NBA: Bucks top Magic to advance, as disrupted playoffs return to action

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 30 2020 06:16 AM | Updated as of Aug 30 2020 06:53 AM

NBA: Bucks top Magic to advance, as disrupted playoffs return to action 1
Garrett Ellwood, NBAE via Getty Images/AFP

Giannis Antetokounmpo tallied 28 points and 17 rebounds, and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Orlando Magic 118-104 on Saturday (US time) to reach the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Khris Middleton added 21 points and 10 boards for Milwaukee, as the NBA was back in action following a 3-day strike set off by the Bucks refusing to play last week. 

With the win, Milwaukee dispatched Orlando in 5 games and arranged a series with the Miami Heat next.

Just days earlier there was a real chance that players would opt out of the remainder of the postseason in the NBA's coronavirus quarantine bubble in Orlando, Fla.

The Bucks were prepared to forfeit Game 5 against the Magic on Wednesday after the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

But the Magic, and eventually the rest of the teams remaining in the bubble, backed their action, to launch hours of discussion among players, coaches and league officials on how they could unite to combat racial injustice and police brutality.

Delayed or not, Milwaukee, which was shocked in a Game 1 loss, seemed ready to march on Saturday, building a lead as large as 21 points -- 76-55 to start the second half. 

Orlando rallied to make it a game after Evan Fournier's 3-pointer closed the gap down to 96-93 in the fourth quarter. 

But Milwaukee answered with a 9-0 run off a timeout to seal the deal.

Brook Lopez chipped in 16 points for the Bucks.

Nikola Vucevic tallied 22 points and 15 rebounds to lead Orlando.

‘MUCH BIGGER VOICE’

The unprecedented NBA protest rippled through the rest of the US sports world, with games and training postponed in Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the National Hockey League, NFL and the ATP and WTA Western & Southern Open.

With plans in place for concrete action to promote voting and civic engagement and support police and criminal justice reform legislation, the season resumed.

“The information we got we thought we could make more of a statement staying here and playing instead of going home to our respective cities, our respective communities and doing it by ourselves,” Middleton said. “We thought together our voice would be much bigger.”

There were signs of rust early from both the Bucks and Magic, who hadn't played since Monday.

Both teams connected on less than 40% of their shots from the field in the first quarter, but Milwaukee picked up the pace in the second led by Antetokounmpo's 6-of-6 shooting.

“Just keep getting better,” was Antetokounmpo's prescription for the Bucks as they moved ahead. “Keep getting better every game, playing hard always. Defensively we've just got to pick it up a little bit, just make it as tough as possible for whoever we play.”

MOMENT OF SILENCE 

There was a somber mood to the restart with a pregame moment of silence in memory of former Trail Blazers star Cliff Roberts, Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson and actor Chadwick Boseman, who all died this week.

Roberts, 53, helped the Trail Blazers reach two NBA Finals in his 18-year career that included an All-Star nod.

Olson, 85, mentored future NBA stars as he made the University of Arizona a college basketball power.

Boseman, star of the ground-breaking superhero movie “Black Panther” died after a battle with cancer. The actor who also starred in the Jackie Robinson baseball biopic “42”, was remembered as a “close friend of the NBA.” -- With a report from Agence France-Presse

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