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Celtics counting on home-court edge over Bucks in Game 7

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BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Celtics knew they would be playing at TD Garden Saturday night, either against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 7 of the first round or the Philadelphia 76ers in the opener of Round 2.

Well, the Bucks maintained the home-court advantage that has held up throughout this series and defeated the Celtics in Milwaukee Thursday night, setting up Game 7 in Boston Saturday.

“We work hard all season to put ourselves in a position for home court, so we have a great opportunity on Saturday,” Al Horford said after the Bucks pulled out a 97-86 win Thursday night that kept the Bucks’ season alive.

“Game 7 at TD Garden is what you play for,” said Boston coach Brad Stevens, whose team won a seventh game against the Washington Wizards in last year’s Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Bucks, the seventh seed trying to upset No. 2, have lost eight straight series since winning two in 2001 and are 0-17 all-time when trailing a series 0-2. The Celtics are 35-0 when leading a series 2-0 and, of course, have all those banners hanging in the rafters.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, slowed by the Celtics in Game 5, scored 31 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in Thursday’s win that kept Milwaukee’s hopes of playing more games at the Bradley Center before the team moves to a new building next door.

“We’re a team that has shown a lot of resiliency all year,” interim coach Joe Prunty said. “We’ve had a game this year, twice, where we’ve been down 20 and found a way to come back and win both times. We continue to battle. We fight.”

The Bucks have won three of the last four games to stay in this series. They did split a pair of regular season games in Boston before going 0-3 there in the playoffs.

Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 26.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game in the series, blamed himself for the Game 5 loss in Boston and felt the need to take over in Game 6. He wasn’t a one-man wrecking crew but seemed to score every time it was needed.

“I thought he played great,” said Prunty. “I don’t think he forced anything. I think he took opportunities that were there for him. He knows the spots to get to, but we also have to give him spacing around him to make sure we are in the right spots so that he has room to operate. … Overall, Giannis played an outstanding game. One of his best plays was the offensive rebound where he pretty much just jumped up, put his arms up, made a play that very few people in this league can make.”

Said teammate Thon Maker: “He showed that (takeover ability) tonight. He proved to himself he’s comfortable where he’s at. He’s humble, he knows what he’s capable of. He said it this morning that he’s going to take shots he’s comfortable with, not shots he don’t work on.”

Boston’s Marcus Morris, who took a knee to the thigh in Game 6, was asked if he thought the injury was serious. “Even if it was, you’d have to cut my leg off for me not to play (Saturday),” he said.

NBA playoff schedule 2020: Date, time, matchup for every game

NBA playoff schedule 2020
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And there were four.

The NBA is down to the conference finals — and the bubble has provided us with upsets galore. There are some unexpected teams in the NBA’s Final Four, but of course LeBron James is still there. The Lakers are the heavy favorites at this point.

Here are a few notes on the NBA playoffs schedule 2020:

• The NBA is continuing to push the pace with games every other day — except in the East, when ESPN wants a break not to clash with the NFL, and to let the West catch up. The fast pace of games will return with the NBA Finals.
Families for the players, and with the final four now the coaches, are in the bubble.
• The NBA has released an NBA Finals schedule to teams and their target is still a Sept. 30 Game 1. If either conference finals goes seven games that date will need to be pushed back.

Here is the NBA playoffs schedule 2020 (all times are Eastern):

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

No. 3 Boston Celtics vs. No. 5 Miami Heat

Game 1: Heat 117, Celtics 114, OT
Game 2: Heat 106, Celtics 101
Game 3: Celtics 117, Heat 106
Game 4: Heat 112, Celtics 109 (Miami leads series 3-1)
Game 5: Sept. 25, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 6: Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)*
Game 7: TBD (ESPN)*
*If necessary

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers vs. No. 3 Denver Nuggets

Game 1: Lakers 126, Nuggets 114
Game 2: Lakers 105, Nuggets 103
Game 3: Nuggets 114, Lakers 106 (Lakers lead series 2-1)
Game 4: Sept. 24, 9 p.m. (TNT)
Game 5: Sept. 26, 9 p.m. (TNT)
Game 6: Sept. 28, TBD (TNT)*
Game 7: Sept. 30, TBD (TNT)*
*If necessary

NBA playoffs schedule 2020: Second Round results

Eastern Conference

No. 3 Boston beat No. 2 Toronto 4-3

No. 5 Miami beat No. 1 Milwaukee 4-1

Western Conference

No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers beat Houston 4-1

No. 3 Denver beat No. 2 Los Angeles Clippers 4-3

NBA playoffs schedule 2020: First Round results

Western Conference

No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers beat No. 8 Portland 4-1

No. 2 L.A. Clippers beat No. 7 Dallas 4-2

No. 3 Denver beat No. 6 Utah 4-3

No. 4 Houston beat No. 5 Oklahoma City 4-3

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Milwaukee beat No. 8 Orlando 4-1

No. 2 Toronto beat No. 7 Brooklyn 4-0

No. 3 Boston beat No. 6 Philadelphia 4-0

No. 5 Miami beat No. 4 Indiana 4-0

PBT Podcast: Which players’ stock rose most in the bubble?

Jamal Murray Donovan Mitchell
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In the wake of Tyler Herro looking like the best offensive player Miami has seen since some guy decided to go back home to Cleveland, the question becomes what players have helped themselves the most in the bubble, and in the playoffs in particular?

Not coincidentally, Miami and Denver have a lot of those players, with the Nuggets Jamal Murray probably topping the list.

Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman of NBC Sports get into that, talk some Boston/Miami series, and also talk about the recent coaching carousel including Billy Donovan to Chicago and the fact no team has hired a Black coach this offseason.

As always, you can check out the podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out the NBC Sports Podcast homepage and archive at Art19.

We want your questions for future podcasts, and your comments, so please email us at PBTpodcast@gmail.com.

Juancho Hernangomez missing Timberwolves workouts to film Adam Sandler movie

Timberwolves forward Juancho Hernangomez
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The Timberwolves, like the other seven teams not invited to the NBA’s restart at Disney World, are holding workouts.

Not in Minnesota: Forward Juancho Hernangomez.

Chris Hine of the StarTribune:

A team spokesperson said Hernangomez is filming Adam Sandler’s latest project in Philadelphia.

Netflix is producing the film, called “Hustle.”

And people thought LeBron James – also a producer of “Hustle,” which is about a basketball scout who finds talent oversees – prioritized Hollywood over hoops.

A Spain native, Hernangomez will be a free agent this offseason. The Timberwolves can make him restricted.

But how could anyone want a player who doesn’t respect the sanctity of voluntary workouts occurring several months before next season (besides his 3-point shooting, rebounding and defensive versatility)?

Buddy Hield fuels 76ers trade rumor

Kings guard Buddy Hield vs. 76ers
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A rumor emerged about the Kings trading Buddy Hield to the 76ers. It didn’t seem particularly credible.

But then Hield himself liked this Instagram post promoting a potential trade and apparently made a pro-Philadelphia comment on Instagram:

Hield previously laid the groundwork for an offseason trade request. He seemed unhappy at times in Sacramento this season, losing his starting job and even riding the bench when the Kings needed a 3-pointer.

The 76ers could use more shooting – especially if they hire Mike D’Antoni. Hield would definitely add value. A lineup where Hield and Josh Richardson defend guards and Ben Simmons plays point guard offensively and defends a frontcourt player is intriguing.

Hield is set to earn $24,931,817 next season in the first year of a four-year extension. That’s in the range of Tobias Harris ($34,358,850) and Al Horford ($27,500,000).

However, Horford’s trade value is at rock bottom. Tobias Harris would add only so much value to Sacramento, which already has Harrison Barnes.

Kings fans can hope for Ben Simmons ($28,750,000) or Joel Embiid ($29,542,010). But those stars are FAR more valuable than Hield. Besides, the 76ers said they wouldn’t trade Simmons or Embiid (though it’s unclear who exactly is running the show in Philadelphia).

Regardless of whether the Kings and 76ers could connect on a trade, Hield making these public gestures is an issue in Sacramento. It’s on new Kings general manager Monte McNair to manage this. After years of supporting Daryl Morey with the Rockets, this is a new challenge – being in charge while a player makes waves – for McNair.

Relatedly, McNair must also handle Bogdan Bogdanovic‘s impending restricted free agency. These look like warning shots from Hield as Sacramento determines its priorities at shooting guard.