The Warriors and Bucks enter Wednesday in want of yet one more win to wrap up their respective first-round playoff sequence.
Golden State’s Game 4 loss at Denver on Sunday denied it a sweep over a Nuggets group that dropped every of the primary three video games.
Milwaukee has posted back-to-back dominant wins over Chicago and holds a 3-1 lead regardless of persevering with to play with out Khris Middleton, whose knee harm in Game 2 of the sequence compelled the defending champions to regulate.
Both front-running groups stay assured as they put together to play of their house arenas.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr believes enjoying a closeout recreation for the primary time in two seasons was helpful to his group, though it misplaced.
He additionally thinks not letting Denver be as bodily because it was in Game 4 will likely be key.
“It’s a lot tougher to play against physicality when every possession is in the half court,” Kerr mentioned. “Our defense can help our offense. Not fouling, letting the game flow is big advantage for us.”
The Bucks have endured with out Middleton thanks partly to Bobby Portis. He is averaging 16 factors per recreation and taking pictures 50% from the sector (42% from 3-point vary) since being inserted into the beginning lineup.
“The guys have been competing,” coach Mike Budenholzer mentioned. “With or without Khris, when we’re good defensively, that usually bleeds into our offense. While we can always get better, I think the defense has been what we’ve leaned on pretty hard here the last couple of games.”
With a second-round matchup towards Boston looming, protection will proceed to be paramount.
“Everybody has stepped up in his absence,” Wesley Matthews mentioned. “Obviously you can’t just have one person fill what Khris does.”
Here is a take a look at Wednesday night time’s video games:
BULLS AT BUCKS
Milwaukee leads 3-1. Game 5, 7:30 p.m. EDT, TNT
NEED TO KNOW: After the 2 groups break up two shut video games in Milwaukee, the Bucks have taken command of this sequence with two lopsided victories in Chicago, a 111-81 drubbing in Game 3 and a 119-95 blowout in Game 4. The Bucks are 1-1 at house, matching their complete variety of house playoff losses from their title run final season.
KEEP AN EYE ON: Bucks G Grayson Allen. After scoring a complete of three factors within the first two video games, Allen had 22 in Game 3 and 27 in Game 4. Allen reached the 20-point mark simply 5 occasions within the common season, and solely twice since mid-November. He has shot 11 of 14 over his final two video games.
INJURY WATCH: The Bulls introduced G Zach LaVine was positioned within the well being and security protocols and didn’t journey with the group to Milwaukee Tuesday. But he’ll proceed to check in hopes of being cleared in time for Game 5. Guard Alex Caruso additionally stays within the concussion protocol, additionally leaving his standing unsure for Game 5. … Middleton will miss a 3rd straight recreation with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Bucks G George Hill hasn’t performed but within the postseason and stays out with an belly pressure.
PRESSURE IS ON: The Bulls’ protection. Chicago’s skill to power turnovers and disrupt Milwaukee’s offense made this sequence aggressive early, however the Bucks picked the Bulls aside over the past two video games. The Bucks shot 52.3% total and went 17 of 33 on 3-point makes an attempt in Game 4. This sequence ends Wednesday if the Bulls don’t get again to defending the way in which they did within the first two video games.
NUGGETS AT WARRIORS
Golden State leads 3-1. Game 5, 10 p.m. EDT, TNT
NEED TO KNOW: A late 3-pointer by Will Barton and 37 factors from Nikola Jokic helped the Nuggets to a 126-121 win in Game 4. But they almost squandered a 17-point lead, which doesn’t bode properly for Denver. Golden State gained by 16 and 20 factors at house in Games 1 and a couple of.
KEEP AN EYE ON: Stephen Curry. The All-Star has come off the bench for the Warriors in every of the primary 4 video games, with Kerr steadily rising his minutes following the foot harm that sidelined him late within the common season. He was as much as 37 minutes in Game 4 and has led Golden State in scoring every of the final three video games.
INJURY WATCH: Kerr mentioned Curry has “no limitations” on his minutes. But he declined to say whether or not Curry will begin in Game 5.
PRESSURE IS ON: The Nuggets, who’ve dropped three straight at Golden State courting again to the common season. A loss would drop them to 1-8 of their final two playoff sequence after being swept by Phoenix within the convention semifinals final season.
AP Sports Writers Janie McCauley and Steve Megargee contributed.
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