After Saturday’s action in the NBA Playoffs, we are very close to knowing two teams that will be headed to the second round. One of them is the Eastern Conference’s #1 seed, the Milwaukee Bucks, who now have a 3-0 series lead over the Detroit Pistons after a 119-103 win. And they did it on a night in the Motor City in which Giannis Antetokounmpo had foul trouble throughout, meaning he wasn’t a huge factor. Blake Griffin also returned for the hosts, too, putting in 27 points in the loss. Khris Middleton had 20 in the Bucks’ great team effort.
The Houston Rockets are also one game away from moving on after they defeated the Utah Jazz 104-101 in Salt Lake City. James Harden had, perhaps, one of the worst shooting nights of his life, yet he still had 22 points overall. He missed his first 15 efforts from the floor and only had three buckets all game long from it. But his acumen to get to the free throw line paid off, and he would score 14 of his 22 in the fourth quarter to help his Rockets do just enough to put a stranglehold on the series. Donovan Mitchell also had a less than stellar game from the floor but still had 34 points for the losing hosts.
Elsewhere in the NBA, the Denver Nuggets got a big 117-103 win on the road to even up their series with the San Antonio Spurs at two games apiece. In a battle of the big men, LaMarcus Aldridge lost out to Nikola Jokic. Aldridge had 24, but Jokic had 29 points and chipped in with 12 rebounds in the victory that keeps the series alive. The Philadelphia 76ers won 112-108 over the Brooklyn Nets to take a 3-1 lead in what was a very chippy game. Joel Embiid made his return and had a double-double in the win that saw players thrown out.