Basketball

Bucks sweep past Heat to reach second round

Giannis Antetokounmpo managed his first NBA play-off triple-double yesterday morning (Singapore time) as the Milwaukee Bucks defeated Miami Heat 120-103 to reach the second round.

The Greek star racked up 20 points, 12 rebounds and 15 assists to spark the Bucks, who were led by 25 points from centre Brook Lopez and 22 more off the bench from Bryn Forbes.

Khris Middleton added 20 as the Bucks rallied from a 12-point first-half deficit to win the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series 4-0. They await the Brooklyn-Boston series winners in the second round.

"We've got to focus on ourselves, try to get better," Antetokounmpo said. "We want to get better defensively and whoever we get in the next round, we're going to be ready."

Antetokounmpo became only the third Bucks player with a play-off triple-double after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1970, when he was known as Lew Alcindor, and Paul Pressey in 1986.

The Heat, who lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in last year's NBA Finals, ousted Milwaukee in five games in the second round of last season's play-offs.

Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference, Joel Embiid scored a play-off career-high 36 points as the Philadelphia 76ers breezed to a 132-103 win over the Washington Wizards to seize a 3-0 lead in their series.

In the Western Conference, Portland Trail Blazers defeated the visiting Denver Nuggets 115-95 to level their series at two wins each.

The top-seeded Utah Jazz beat the Memphis Grizzlies 121-111 to take a 2-1 lead in their series. - AFP

Basketball