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Giannis delivers triple double as mighty Bucks sweep Miami Heat

Giannis Antetokounmpo. (AFP)
Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks dunks the ball against the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on May 29, 2021 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. (AFP)

WASHINGTON (AFP) ‒ Giannis Antetokounmpo managed his first NBA playoff triple double Saturday and the Milwaukee Bucks defeated Miami, 120-103, to sweep the Heat out of the post-season in the opening round.

Greek star Antetokounmpo had 20 points, 12 rebounds and 15 assists to spark the Bucks, who were led by 25 points from center 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 winner 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 playoff 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 playoffs.

Miami had not been swept in a playoff series since falling to Chicago in the first round in 2007.

The Heat dominated early, with Antetokounmpo missing his first six shots and Miami grabbing its biggest lead of the series at 58-46.

But Milwaukee opened the third quarter on a 24-6 run and the Heat could never match them after that.

Bam Adebayo led Miami with 20 points and 14 rebounds while Jimmy Butler had a triple double in a losing cause with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

– Portland routs Denver –

Portland’s Norman Powell matched a career playoff high with 29 points, hitting 11-of-13 from the floor to power the Trail Blazers over visiting Denver 115-95 to level their Western Conference series at two wins each.

CJ McCollum scored 21 points and Bosnian center Jusuf Nurkic added 17 for Portland while Serbian center Nikola Jokic led Denver with 16 points.

“The plan was to put a complete 48-minute effort out there,” Powell said. “The focus was continue to compete hard.”

The Trail Blazers led 57-47 at half-time and dominated the third quarter to pull away for good.

Other playoff games later Saturday find Philadelphia trying to take a 3-0 series lead at Washington and Utah visiting Memphis with that series deadlocked 1-1.

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Written by Tempo Desk

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