Big name players earn their reputations in big games and last night, two such players proved to be pivotal in helping their team move on to the next round in the NBA Playoffs.
In Milwaukee, it was arguably the best player in the NBA right now, Giannis Antetokounmpo who was the leader, firing 33 points as the Bucks overcame the Chicago Bulls 116-100 to win their series 4-1.
Then in San Francisco, it was the turn of the legend Steph Curry to put on another stellar display scoring 30 points, including a game-clinching lay up, to lead the Golden State Warriors to a 102-98 win over the Denver Nuggets and a 4-1 series victory.
Those wins now see the Bucks and Warriors join the Celtics and Heat in the next round, with four more teams still yet to clinch their place in the next phase of the NBA Finals.
Bucks Move On To Face Celtics After Dominant Bulls Victory
The Milwaukee Bucks lost Khris Middleton with injury in their Game 2 loss to the
Chicago Bulls, but they responded in superb fashion, winning all the next three games to move into the next round of the NBA Finals.
Unsurprisingly, it was Giannis who was the man who led his team to victory, as he has done so often in the past.
The three wins were comprehensive as the Bucks kept the Bulls from scoring over 100 in each game and landed the win by a double-digit margin.
The Bulls were stymied by the absence of two key men, Zach LaVine and Alex Caruso, which allowed the Bucks to double team DeMar DeRozan a playoff record 27-times in the game.
The net result being DeRozan scored just 11 points in the game as Chicago’s lack of strength in depth was their undoing.
After three excellent team performances, the Bucks will now move on to a much tougher test as they take on the bang in form Boston Celtics in the next round of the playoffs.
The Celtics despatched the Brooklyn Nets 4-0 in their opening playoff series in what was a fantastic and consistent display of basketball across all four matches.
The first game in the series between the Celtics and Bulls is scheduled for Boston on Sunday 1st May.
Curry’s First Start Sees Sharpshooter Ice The Warriors Win Over The Nuggets
Steph Curry may not have started for the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs this
season until last night, but his influence across the five-game series has still been immense.
And on the night he returned to a starter role, Curry scored 30 points, including a game clinching lay-up that ensured the Warriors would be the first team from the Western Conference to move through the opening round of the playoffs.
Nikola Jokic scored 30 points in defeat for the Denver Nuggets, who for the second year in a row have timidly bowed out of the playoffs at the first round stage.
Jokic is eligible to sign a massive contract extension and has already indicated that he would like to extend his stay in Denver.
The big center has been the star man for the Nuggets again this season and despite record personal stats, he couldn’t take his team beyond the first round of the playoffs.
Instead, it was the Warriors who woke up from a lacklustre opening to stage an exciting comeback late in the game that was given the coup de grace when Curry dribbled past most of the Denver team to sink a lay up with 30 seconds left to put the Warriors clear.
There’s no doubt that the Warriors will need to play better if they are to advance against the Timberwolves or Grizzlies in their next playoff series, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.
“Tonight as just a weird feeling because we had not been there for a while. Again, we wanted it so bad. Kind of made it a lot more difficult on ourselves,” stated Curry after the game.
Gary Payton II made a big impact for the Warriors off the bench to help propel the team to the win that moves them into the Western Conference semifinals.
FEATURED IMAGE – SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 27: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors reacts in the finals seconds of their victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game Five of the Western Conference First Round NBA Playoffs at Chase Center on April 27, 2022 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)