Bucks clinch NBA lead with win over Bulls

MILWAUKEE (AP) – Bobby Portis had 27 points and 13 rebounds to start in place of the injured Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the Milwaukee Bucks closed in on the top seed in the NBA playoffs with a 105-92 win over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.

Antetokounmpo was sidelined before the game with a sore right knee. He had 28 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists against Washington on Tuesday night.

Brook Lopez had 26 points, point guard Jrue Holiday had 20 points, 15 assists and eight rebounds, and Jevon Carter had 16 points in the starting position. Khris Middleton started for the Bucks but played just eight minutes before exiting with a sore right knee. He was 0 for 3 from the floor.

Milwaukee improved to 58-22 after trailing by 10 points in the third quarter. The Bucks lead Eastern Conference foe Boston by three games with two games remaining.

Jae Crowder and Wes Matthews combined to harass Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan throughout the game, with DeRozan finishing 8 of 3-of-12 from the field.

Nikola Vucevic led the Bulls with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Kobe White scored 14 points and Zach LaVine scored 13.

The Bulls took a 61-51 lead early in the third quarter, but the Bucks responded with a 15-0 run, with six points from Portis and four from Lopez.

The Bulls started the night in 10th place in the East and had already clinched a playoff spot.


Bulls. Ball Alex Caruso was sidelined with a left leg injury, a problem he has been dealing with in recent weeks. Caruso played 19 minutes and did not score in Chicago’s home loss to Atlanta on Tuesday night. “He doesn’t want to be a liability,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said.

Bucks. Pat Connaughton sprained his right ankle in the first quarter Tuesday and is out Wednesday. “We’re hoping it’s a very short-term thing,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “I would put it in the relatively positive bucket.” … Grayson Allen (sprained right ankle) is out for the rest of the regular season, but Budenholzer hopes the guard will be ready for the first round of the playoffs, which open April 15.


Bulls. Friday night in Dallas.

Bucks. Hosted Memphis on Friday night.

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