Thu | May 19, 2022

Bucks, Warriors try to close out second-round series at home

Published:Friday | May 13, 2022 | 12:11 AM
Boston Celtics centre Al Horford (right) stops Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo on a drive to the basket during the first half of Game 5 of an Eastern Conference semi-final in the NBA basketball playoffs on Wednesday in Boston.
Boston Celtics centre Al Horford (right) stops Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo on a drive to the basket during the first half of Game 5 of an Eastern Conference semi-final in the NBA basketball playoffs on Wednesday in Boston.

MILWAUKEE (AP):

The Milwaukee Bucks want to build off the momentum from a thrilling comeback and the Golden State Warriors seek to put an embarrassing loss behind them as both teams attempt to clinch their second-round series.

Both own 3-2 leads in their respective series and are at home today for Game 6. The defending NBA champions Bucks rallied from a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit to win 110-107 at Boston on Wednesday night while the Warriors squandered an opportunity to close out their series by losing 134-95 at Memphis.

“At the end of the day, we can’t get too high from this,” Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo said after the Bucks’ Game 5 victory. “Obviously, it’s great to win the game, great to go back home and feel good ourselves, but the job is not done.”

Although Milwaukee are savouring an emotional win and Golden State are coming off a blowout loss, the trends of these series indicate the Warriors should feel more comfortable going home.

The home-court advantage hasn’t meant much in the Bucks-Celtics series. The road team has won three of the five games, including each of the last two.

Through the first five games of the other three second-round series, home teams owned a 14-1 record. The Warriors are 2-0 at home against the Grizzlies after winning 142-112 in Game 3 and 101-98 in Game 4.

History suggests the lopsided nature of Golden State’s Game 5 loss shouldn’t have a carryover effect. The Warriors are the sixth team in the past 10 years to lose by at least 39 points in a play-off game that didn’t end a series. Four of the previous five losing teams won their next game.

“Well, it doesn’t feel good losing by as much as we did,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said. “At the end of the day, it is just a loss and you flush it from your mental and you remind yourselves who you are. You go in and play with 100% effort on Friday, and I like our chances.”

The Grizzlies also have reason to feel confident, even with Ja Morant likely out for the rest of the post-season with a bone bruise in his right knee. The Grizzlies have gone 1-1 against the Warriors since Morant’s injury and are 21-6 in games their All-Star guard has missed this season.

In the Celtics-Bucks series, the teams have alternated victories through the first five games. The Celtics’ season depends on that pattern continuing today.

The series has been full of comebacks already. The Celtics want to close it out by rallying from a 3-2 deficit and winning a potential Game 7 in Boston on Sunday.

“We had a golden opportunity,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said after the Game 5 loss. “That’s the story here. It’s going to be tougher now. Got to go get two in a row. But what we’ve done throughout this series and throughout this season is bounce back when we’ve been tested.”