Giannis Antetokounmpo’s fourth triple-double in 11 games leads Bucks

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NEW YORK (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 28 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds, nearly getting his fourth triple-double in the last 11 games by halftime, and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Brooklyn Nets 109-100 on Sunday night.

Antetokounmpo already had 12 points, nine assists and eight rebounds by the half on his way to becoming the first Bucks player with four triple-doubles in a season. All of them have come since Feb. 22.

Jabari Parker added 23 points, and Khris Middleton had 19 points to help the Bucks win their third straight game.

Brook Lopez scored 20 points for the Nets, who dropped their fourth in a row. Sean Kilpatrick added 19 in his first home game with the Nets after they returned from a franchise-record, nine-game trip.

Data curated by PointAfter

The Nets committed 12 turnovers that led to 17 points in the fourth quarter as Milwaukee seized control after trailing 79-78 through three.

Antetokounmpo, who had a highlight dunk in the first half when he jumped from just near the foul line on the fast break, set up Miles Plumlee‘s dunk that put Milwaukee ahead for good at 99-98 with 3:21 to play. The Bucks kept expanding it from there on a finishing 12-2 run, helped repeatedly by the Nets’ turnovers that sent Antetokounmpo leading a fast break in the other direction.

TIP-INS

Bucks: Because of plane trouble, the Bucks didn’t get into New York until early Sunday afternoon. Their plane wasn’t able to take off Saturday night after their victory over New Orleans in Milwaukee, so they remained there overnight. … Antetokounmpo’s seven assists in the first quarter matched the high for a Bucks player in any period this season.

Nets: Brooklyn was swept in the three-game season series. The Nets dropped the first two in their first seven games of the season. … G Wayne Ellington missed the game with an upper respiratory infection. … Brooklyn wore “Los Nets” jerseys as part of the NBA’s Latin Nights series.

WHERE DID EVERYBODY GO?

Lopez is the only player remaining from the Brooklyn team that Kidd coached to the second round in the 2013-14 season. Kidd got the Bucks job that July in what began the team’s breakup. Paul Pierce wasn’t re-signed and many more moves followed.

“That happens in sports. Change happens all the time, from coaches to players, so the teams that tend to win are the ones who stick together, are together for a long time,” Kidd said. “You look at Golden State, you look at San Antonio, you look at Oklahoma City, those are the teams that are atop the NBA and those are the teams that tend to win, so for Brooklyn or Milwaukee, we’re all trying to strive to be consistent.”

 

Ben Simmons leaves game in first quarter, to have MRI on lower back Sunday

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Philadelphia, routed by Milwaukee on Saturday night and still starting on the road if the playoffs began today, may have another problem coming.

All-Star Ben Simmons skipped Thursday night’s game against Brooklyn with a sore lower back. He gave it a go Saturday in a nationally televised game against Milwaukee, but in the first quarter went back to the locker room not to return.

After the game, the news got more ominous.

Wojnarowski also reported, “There is some level of concern surrounding the possible nature of the injury.” That sounds ominous.

Simmons is averaging 16.9 points, 8.3 assists, and 7.9 rebounds a game for the Sixers this season as the starting point guard. He’s also been playing All-Defensive Team level defense. If he misses extended time, it will be rough on Philadelphia.

When there is word on the MRI results, we will have it here at NBC.

Bucks pull away in second half behind 31 from Giannis Antetokounmpo, rout Sixers

AP Photo/Morry Gash
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MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee Bucks turned a tight game with the Philadelphia 76ers into a mismatch immediately in the second half, led by the reigning league MVP.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 31 points and 17 rebounds, Khris Middleton scored 25 points and the Bucks beat the 76ers 119-98 on Saturday night in a matchup of Eastern Conference rivals.

Antetokounmpo scored Milwaukee’s first 11 points in the third quarter as the Bucks took advantage of the absence of Philadelphia big man Joel Embiid, who went to the bench less a minute into the period after picking up his fourth foul, and quickly put the game out of reach.

“We came out the third quarter and played fast,” Antetokounmpo said. “We were able to rebound the ball and just attack them. Joel had four fouls. That worked in our favor. We tried to be aggressive in the third quarter and set the tone.”

Antetokounmpo added eight assists as Milwaukee won for the 16th time in its last 18 games to improve its NBA-best record to 48-8.

The Bucks led 56-50 at the half before Antetokounmpo’s scoring outburst put the Bucks in control. Milwaukee would go on to outscore the 76ers 37-23 in the period.

Embiid, coming off a 39-point performance on Thursday night, had 17 points and 11 rebounds but shot just 5 for 18. Furkan Korkmaz and Shake Milton also scored 17 points apiece for the 76ers, who fell to 9-20 on the road.

“I liked what I was seeing in the first half, and the death knock was Joel sitting,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. “We just didn’t respond well to Milwaukee playing their tails off, and they shot the heck out of the ball.”

Philadelphia lost All-Star point guard Ben Simmons early in the first quarter. Simmons, who missed the 76ers’ previous game with lower back tightness, headed to the locker room after making consecutive driving layups, the second with a little more than 7 minutes left in the opening quarter. He didn’t return after the injured flared up.

“We never got in a rhythm. Losing Ben, then foul trouble, not making shots and some calls that could have gone a different way,” Embiid said. “But it’s on us.”

The 76ers shot just 35%, while the Bucks connected on 53% of their shots.

The Bucks got off to a scorching start, taking a 12-2 lead sparked by seven points from Antetokounmpo. Milwaukee led by as many as 11 in the quarter and held a 31-21 lead at the end.

Philadelphia pulled within 37-36 in the second before the Bucks used a 10-2 spurt to push the lead back to double digits.

Watch Dwyane Wade have his number retired by Heat

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Dwyane Wade is the greatest Miami Heat player ever.

He was at the heart of every championship the Heat won, he was active and beloved in the community, he was the face of the franchise.

Now his legacy is forever part of the American Airlines Arena — the Heat have retired his number.

Wade is a three-time champion, and 8-time All-NBA player, a 13-time All-Star, and a Finals MVP who averaged 22 points a game over his 16 year NBA career.

Next stop: Hall of Fame.

Stephen Curry cleared for contact, goes through full scrimmage with Warriors

Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images
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Stephen Curry is not sitting out the rest of the season. He wants back on the court — he’s targeting the first week of March — and the Warriors are not holding him out.

That got a step closer on Saturday when Curry went through a full scrimmage with the Warriors. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said this after practice, via NBC Sports Bay Area.

“Yeah he scrimmaged today, first day of scrimmaging,” Kerr told reporters at the Chase Center practice facility. “We only had seven other healthy players, so there were two coaches out there scrimmaging too, it was not pretty, but Steph looked great.”

The March return for Curry seems on track. Klay Thompson will not return to the court this season.

The Warriors are not playoff bound, but there is no reason to sit out Curry and tank, either.

First, that’s not the kind of culture the Warriors have built, coming off three titles in five years. Second, the fan base could use the boost of watching Curry drain deep threes after a disheartening season to this point. Third, and maybe most important, what exactly would they need to tank for, better draft position? This is a down draft to begin with, so anyone the Warriors select likely can’t help them much next season anyway (which is why there’s a lot of speculation the Warriors may try to trade the pick). Also, with the flattened out lottery odds, they don’t gain much anyway. The Warriors have the worst record in the NBA, but the three worst teams all have a 14 percent chance at the top pick, and the fourth worst is at 12.5 percent, fifth is 10.5 percent. Curry’s return for a month isn’t lifting the Warriors to the point teams will not want the pick.

We could all use to be reminded just how special Curry is as a player. Hopefully, we get to see that in a couple of weeks.