Bucks Advance For 1st Time in 18 Years To Face  Celtics. NBA Playoffs: Rockets Fail To Put Away Jazz Series, Peep The Highlight Videos Inside! #NBA #NBAHighlights

     

DETROIT (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo will have his unique talents on display in the second round of the NBA playoffs for the first time in his six-year career.

If Milwaukee's superstar can match or beat his latest jaw-dropping highlight, everyone is in for a treat, unless they play or root for the Boston Celtics.

Antetokounmpo scored a career playoff-high 41 points to lift the Bucks a 127-104 sweep-sealing win over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night.

"This means a lot," he said softly.

Milwaukee Bucks vs Detroit Pistons - Game 4 - Full Game Highlights | April 22, 2019 NBA Playoffs

The top-seeded Bucks will face fourth-seeded Boston in a postseason rematch. The Celtics are also coming off a sweep, against Indiana, and should have confidence in the matchup after eliminating Milwaukee in the first round last year.

The Bucks swept a seven-game series for the first time since 1983, when they did it in the conference semifinals against Boston.

"We're going to celebrate it and have fun, but we'll quickly focus on Boston," Milwaukee guard Sterling Brown said. "It's going to be a fun series. Last year, they got us in Game 7."

 
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Houston could've had a slight advantage on Golden State in the series that feels like almost a certainty

Not to say that James Harden and the Houston Rockets necessarily needed a couple days rest before heading to Oakland for their (can we call it inevitable?) second-round matchup against the Golden State Warriors.

But, man, sure would have been nice.

On Monday night -- Tuesday morning if you live on the East Coast -- Harden's Rockets blew a golden opportunity to rest their legs and rest their minds a little bit longer before heading to Oracle Arena for what ought to be the single-best series of these NBA playoffs.

Mike D'Antoni postgame reaction | Jazz vs Rockets Game 4 | 2019 NBA Playoffs

Look, if you're a Los Angeles Clippers fan or a Jazz fan, I get it. Your teams still have a chance! They do. And I love both of these teams. But do you know the record for NBA teams when they fall down 3-0 in a playoff series? They've won zero of those series, and they've lost all 134 of them. Only three have gone to seven games. And hey, if you're a Clippers fan, good on ya -- incredible story, incredible culture, and I believe in this franchise for the future. But I certainly don't believe in this franchise for the present.

What we should all believe in, however, is the Rockets getting a second shot at the Warriors a week from now.

It's a shame, I suppose, that we're getting this series in the second round instead of in the Western Conference finals. Blame the Rockets. First off, they started the season in a rut -- they were below .500 well into December. And second, what happened the final two days of the NBA's regular season -- Houston losing at Oklahoma City on the same night the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Los Angeles Lakers, then Portland beating the Sacramento Kings the next night -- meant that Houston's rematch with the Warriors would come one round before a year ago. Oh well. Will still be awesome.

But would have been a little more awesome, at least from Houston's vantage point, is if it had been able to take Game 4 in Utah and complete a sweep of the Jazz.

Instead, the Jazz -- with their incredible home-court advantage, with their so-loud-even-Marv-Albert-can't-hear-himself-talk fans, and with a Donovan Mitchell who still knows he's this team's heart and soul even after missing that wide-open 3 at the end of Game 3 -- showed us their best side.

Houston Rockets vs Utah Jazz - Game 4 - Full Game Highlights | April 22, 2019 NBA Playoffs

I expected this to be the most exciting of the first-round series. After the first two games, that was clearly not the case. Utah barely competed in Houston. Their innovative (gimmicky?) defense on Harden worked somewhat well; in two games, they "held" Harden to only 30.5 points per game and only four free throw attempts per game. (It is a testament to Harden's historic scoring abilities that that is considered a pretty massive success by the Utah defense.) But whatever: Harden didn't necessarily beat them, but they still got blown out, by 32 points in Game 1 and by 20 points in Game 2. Pick your poison, I suppose. But in Game 3, we saw the best version of the Jazz: They shut down Harden, who had the worst offensive half of his career and missed his first 15 shots, and Mitchell was an absolute beast. But the Jazz could never pull away, and Mitchell missed that shot at the end, and here we were, with a series that should have been awesome that was now looking like a sweep.

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Earl Watson only needed one word and some punctuation to perfectly capture the Phoenix Suns’ decision to fire Igor Kokoskov after one season as head coach.

Watson sent the following simple tweet after news emerged about Kokoskov being fired:


Earl J Watson
@Earl_Watson

What?!


If anyone can relate to Kokoskov’s plight, it’s Watson. Watson was hired as the Suns’ interim head coach for the final 33 games of the 2015-2016 season. He coached all of the following season, but then was fired three games into the 2017-2018 season in a bizarrely planned move.

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