NBA roundup: Bucks dominate Heat in potential playoff preview

Khris Middleton scores 21 points as Milwaukee Bucks beats Miami Heat 122-108.

Miami Heat's Trevor Ariza and Milwaukee Bucks' Khris Middleton go after a loose ball. - AP

In what could be a playoff preview, Khris Middleton posted 21 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists, leading host Milwaukee Bucks past the Miami Heat 122-108 on Saturday night.

Milwaukee, which is 11-3 in its last 14 games, also got 15 points, nine rebounds, and four assists from two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Bryn Forbes had 21 points, Jrue Holiday had 20 points and Brook Lopez added 18 on 9-for-10 shooting.

The Bucks shot 53.5 percent from the floor and had a 50-34 edge in paint points. Miami shot just 41.7 percent from the floor.

Both teams play their regular-season finale on Sunday. But with all of the NBA scores complete on Saturday, Milwaukee (46-25) remained in third place in the Eastern Conference. The Heat (39-32) fell to sixth place, which - barring any change on Sunday - would match them with the Bucks in next week's first round of the playoffs.

Nets 105, Bulls 91

Kyrie Irving scored 22 points as Brooklyn got a significant contribution from its reserves and pulled away down the stretch for a victory over visiting Chicago.

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The Nets (47-24) won their fourth straight and remained one game ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks in the race for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Milwaukee defeated Miami on Saturday night and holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Brooklyn.

The game marked the first time Brooklyn's three stars of Irving, James Harden, and Kevin Durant played in the same game since February 13 at Golden State. It was only the eighth time they played together this season and the trio was on the floor together for about 16 minutes.

Lakers 122, Pacers 115

LeBron James scored seven consecutive points over a one-minute stretch late in the fourth quarter to help Los Angeles defeat host Indiana.


James, playing his first game since May 2 and just his third since March 20, finished with 24 points, a team-high eight assists, and seven rebounds.

Anthony Davis collected 28 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists for the Lakers (41-30), who entered play a half-game behind the Portland Trail Blazers for the final guaranteed playoff spot in the Western Conference. Los Angeles closes the regular season on Sunday in New Orleans.

Knicks 118, Hornets 109 (OT)

Julius Randle collected his sixth triple-double of the season and gave host New York the lead for good by opening overtime with a pair of free throws as the Knicks remained in the mix for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference with a win over Charlotte.

The Knicks (40-31) can finish fourth if they beat the Boston Celtics in Sunday's season finale and Miami Heat loses one of its final two games.

The Hornets (33-38) lost their fourth straight but got some help from the Los Angeles Lakers in their bid to finish eighth in the East. The Lakers' 122-115 win over the Indiana Pacers means Charlotte can lock up the eighth place by beating the Washington Wizards on Sunday.

Suns 140, Spurs 103

Devin Booker scored 23 of his 27 points in the first half and visiting Phoenix took care of business with a lopsided win against short-handed San Antonio in the penultimate game of the regular season for both teams.

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The win allowed the Suns (50-21) to keep pace with idle Utah (51-20) in the race for the top seed in the Western Conference. If Phoenix defeats the Spurs on Sunday afternoon in the second game of its back-to-back and Utah loses at Sacramento, the Suns will win the conference as they own the tiebreaker with the Jazz.

The Spurs (33-38) have already clinched the final spot in the play-in tournament and cannot improve their standing. San Antonio will play either Memphis or Golden State on the road on Wednesday.

Celtics 124, Timberwolves 108

Jayson Tatum scored 26 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to help Boston snap a four-game losing streak with a win over host Minnesota.

Evan Fournier added 18 points and six assists and Luke Kornet had 12 points and six boards for Boston (36-35). Payton Pritchard and Grant Williams each scored 11 for the Celtics, who swept their two-game season series with Minnesota.

Boston wraps up the regular season Sunday against the Knicks in New York. The seventh-place Celtics will then host the Eastern Conference's eighth-place finisher in a play-in game on Tuesday night for the right to earn the No. 7 seed in the playoffs.

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