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Giannis Antetokounmpo scores 45 as Milwaukee Bucks beat Philadelphia 76ers to seal top seed

Early blitz helps Warriors to victory over Lakers; Kings beat Cavs to stay on track for winning season

Friday 5 April 2019 08:00, UK

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks moves the ball up court during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on April 4, 2019 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Image: Giannis Antetokounmpo starred with 45 points as the Bucks delivered a statement victory in Philadelphia

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 45 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as the Milwaukee Bucks claimed a 128-122 comeback victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday to clinch the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Thursday night's scores

  • Milwaukee Bucks 128-122 Philadelphia 76ers
  • Cleveland Cavaliers 104-117 Sacramento Kings
  • Golden State Warriors 108-90 Los Angeles Lakers
Conference standings

Conference standings

Who has made the playoffs? Who has missed out?

Milwaukee Bucks 128-122 Philadelphia 76ers

NBA Milwaukee Bucks v Philadelphia 76ers 3:13
Highlights from the NBA as Milwaukee Bucks took on Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center Philadelphia

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 45 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as the Milwaukee Bucks claimed a 128-122 comeback victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday to clinch the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Khris Middleton scored 22 points for the Bucks, who will enter the playoffs as the No 1 seed in the Eastern Conference for the first time in franchise history. They were top seed in the Western Conference three times in their first six years of existence, the last in the 1973-74 season.

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Joel Embiid recorded his second career triple-double with 34 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists in his return from a three-game absence caused by a left knee soreness.

JJ Reddick added 29 points and Mike Scott scored 22 as the Sixers failed to solidify their hold on the No 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia (49-30) lost for a third consecutive game and saw their lead over both Boston and Indiana slip to two games with three games remaining.

Khris Middleton #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks shoots the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers on April 4, 2019 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Image: Khris Middleton backed up Antetokounmpo with 22 points

The Sixers took a 118-113 lead with 2:54 remaining on a three-pointer from Scott, but George Hill helped lead the Bucks' rally with seven points in a 52-second stretch inside of two minutes to play. Hill gave the Bucks their first lead of the second half at 121-119 with 1:02 remaining after on a fast-break layup.

Hill finished with 20 points while Sterling Brown scored 12 and D.J. Wilson had 11 for the Bucks. Ben Simmons had 13 assists for Philadelphia.

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The playoff intensity with which the game between two of the top three teams in the East would be played was set early. Less than three minutes into the game, an on-court incident between the Bucks' Eric Bledsoe and Embiid ended with Bledsoe's ejection because of two technical fouls.

Embiid and Scott also received technicals, with Bledsoe tossed after he threw the basketball into the midsection of Embiid.

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By clinching the top spot in the East with three games to play, the Bucks have the opportunity to rest Antetokounmpo for at least a game. The All-Star missed Milwaukee's Sunday game at Atlanta because of a sore right ankle.

Golden State Warriors 108-90 Los Angeles Lakers

NBA Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers 1:54
Highlights from the NBA as Golden State Warriors took on Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center.

DeMarcus Cousins scored eight of his game-high 21 points in the first seven minutes as the visiting Golden State Warriors blitzed the Los Angeles Lakers early en route to a 108-90 victory.

The win allowed the Warriors (54-24) to reduce their magic number to two for clinching the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

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Golden State potentially could clinch that honour on Friday night, when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers about one hour after the Denver Nuggets (52-26) tip off at home against the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Warriors completed their sixth straight season-series win over the Lakers in dominant fashion, never looking back after Los Angeles native Klay Thompson bombed in a three-pointer just 13 seconds into the game.

DeMarcus Cousins #0 of the Golden State Warriors drives to the basket against Rajon Rondo #9 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center on April 04, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Image: DeMarcus Cousins recorded a double-double for the Warriors

Kevin Durant hit three three-pointers, Thompson added another, and Draymond Green and Alfonzo McKinnie chipped in with one apiece as the Warriors bombarded the Lakers with seven first-quarter treys en route to 39-12 lead.

Despite outscoring the Warriors in the second and fourth quarters, the Lakers were never appreciably closer the rest of the way.

Cousins finished 9-for-17 and connected on three three-pointers in 23 minutes, finding time to for 10 rebounds, too. Quinn Cook came off the bench to score 18 for the Warriors, while Durant (15 points), Green (12) and Thompson (11) also scored in double figures.

Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors passes the ball during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers on April 4, 2019 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California.
Image: Kevin Durant made five of his seven field goal attempts in a 15-point showing

Stephen Curry, who never scored more than 15 points in any of four games against the Lakers this season, recorded a team-high-tying 10 rebounds to go with seven assists and seven points.

Reserve Johnathan Williams paced the Lakers with 17 points, hitting eight of his 14 shots. He also had a game-high-tying 13 rebounds. Moe Wagner scored 13 points, Rajon Rondo 12 and Mike Muscala 11 for the Lakers (35-44), who failed in their attempt to surpass last year's win total. They will have three more opportunities to do so.

Cleveland Cavaliers 104-117 Sacramento Kings

NBA Cleveland Cavaliers v Sacramento Kings 1:24
Highlights from the NBA as Cleveland Cavaliers took on Sacramento Kings at the Golden 1 Center

Buddy Hield scored a game-high 23 points to help the Sacramento Kings post a 117-104 victory over the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers.

Bogdan Bogdanovic added 18 points, and De'Aaron Fox recorded 16 points and 10 assists for the Kings. Marvin Bagley III registered 15 points and eight rebounds, and Nemanja Bjelica had 10 points.

Jordan Clarkson scored 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting for the Cavaliers, who lost their seventh straight game and fell to 6-34 on the road. Collin Sexton added 19 points, Cedi Osman scored 17, Ante Zizic contributed 14 points and 10 rebounds and Larry Nance Jr. had 11 points and 16 rebounds.

Buddy Hield #24 of the Sacramento Kings shoots three point basket against the Cleveland Cavaliers on April 4, 2019 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.
Image: Buddy Hield led with Sacramento Kings with 23 points

Cleveland (19-60) have now lost 60 or more games for the fifth time in franchise history. Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love (shoulder) missed his third straight contest.

The victory helps Sacramento (39-40) in their quest to end a 12-season string of losing campaigns. The last time the Kings finished .500 or better was when the Rick Adelman-coached squad went 44-38 in 2005-06.

Sacramento shot 49.5 per cent from the field, including 14 of 38 from three-point range. The Cavaliers shot 54.3 per cent and were 11 of 25 from behind the arc, but they were done in by 20 turnovers, compared to just six by the Kings.

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