– Clint Capela and the Hawks get the job done in the NBA
Atlanta earned its fourth straight win and cemented its tenth place finish in the Conference by beating Cleveland by more than 20 points.
Milwaukee, carried by Giannis Antetokounmpo in MVP mode, snatched the victory (120-119 ap) in Brooklyn, after a magnificent duel which could prefigure a fiery reunion in the first round of the NBA play-offs, which could not see the Lakers, beaten Thursday at Utah.
On their way to the title last year, the Bucks had dismissed the Nets in the semi-finals of the Eastern Conference after an exceptional series, completed after extra time in game N.7.
It is this type of match offered by the two teams at Barclays Center, driven, in the home straight of the regular season, by separate objectives. Brooklyn (8th) wants to finish 7th in order to receive in the play-off, Milwaukee (2nd) aims for the top of the standings, to also have the advantage of the floor, but in the play-offs.
Antetokounmpo, despite a shovelful of lost balls (8), was as usual the strongman of the Bucks (44 pts, 14 rebounds, 6 assists). His award-winning Stephen Curry-style step-back shot sent his team into overtime, overtaking legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the franchise’s leading scorer.
His two free throws, an area where he is less and less feverish (15/19), in the dying seconds ensured success for the Bucks, who were then relieved to see the winning shot, attempted at the buzzer by Kevin Durant behind the arc, finally coming out of the hoop.
The « Greek Freak » (the Greek monster) was assisted by Jrue Holiday (19 pts), because Khris Middleton (16 pts) was excluded for a flagrant foul in the 3rd quarter, for having caught, in the flight, the arm of Bruce Brown (23 pts) who fell heavily, without being injured however.
50 points for DeRozan
On the strength of this second victory in a row, Milwaukee slightly widens the gap on Philadelphia (4th), which conceded its third consecutive defeat (102-94) at the poorly ranked Detroit (14th). Joel Embiid (37 pts, 15 rebounds) nevertheless held his rank, unlike James Harden (18 pts, 4/15 on shots, 9 rebounds, 7 assists).
And the team, which led at the start, sank in the last quarter (29-15), Saddiq Bey scoring 10 of his 20 points in the last four minutes for the Pistons, also guided by Cade Cunningham (27 pts ), Killian Hayes contributing 10 units (3 interceptions).
Behind the Sixers, the Bulls (5th) winners of the Clippers (135-130) are approaching, thanks to the big box of DeMar DeRozan, author of 50 points (two units from his personal best), including ten in overtime.
The Hawks consolidate their 10th place
The Atlanta Hawks of Clint Capela for their part consolidated their tenth place in the Eastern Conference, synonymous with qualifying play-offs, by winning 131-107 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Geneva pivot has made a record consistent with its standards: 12 points (5 out of 9 shooting, 2 out of 5 free throw) and 14 rebounds (including 6 offensive). He finished the match (23’02 » of playing time) with a differential of +24.
Renaud Tschoumy is a journalist at Sport-Center. He turned to the web in 2012. Previously, he covered football news for 12 years (and in particular the Swiss team) for “Le Matin”.