Bucks rout Celtics, become first to reach NBA final four
Los Angeles (AFP) –
Milwaukee became the first team to reach the NBA's final four as the top-seeded Bucks beat the visiting Boston Celtics with a 116-91 series-clinching victory on Wednesday.
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.
The Celtics had reached the NBA semi-finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers each of the last 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 advances to the Eastern Conference finals, where they will have the home-court advantage over the winner of the other East second round series between the Toronto Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers.
They meet in game six in Philadelphia on Thursday, with the second-seeded Raptors holding a 3-2 lead.
Greek giant Giannis Antetokounmpo has had no trouble in this series delivering big points for the Bucks, who will be making their first appearance in the final four since 2001.
Antetokounmpo led seven players in double figures with 20 points and also tallied eight rebounds and a game-high eight assists.
Khris Middleton (19 points), Eric Bledsoe (18), George Hill (16), Nikola Mirotic (10) and Ersan Ilyasova (10) also scored in double figures for the Bucks, who shot 44.7 percent overall.
Milwaukee also 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 has dominated games by throwing a blanket over Boston's Kyrie Irving, who shot one-for-seven from three-point range on Wednesday.
He was six-of-21 overall and finished with just one assist.
Irving also shot eight-for-22 and seven-for-22 in the Celtic's two home losses on Friday and Monday.
Irving may have played his final game with the Celtics as he can become a free agent in the off season.
? 2019 AFP