NBA roundup: Bucks help Heat clinch home court, Raptors and Warriors build momentum

Milwaukee, Wisconsin - The Miami Heat clinched the first seed in the Eastern Conference as the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Boston Celtics 127-121 on Thursday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo (r.) goes up against the Celtics' Grant Williams.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (r.) goes up against the Celtics' Grant Williams.  © USA TODAY Sports

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday each scored 29 points in the win, while the former also added 11 rebounds and five assists. Khris Middleton was close to a triple-double with 22 points on nine-of-18 shooting, along with eight rebounds and nine assists.

On the second night of a back-to-back after their win in Chicago, the Celtics rested Jayson Tatum and Al Horford, and only just lost on the road against a fellow contender in the East.

Marcus Smart shot seven-of-12 from beyond the arc and was the Celtics' leading scorer with a season-high 29 points. Meanwhile, Jaylen Brown came up with a triple-double of 22 points, a career-high 11 assists, along with 10 rebounds.

NBA Playoffs: Celtics stomp all over Heat in a huge Game 2 win!
NBA NBA Playoffs: Celtics stomp all over Heat in a huge Game 2 win!

With the win, the Bucks moved past the Celtics into second spot in the East, effectively clinching home court for Miami in the playoffs.

Around the league

Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (r.) goes to hug Gary Trent Jr. after the Raptors' win over the Sixers.
Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (r.) goes to hug Gary Trent Jr. after the Raptors' win over the Sixers.  © USA TODAY Sports

Pascal Siakam put up a triple-double in the Toronto Raptors' 119-114 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

Matisse Thybulle missed the game, raising speculation over whether he is vaccinated against coronavirus, with unvaccinated foreign nationals prohibited from entering Canada.

Siakam's consequent ability to get into the paint counteracted his one-of-seven from the perimeter, putting up 37 points on 14-of-28 shooting, along with 12 assists and 11 rebounds.

NBA Playoffs: Heat survive Celtics fightback to take home court advantage
NBA NBA Playoffs: Heat survive Celtics fightback to take home court advantage

The Golden State Warriors continued to build momentum without the injured Stephen Curry, securing a 128-112 victory at home to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Having already been eliminated from play-in contention, the Lakers were without LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Carmelo Anthony, and Russell Westbrook. Talen Horton-Tucker scored a career-high 40 points on 15-of-28 shooting.

It was the Dubs' third consecutive win and their last game in the Bay Area before the playoffs, heading on the road to San Antonio and New Orleans to close out the regular season.

Klay Thompson (r.) shoots the ball in the Warriors' win over the Lakers.
Klay Thompson (r.) shoots the ball in the Warriors' win over the Lakers.  © USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets booked their place in the playoffs thanks to a 122-109 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. Nikola Jokić made some history as he became the first NBA player to get 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 500 assists in one season.

The Charlotte Hornets beat the Orlando Magic 128-101 while the New Orleans Pelicans overcame the Portland Trail Blazers 127-94.

In Minnesota, the Timberwolves survived some later pressure to come away with a win over the San Antonio Spurs.

Cover photo: USA TODAY Sports

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