NBA: Bucks advance after triggering shutdown; Lakers snap playoff win drought

Published August 30, 2020, 2:45 PM

by Agence-France-Presse

Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks is defended by Evan Fournier #10 and Nikola Vucevic #9 of the Orlando Magic during the second quarter in Game Five of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 29, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images / AFP)

The Milwaukee Bucks powered into the second round of the NBA playoffs on Saturday, three days after their refusal to take the court in the wake of a police shooting in Wisconsin brought the post-season to a halt.

Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 28 points and grabbed 17 rebounds and the Bucks led by as many as 21 on the way to a 118-104 victory over the Orlando Magic.

Milwaukee won the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series four games to one to line up a second round clash with the Miami Heat, who swept the Indiana Pacers in four games.

In the Western Conference, Anthony Davis scored 43 points and LeBron James kept his perfect playoff record alive as the Los Angeles Lakers beat Portland 131-122 to clinch their first round series in five games. 

Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images / AFP)

James is now a career 14-0 in first round playoff series.

“We knew this was a hot Portland team. We wanted to come in and get better and better as the series went on, and we did that,” said James.

LeBron James Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis #3 high-fives LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Andrew D. Bernstein / NBAE via Getty Images / AFP)

Just days earlier, there was a real chance that players would opt out of the remainder of the post-season in the NBA’s coronavirus quarantine bubble in Orlando, Florida.

The Bucks were prepared to forfeit game five 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.

The unprecedented NBA action 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.

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 percent 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.

After Orlando reserve Terrence Ross drained a three-pointer to level the score at 31-31, an Antetokounmpo dunk launched a 13-0 scoring run for the Bucks who led 67-50 at the half.

Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images / AFP)

Milwaukee quickly pushed the lead to 20 after the interval and took a 90-79 lead into the final frame.

“Just keep getting better,” was Antetokounmpo’s prescription for Milwaukee 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
LeBron James
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers does the Wakanda salute during a moment of silence to honor the death of actor Chadwick Boseman before the start of Game Five of the Western Conference First Round against the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 29, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images / AFP)

There was a somber mood to the restart with moment of silences before the games 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.

NBA Moment of silence
A moment of silence takes for Clifford Robinson, Lute Olsen, and Chadwick Boseman before the game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers during Round One, Game Five of the NBA Playoffs on August 29, 2020 at AdventHealth Arena in Orlando, Florida. (Andrew D. Bernstein / NBAE via Getty Images / AFP)

Boseman, star of the ground-breaking superhero movie “Black Panther” died at the age of 43 after a battle with cancer.

READ: Sporting world mourns passing of Chadwick Boseman; LeBron James somber after losing Black Panther, Black Mamba in 2020

Lakers star Davis finished with 43 points and James had 36 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists as the Lakers won their first playoff series in eight years.

Davis shot 14-of-18 from the floor and James made 14-of-19 shots for the Lakers, who hadn’t won a series since beating the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the 2012 postseason.

The Lakers will face either Houston or Oklahoma City in the next round. Houston leads that series three games to two.

“We have an opportunity to decompress just a little bit and wait for our next opponent,” James said.

CJ McCollum
CJ McCollum #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers steals the ball from Kyle Kuzma #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images / AFP)

CJ McCollum recorded 36 points and seven assists and Carmelo Anthony added 27 points for the Trail Blazers, who were missing  Damian Lillard. 

Lillard left the pandemic bubble during the latest shutdown and returned to Portland to have his injured right knee looked at by team doctors.

LeBron James Carmelo Anthony
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers hugs Carmelo Anthony of the Portland Trail Blazers (David Dow / NBAE via Getty Images / AFP)

Elsewhere, James Harden scored 31 points and Robert Covington finished with 22 points and seven rebounds as the Houston Rockets routed the Oklahoma City Thunder 114-80 to take a 3-2 series lead.

James Harden
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images / AFP)