In a nail-biting showdown, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard showcased their scoring prowess, combining for 65 points to propel the Milwaukee Bucks (13-5) to a thrilling 131-124 victory over the Miami Heat (10-8) in the NBA In-Season Tournament.
With the game hanging in the balance, the Bucks executed flawlessly, closing the contest with a decisive 16-6 run in the fourth quarter, securing a 4-0 record in East Group B and clinching a home quarterfinal game in the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament.
Antetokounmpo contributed 33 points, complemented by Lillard’s 32-point performance, highlighting their ability to deliver in crucial moments.
The Bucks’ supporting cast played a crucial role, with Khris Middleton adding 17 points, Malik Beasley contributing 16, and Brook Lopez chipping in with 12.
Despite missing key players Jimmy Butler and Haywood Highsmith, the Heat, led by Bam Adebayo’s 31 points, put up a formidable fight with Kyle Lowry and Josh Richardson adding 21 and 20 points, respectively.
Miami’s chances were hindered by a 1-for-11 start, but they rebounded strongly with a 40-point second quarter, heading into halftime with a 62-59 lead.
However, the Bucks mounted a comeback in the second half, ultimately sealing the victory in a dramatic fashion.
With this win, the Bucks secured a spot in the In-Season Tournament quarterfinals and will host the New York Knicks next Tuesday in a highly anticipated matchup.
Meanwhile, East Group C winner Boston will face Group A winner Indiana in the other quarterfinal.