Bucks top Heat, clinch top seed in East

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS -

Gian­nis An­te­tok­oun­mpo and Khris Mid­dle­ton scored 33 points each, and the Bucks earned a 130116 win over the Heat on Thurs­day in the NBA bub­ble in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, to clinch the top seed in the Eastern Con­fer­ence.

The Bucks trailed by as many as 23 in the first half, and were down 111-110 in the fourth quar­ter be­fore go­ing on a 20-0 run.

An­te­tok­oun­mpo and Mid­dle­ton played 30 and 34 min­utes re­spec­tively after the stars both sat out the en­tire sec­ond half of their last game on Tues­day.

The Heat’s Jimmy But­ler (sore right foot) did not play for a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive game.

Zion can’t do it all

Zion Wil­liamson scored 24 points (10-for-12 shoot­ing in just un­der 22 min­utes), in­clud­ing his first eight shots, but the Pel­i­cans lost 140-125 to the Kings. Both teams are only 1-3 since the restart.

The Kings pulled even with the Pel­i­cans in the stand­ings and now are 2½ games be­hind the eighth­place Grizzlies with four games re­main­ing. A team needs to be in ninth place and within four games of the eighth-place team to force a play­off.

Also on the court

Damian Lil­lard tied his fran­chise record with 11 three-point­ers and scored 45 points, and the Trail

Blaz­ers moved closer to the No. 8 spot in the Western Con­fer­ence by beat­ing the Nuggets 125-115.

♦ James Harden had 39 points and 12 as­sists to lead the Rock­ets to a 113-97 vic­tory against the Lakers, who were play­ing with­out LeBron James (sore right groin).

♦ De­an­dre Ay­ton had 23 points and 10 re­bounds, and the Suns beat the Pac­ers 114-99 for their fourth con­sec­u­tive vic­tory to move them out of the Western Con­fer­ence base­ment.

♦ Kawhi Leonard scored 29 points to help the Clip­pers beat the Mav­er­icks 126-111. The Clip­pers’ Pa­trick Bev­er­ley missed the game with a left calf strain.

In­jury news

Six­ers star Ben Sim­mons suf­fered a par­tial and tem­po­rary dis­lo­ca­tion of his left kneecap in a game Fri­day and is seek­ing treat­ment op­tions. The team is un­sure about the ex­tent of the in­jury or how many games the All-Star could miss. Sim­mons def­i­nitely won’t play Fri­day against the Magic.

The Six­ers al­ready have clinched a play­off spot and can­not fall be­low sixth in the East stand­ings.

♦ Mike Con­ley (right knee sore­ness), Rudy Gobert (rest) and Dono­van Mitchell (left per­oneal strain) all will miss the Jazz’s game Fri­day against the Spurs.

KIM KLEMENT/GETTY IMAGES

Bucks for­ward Gian­nis An­te­tok­oun­mpo scores two of his 33 points against the Heat on Thurs­day.

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