Giannis Antetokounmpo helped Milwaukee lock up the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference with another MVP-worthy performance.
Antetokounmpo outdueled fellow MVP candidate Joel Embiid, finishing with 45 points and 13 rebounds and leading Milwaukee to a 128-122 victory over the 76ers in Philadelphia on Thursday night as the Bucks clinched the top spot in the conference.
“I was just trying to make plays and try to find the opportunity to attack,” Antetokounmpo said.
Antetokounmpo reached 25 or more points and 10-plus rebounds in a game for the 42nd time this season.
“He’s been doing it all for us this whole season,” Milwaukee All-Star Khris Middleton said.
Middleton added 22 points and George Hill had 20 for the Bucks, who locked up home-court advantage with three regular-season games remaining.
“It’s been a really special year,” Milwaukee head coach Mike Budenholzer said. “I’m very proud of the team.”
Photo: Matt Slocum / Associated Press
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Embiid returned from a three-game absence and had 34 points, 13 rebounds, 13 assists and three blocks. He tipped his cap to Antetokounmpo.
“He’s a helluva player,” Embiid said. “You know every time you go against him it’s a challenge. He’s really good.”
JJ Redick scored 29 points and Mike Scott, starting for the injured Jimmy Butler, had 22 points for the 76ers, who are two games in front of Boston and Indiana in the race for the No. 3 seed in the East with three games left.
Kings 117, Cavaliers 104: De’Aaron Fox had 16 points and 10 assists, Buddy Hield scored 23 points and host Sacramento prevailed. Marvin Bagley III scored seven of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, and Bogdan Bogdanovic added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Kings.
Collin Sexton scored 19 points and joined LeBron James and Ron Harper as the only Cleveland rookies to score 1,300 points. Sexton is the 10th rookie in the NBA to reach the milestone.
Ante Zizic had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Larry Nance Jr. added boards for Cleveland. The Cavs (19-60) have lost seven straight. They play the Warriors at Oracle on Friday.
Coming off a 130-105 loss to Houston on Tuesday, Sacramento (39-40) did not trail and led by as many as 15 points.
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