/About Last Night: Bucks maintain control of East

About Last Night: Bucks maintain control of East

No team in the NBA has beaten the Milwaukee Bucks twice this season. In a couple months, some lucky team will be tasked of doing it four times.

The Boston Celtics came close to earning their second victory against Milwaukee this season, but ultimately lost 98-97 after Kia MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in 30 points, 13 rebounds and six assists.

The Bucks held the Celtics under 100 points on Thursday, which had only happened once since mid-November. Kyrie Irving’s frigid shooting didn’t help the cause as the All-Star point guard missed 18 of his 27 attempts.

The Bucks’ biggest defensive play of the night came when Giannis violently chased down Tatum’s dunk attempt.
 

 

Milwaukee officially won the season series to clinch the tiebreaker, though a chance at that even mattering at this point are slim. As it stands, the Celtics are fifth in the East and 7.5 games behind the Bucks.

The Bucks sits atop the Eastern Conference with a 44-14 record. When facing the East’s next top four teams ― Toronto, Philadelphia, Boston and Indiana ― Milwaukee boast a commanding 8-3 record.

Again, good luck beating them four times.


Buddy… 

What was Buddy Hield doing?!

Hield, who fans have enjoyed rooting for all season as part of the resurgent Kings, passed up a wide-open, go-ahead shot on the road against the defending champions and settled for a contested turnaround jumper.

Here’s the actual play, with Sacramento down 125-123 with 6.5 seconds left on the clock.
 

                    

 

Was it deep? Sure, but Hield leads the NBA in wide open threes and had just connected from that same spot about 12 seconds prior (and that one was in the face of a lengthy Kevin Durant).

“I thought he was gonna shoot it,” Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox said after the game. “We were like ‘You shoulda shot that (expletive).'”

Nonetheless, you have to love the fight in Hield and these Kings, who came into the season as the sixth-most inexperienced squad in the league and were projected to be in the lottery yet again.

Now they’re in a realistic battle for the playoffs in a cutthroat Western Conference. Sacramento is 1.5 games out of the eighth seed, stationed behind the LA Clippers. Landing at that spot would presumably set up a Warriors-Kings first-round matchup, which is one enticing possibility after seeing how these two teams played each other this season.

The Warriors won all four games, but three points was the combined margin of victory. Even Kevin Durant knows those victories weren’t a given.

“That’s the fourth game that we deserved to lose against this team,” Durant said.

 

Curry still feelin’ it

Coming off his impressive dunk to close out last Sunday’s All-Star Game, Stephen Curry carried his momentum into some real action for his first dunk of the season.

                     

 

Iverson’s tribute to Wade

Hall of Famer Allen Iverson delivered a tribute video to another player set to join him in Springfield, Mass., one day. Iverson recognized Dwyane Wade during the Heat legend’s final game in Philadelphia.

“You were so great for us fans,” Iverson said. “So entertaining. So exciting for us to watch. Definitely one of the best two guards to ever play the game.”

Wade recorded a team-high 19 points and six rebounds in the loss to the Sixers. The 37-year-old also added one bock to his stat sheet, swatting away former teammate and good friend Jimmy Butler with some solid help defense.

                      

 

With Wade’s final post-All-Star-break here, it’s time to start counting down how many games the Heat’s all-time leading scorer has left.

Twenty-five.

There are just 25 more regular season games to watch one of the most tantalizing shooting guards the league has ever seen, who exchanged his jersey with an up-and-coming guard wearing No. 25.

 

Napier’s helpers

Shabazz Napier diced up his former team in the first half, dishing eight assists in just eight minutes. For his eighth dime ― he finished with 10 in the loss ― the fifth-year point guard looked like a football center: hike it and protect the man behind you.