Milwaukee Bucks edge closer to second seed in East with defeat of Miami Heat

The rivals are on track to meet in the first round of the post-season.

By Press Association Published: 16 May 2021 - 6.23am
Basketball

NBA

Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks continued their charge towards securing the Eastern Conference’s number two seed with a 122-108 win over the Miami Heat.

Khris Middleton and Bryn Forbes poured in 21 points each for the Bucks in a preview of their possible first-round play-offs encounter against the Heat, who knocked Milwaukee out of the post-season last year.

The Bucks, currently third in the East, could snatch second seeding if they beat the Chicago Bulls on Sunday and the Brooklyn Nets lose to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Miami will qualify either fifth or sixth.

The Nets had their three biggest players – Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden – on court together for the first time in three months as they took on the Bulls in New York.

The big three did not make a huge impact – Irving top-scored among the trio with 22 points – but the hosts still overcame a 12-0 deficit in the first quarter to finish 105-91 victors over Chicago, who were knocked out of play-in contention on Friday.

Across town Julius Randle had 33 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds as his New York Knicks went 118-109 over the Charlotte Hornets in overtime.

Milwaukee’s win over Miami means New York clinch the East’s fourth seed if on Sunday they defeat the Boston Celtics, who cannot improve their position after locking in a spot in the play-in.

The Celtics snapped a four-game losing streak after accounting for the Minnesota Timberwolves 124-108 in Minneapolis, with Jayson Tatum scoring 26 points and adding 11 rebounds.

Devin Booker had 27 points as his Phoenix Suns kept alive their hopes of taking the top seed in the Western Conference from the Utah Jazz with a 140-103 drubbing of the San Antonio Spurs in which 13 different Suns players scored points and seven hit double figures.

The Los Angeles Lakers kept alive their hopes of avoiding the West’s play-in after a 122-115 victory against the Indiana Pacers – the Lakers can make their conference’s top six if they beat the New Orleans Pelicans and the Denver Nuggets defeat the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.

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