Fri, May 10, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Warriors hang on over Rockets as Durant hurt

AFP, LOS ANGELES

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, right, shoots in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference playoff series against the Boston Celtics in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Wednesday.

Photo: EPA-EFE

Golden State on Wednesday pulled out a 104-99 victory over the Houston Rockets as the Warriors survived the loss of superstar Kevin Durant to grab a 3-2 lead in their second-round playoff series.

Draymond Green and Klay Thompson nailed clutch three-pointers late in the fourth quarter for the Warriors, but the buzz after the game was not about the win, it was about Durant’s health.

The Warriors said that he had suffered a right calf strain, but was expected to undergo an MRI scan yesterday to determine the full extent of the damage.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr sounded cautiously optimistic — hoping for the best, but also preparing for something worse if it does turn out to be more serious such as a ruptured Achilles.

“We are all disappointed for him. Excited about the win, but concern for Kevin. He had been on this incredible playoff run. I am proud of the guys and the way they pulled out this win and we will see about Kevin tomorrow,” Kerr said.

Durant’s injury occurred innocently enough after he hit a jumper from the right side with just more than two minutes left in the third quarter. He took a step forward, then grimaced in pain and looked down at his lower right leg.

“He’s done a lot for us. We got to have his back — that is what tonight was about,” Stephen Curry said.

Thompson finished with 27 points, Curry 25 and Durant 22 for the Warriors.

James Harden was the game’s leading scorer with 31 points for the Rockets, who were outshot by the Warriors from the field 46 percent to 42 percent.

BUCKS 116, CELTICS 91

Milwaukee became the first team to reach the final four as the top-seeded Bucks beat the visiting Boston Celtics with a 116-91 series-clinching victory.

The Bucks used balanced scoring and a stingy defense to eliminate the fourth-seeded Celtics in five games, avenging a seven-game first-round loss to Boston last season.

“It’s amazing. It was a team effort,” Giannis Antetokounmpo said. “We did not mess around with the game.”

The Celtics had reached the semi-finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers in each of the past two seasons.

It marks the first time since 1983 that the Bucks have won a playoff series against the Celtics, who won the first game in this year’s series before dropping four consecutive contests.

Milwaukee advance to the Eastern Conference finals, where they are to have home-court advantage over the winner of the other East second-round series between the Toronto Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers.

Antetokounmpo has had no trouble delivering big points for the Bucks, who are to be making their first appearance in the final four since 2001.

He led seven players in double figures with 20 points, and tallied eight rebounds and a game-high eight assists.

The Bucks shot 44.7 percent overall and outscored the Celtics 45-21 from beyond the arc.

Guard Malcolm Brogdon, returning from a heel injury that had sidelined him since March 15, scored 10 points in 17 minutes.

Milwaukee have dominated games by throwing a blanket over Boston’s Kyrie Irving, who shot one of seven from three-point range on Wednesday.

He was six of 21 overall and finished with just one assist.

Irving might have played his final game with the Celtics as he can become a free agent in the off-season.

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