No group within the NBA has crushed the Milwaukee Bucks twice this season. In a number of months, some fortunate group can be tasked with doing it 4 instances.
The Boston Celtics got here near incomes their second victory in opposition to Milwaukee this season, however in the end misplaced 98-97 after Kia MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in 30 factors, 13 rebounds and 6 assists.
The Bucks held the Celtics beneath 100 factors on Thursday, which had solely occurred as soon as since mid-November. Kyrie Irving’s frigid capturing didn’t assist the trigger because the All-Star level guard missed 18 of his 27 makes an attempt.
The Bucks’ greatest defensive play of the evening got here when Giannis violently chased down Jayson Tatum’s dunk try.
Milwaukee formally received the season collection to clinch the tiebreaker, although an opportunity at that even mattering at this level are slim. Because it stands, the Celtics are fifth within the East and seven.5 video games behind the Bucks.
Mike Budenholzer’s group sits atop the Jap Convention with a 44-14 report. When going in opposition to the East’s subsequent high 4 groups ― Toronto, Indiana, Philadelphia and Boston ― the Bucks boast an Eight-Three report.
Once more, good luck beating them 4 instances — not to mention in seven video games.
What was Buddy Hield doing?!
Buddy Hield, for no matter cause, passes up an open go-ahead Three from the identical spot he hit one 14 seconds prior. Drives into visitors, tosses up contested miss. Warriors survive.
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 22, 2019
Buddy Hield shouldn’t have second-guessed himself. He had an opportunity to grab that win from Golden State by hitting a shot he could make. However he hesitated, then drove inside for a contested airball. For the Kings to fend off LeBron & make the playoffs, they’ve obtained to remain fearless
— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) February 22, 2019
Buddy ought to have simply taken that lengthy shot.
— Akis (@Aykis16) February 22, 2019
Hield, who followers have loved rooting for all season as a part of the resurgent Kings, handed up a wide-open, go-ahead shot on the street in opposition to the defending champions and settled for a contested turnaround jumper as an alternative.
Right here’s the precise play, with Sacramento down 125-123 and 6.5 seconds left on the clock.
Was it deep? Certain, however Hield leads the NBA in huge open 3s made and had simply related from that very same spot about 12 seconds prior (and that one was within the face of a prolonged Kevin Durant).
“I ought to’ve pulled it, man,” Hield mentioned after the sport. “I ought to’ve pulled it, no excuse.”
“I believed he was gonna shoot it,” mentioned Kings level guard De’Aaron Fox. “We had been like ‘You shoulda shot that (expletive).'”
Nonetheless, it’s a must to love the battle in Hield and these Kings, who got here into the season because the sixth-most inexperienced squad within the league and had been projected to be within the lottery but once more.
Now they’re in a practical battle for the playoffs in a cutthroat Western Convention. Sacramento is 1.5 video games out of the eighth seed, stationed behind the LA Clippers. Touchdown at that spot would presumably arrange a Warriors-Kings first-round matchup, which is one attractive risk after seeing how these two groups performed one another this season.
The Warriors received all 4 video games, however three factors was the mixed margin of victory. Even Kevin Durant can admit neither of these had been a given.
“That is the fourth sport that we deserved to lose in opposition to this group,” he mentioned.
Lakers on Kings’ heels
What if Hield’s late choice ultimately haunts Sacramento?
That is clearly not quantifiable ― he actually might’ve missed the shot ― nevertheless it would possibly actually cross the sharpshooter’s thoughts come April if the Kings simply miss the postseason (he mentioned himself he is all the time checking the standings and playoff race).
The Los Angeles Lakers, combating from the West’s 10th spot, now path Sacramento by one sport after a 111-106 comeback victory in opposition to the Rockets.
LeBron James declared earlier within the day that his playoff-mode has been activated. He continued that mantra after the win.
”I must be in that stage proper now. Figuring out the circumstances we’re in and kick beginning one thing,” mentioned James, who completed with a modest 29 factors, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. ”I like the place I’m at and can proceed to get higher. Tonight was a step in the precise route.’
Curry nonetheless feelin’ it
Coming off his spectacular dunk to shut out final Sunday’s All-Star Recreation, Stephen Curry carried his momentum into some actual motion for his very first dunk of the season.
Iverson’s tribute to Wade
Corridor of Famer Allen Iverson delivered a tribute video to a different participant set to affix him in Springfield, Mass., sooner or later. Iverson acknowledged Dwyane Wade in the course of the Warmth legend’s last sport in Philadelphia.
“You had been so nice for us followers,” Iverson mentioned. “So entertaining. So thrilling for us to look at. Positively among the finest two guards to ever play the sport.”
.@alleniverson shares a message with @DwyaneWade earlier than one final cease in Philadelphia.#OneLastDance | #HereTheyComepic.twitter.com/2DsvrPLHaK
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) February 22, 2019
Wade recorded a team-high 19 factors and 6 rebounds within the loss to the Sixers. The 37-year-old additionally added one block to his stat sheet, swatting away former teammate and good good friend Jimmy Butler with some strong assist protection.
With Wade’s last post-All-Star-break right here, it’s time to begin counting down what number of video games the Warmth’s all-time main scorer has left.
There are simply 25 extra common season video games to look at one of the crucial tantalizing capturing guards the league has ever seen, who exchanged his jersey with an up-and-coming guard sporting No. 25.
#OneLastDance@MountainDew | #HereTheyComepic.twitter.com/jrLPjqg3Gc
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) February 22, 2019
Enes Kanter made his debut for the Path Blazers and was relatively productive in Portland’s win over Brooklyn. The Turkish large man completed with 18 factors (Eight-9 FG) and 9 rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench.
After spending the final season-and-a-half in New York, Kanter says he forgot the way it feels to be within the win column.
Wow! That’s how successful feels 🤔
I can get use to that 😅#RipCity
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) February 22, 2019
Shabazz Napier diced up his former group within the first half, dishing eight assists in simply eight minutes. For his eighth dime ― he completed with 10 within the loss ― the fifth-year level guard regarded like a soccer heart: hike it and defend the person behind you.