By Adrian Stewart Co
Milwaukee Bucks moved a win closer to the next round after a 113-84 victory over Miami Heat in Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference first round playoffs on Thursday night (Friday in the Philippines) at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida.
Khris Middleton led the way with 22 points, including three outside conversions, while Jrue Holiday added double-double 19 points and 12 assists for the Bucks.
Giannis Antetokounmpo posted double-double 17 points and 17 rebounds, Brook Lopez added 13 markers, while Bryn Forbes and Bobby Portis each had 11 for Milwaukee.
The victory surged the Bucks to a commanding 3-0 lead in the series moving them a win closer to the Eastern Conference semifinals where they will face the winner of Brooklyn Nets-Boston Celtics series.
Milwaukee set the tone early as they surged to a 26-14 lead after one quarter. It then swelled to as much as 19 points at 44-25 late in the second before settling for a 49-36 edge at the half.
Miami tried to make the match close in the second half as they came to as close as 14 points several times but Milwaukee had its response to pad the lead to its biggest at 27.
Jimmy Butler scored 19 points, Bam Adebayo added 17 markers, while Nemanja Bjelica contributed 14 points for the reigning Eastern Conference champions Heat.
In other results, Utah Jazz leveled their Western Conference first round playoffs series with Memphis Grizzlies at 1-1 with a 141-129 victory in Game 2.
Donovan Mitchell made his return from lengthy absence to score 25 points, while Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley contributed 21 and 20 points, respectively, for the Jazz.
MILWAUKEE 113 – Middleton 22, Holiday 19, G. Antetokounmpo 17, Lopez 13, Forbes 11, Portis 11, Connaughton 9, Tucker 5, Bryant 4, Diakite 2, DiVincenzo 0, Teague 0, Toupane 0, Nwora 0, Merrill 0.
MIAMI 84 – Butler 19, Adebayo 17, Bjelica 14, Herro 9, Dragić 8, Dedmon 4, Nunn 4, Iguodala 3, Robinson 2, Vincent 2, Achiuwa 2, Ariza 0.
Quarterscores: 26-14, 49-36, 86-60, 113-84./ASC, WDJ