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Home-court advantage belongs to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Milwaukee clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and the league’s best record with Wednesday’s 105-92 victory over the Chicago Bulls at Fiserv Forum. It improved to 58-22 on the campaign with a third-straight win, even though Giannis Antetokounmpo didn’t play because of a knee injury.
Yet the depth shined through, as Jrue Holiday (20 points, 15 assists and eight rebounds), Bobby Portis (27 points and 13 rebounds) and Brook Lopez (26 points and seven boards) led the way.
The balanced effort and No. 1 seed earned plenty of praise from fans:
Shane Young @YoungNBA
Milwaukee Bucks have clinched the NBA’s No. 1 record. Homecourt throughout the playoffs.
Third time in the Mike Budenholzer era they’ve been the top overall seed.
Giannis AntetoGOAT @JacobNiemuth
The Bucks get the One seed in the NBA!!!! Fire 🔥 pic.twitter.com/v627jT2w9J
Aint no party like A @MrNewYorkPARTY
Milwaukee you have to cherish these moments while it’s here I remember this team would be 8th seed or barely ever make the playoffs. We drafted a superstar that really wants to be here. S/o to the best team in the league @Bucks what a great season.
Joe Cowley @JCowleyHoops
Jrue Holiday is the best player on the floor, and it’s not even real close.
Jrue gets the steal and ties his season high with 13 dimes, finding Wes Matthews!
Bucks lead in Q4 on ESPN pic.twitter.com/pLx5c3MlYr
Kane Pitman @KanePitman
Brook Lopez now has 26 games with 20+ points this season. He had 26 games with 20+ points across his first four regular seasons in Milwaukee. He will be a DPOY finalist but his scoring has wound back the clock during his age 35 season.
Ben Sigwart @sig_50
Bobby Portis has been dominant tonight as well! Didn’t realize he had 22 points.
Bring him off the bench, he produces. Start him, he produces. Make him your number 1 option when Giannis sits out a game, he produces
Bobby Portis is so damn great, i hope that Bucks fanbase appreciates a player like him. They’re so lucky
While attention was on the Bucks’ chance to clinch the No. 1 seed ahead of the game, it became clear they were facing an uphill battle in the early going when Khris Middleton was ruled out with right knee soreness after just eight minutes of play.
With Antetokounmpo and Middleton sidelined, the Bulls built a halftime lead and extended it to double digits in the third quarter behind Nikola Vučević’s dominance. Milwaukee had no answers for him in the frontcourt, which allowed the visitors to initially set the tone even though DeMar DeRozan was scoreless entering the fourth.
Just when it seemed like the Bulls were running away with things, Portis, Lopez and Holiday spearheaded a run as the Bucks came charging back to take the lead for good.
Portis controlled the boards and proved to be a matchup problem with his outside shooting, while Holiday found his stroke from deep and overcame some turnover problems by setting up his teammates for ideal looks. Throw in Jevon Carter’s outside shooting and the combined shooting struggles from DeRozan and Zach LaVine on the other end, and the home team seized control down the stretch.
While the Bucks will need Antetokounmpo and Middleton on the floor if they are going to win a title, the supporting cast made sure they could celebrate the top seed Wednesday.
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