NBA Playoffs: Bucks and Warriors progress after sealing the deal at home
Milwaukee, Wisconsin - The reigning NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks put on a dominating show on Wednesday, closing out their series with a 116-100 win against the Chicago Bulls, taking the series 4-1.
The Bulls had their backs up against the wall, and their plight was made even tougher when star Zach LaVine and defensive ace Alex Caruso were ruled out due to health and safety protocols.
By the end of the first quarter, Milwaukee led 34-18, and they went on to also win the second and third quarters to hold a lead of at least 20 points throughout.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way for the Bucks, scoring 33 points on 11-of-15 shooting and also going 11-of-14 from the free throw line.
Jrue Holiday was solid in his point guard duties, dishing nine assists to go with his 10 points and five rebounds, while Bobby Portis was a force inside, scoring 14 points and snatching down 17 rebounds.
For the Bulls, DeMar DeRozan was disappointing in a must-win clash, finishing with just 10 points and seven assists, while only attempting 10 field goal attempts in 42 minutes.
Intriguing second-year forward Patrick Williams led Chicago in scoring with 23 points on nine-of-13 shooting, going four-of-seven from long range, while Nikola Vucevic had 19 points, 16 rebounds and six assists.
The Bucks will now take on the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals, with Game 1 set to take place this weekend.
Jokic can't stop Warriors from clinching it
The Golden State Warriors had to fight back against the Denver Nuggets, closing out the series 4-1 with a 102-98 win while sporting a new-look starting five.
Steph Curry made his first start since he was eased back from a foot injury, joined by both Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson.
The Dubs – who hadn't won a playoff series since 2019 – left it late, cutting away at an eight-point deficit from the last change, before a Gary Payton II triple gave them the eventual lead with seven minutes remaining. Throughout the fourth quarter, Denver only managed to get 20 points as the offense petered out.
MVP favorite Nikola Jokić again came out of the night with a lot of credit in the bank, scoring 30 points, 19 rebounds, and eight assists.
Golden State will now take on the winner between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Grizzlies have a 3-2 lead going into Game 6 on Friday.
Cover photo: Collage: USA TODAY Sports