Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers Snag Last Semifinal Spots
When the Milwaukee Bucks put together the duo of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard, they envisioned their team would have the kind of offensive firepower it displayed Tuesday night.
The Bucks put up their highest point total of the season in a 146-122 victory over the New York Knicks to advance to the semifinals of the NBA's in-season tournament Thursday in Las Vegas, where they'll face the Indiana Pacers.
Antetokounmpo paced the Bucks with 35 points and 10 assists, and Milwaukee improved to 12-1 this season when Lillard scores at least 25 points, but the Bucks rode an avalanche of 3-pointers to victory. Milwaukee made 23 of its 38 3-point attempts while shooting 60.5% from the field, just the second time in franchise history the team has shot at least 60% while taking 35 3-pointers.
The Bucks improved to 5-0 during this in-season tournament, defeating the Knicks for the second time in tournament play.
LeBron James scored 15 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter, and the Los Angeles Lakers secured the last semifinal spot in the inaugural NBA in-season tournament with a 106-103 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.
Anthony Davis had 27 points and 15 rebounds, and Austin Reaves scored 20 for the top-seeded Lakers, who will face New Orleans on Thursday in Las Vegas. Milwaukee plays Indiana in the East semifinal. The championship game will be staged Saturday, with the winner taking home the NBA Cup.
The 21-year veteran James scored 15 of the Lakers' first 19 points in the final period and got the assists on his teammates' other two baskets as Los Angeles pulled ahead.
Kevin Durant scored 31 points, but he badly missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer for the Suns. Phoenix had won eight of 10 before losing to Los Angeles for the third time already this season.
ESPN 102.3/AM 1000 KSOO will have coverage of both semifinal games on Thursday beginning at 3:30 PM.
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Gallery Credit: Scott Prather