpo completed with 12 rebounds and 4 assists along with his 46 factors because the Bucks discovered their scoring contact within the third and fourth quarters to pile up 80 second-half factors.
Two-time NBA Most Precious Participant Antetokounmpo had missed the Bucks’ final three video games, together with Saturday’s defeat to the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco.
However his return to the line-up could not have been extra well timed in opposition to a Sacramento staff who’ve emerged because the shock package deal of the Western Convention, the place they sit in third place behind Denver and Memphis.
Antetokounmpo was backed by 31 factors from Khris Middleton and 23 factors from Lopez because the Bucks overturned a 15-point deficit to assert victory.
De’Aaron Fox led Sacramento’s scoring with 35 factors from 13-of-23 taking pictures.
The win cemented Milwaukee’s grip on high spot within the Japanese Convention.
The Bucks improved to 49-19 and have opened up a 2.5 sport lead over second-placed Boston, surprisingly overwhelmed by lowly Houston earlier on Monday.
In different video games on Monday, Klay Thompson flirted with breaking his single-game three-point taking pictures document as Golden State claimed one other heavyweight scalp with a 123-112 win over the Phoenix Suns on the Chase Middle.
Thompson completed with 38 factors, 33 of them scored in a outstanding first half that included eight three-pointers.
Thompson’s contact abandoned him in a scoreless third quarter nonetheless, that means he was unable to problem his document of 14 threes in a sport set in 2018.
“There’s gonna be lulls — I want I might rating 33 factors each half however I am rather more happy with the win,” Thompson mentioned.
Steph Curry completed with 23 factors and Jordan Poole 20 for the Warriors, who improved to 36-33 and are fifth within the Western Convention standings.
– Celtics surprised by Rockets –
The upset of the day got here in Houston, the place the Rockets surprised Boston 111-109 regardless of a 43-point efficiency from Celtics ace Jaylen Brown.
The second-placed Celtics had been seeking to shut the hole on Milwaukee in opposition to a Houston staff who’re propping up the Western Convention with the league’s worst document.
However the Celtics have been caught chilly by a fired-up Houston, who shared the scoring round in a decent contest that noticed 15 lead modifications.
Jalen Inexperienced led the Rockets scoring with 28 factors whereas 5 Houston gamers completed in double figures.
Boston might have compelled time beyond regulation however Jayson Tatum missed a driving layup within the last seconds as Houston held on for the win.
“You have to take the photographs you’ve got whenever you’re open,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla mentioned. “Offensive rebounds, second likelihood factors, turnovers -– that is the sport.”
In different video games, Jimmy Butler guided Miami to victory down the stretch within the Warmth’s 119-115 win over the Utah Jazz.
“Jimmy’s vitality, relentlessness and aggressiveness in these type of minutes is super-unique,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra mentioned.
Butler completed with 24 factors as seven Miami gamers completed in double figures.
Tyler Herro and Gabe Vincent completed with 18 factors apiece whereas Bam Adebayo added 16 factors and Kevin Love 11. Victor Oladipo and Caleb Martin mixed for 21 off the bench.
Lauri Markkanen led Utah’s scoring with 38 factors however Miami confirmed the higher composure at key factors in a sport the place the lead modified fingers 17 instances.
Miami, who improved to 37-33, are seventh within the East, one spot outdoors the automated postseason playoff spots with 12 video games left.
“We simply need to proceed to grind and work out the right way to win another skirmishes,” Spoelstra mentioned.
“At this level, with 12 video games left, it is simply nonetheless we have to do it, we simply need to do it.”