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Stephen Curry and Giannis Antetokounmpo play in the Golden State Warriors and the Milwaukee Bucks win




CNN

NBA All-Stars Steph Curry and Giannis Antetokounmpo led their respective teams — the Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks — to playoff victories on Wednesday.

In his first playoff start, Curry scored 30 points to propel the Warriors into the Western Conference Semifinals as they beat the Denver Nuggets 102-98, completing a 4-1 series win.

Meanwhile, Antetokounmpo had 33 points and nine rebounds to guide the Bucks to a 116-100 win over the Chicago Bulls.

The Bucks also wrapped up their streak 4-1 and now advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

The Warriors started their game slow and found themselves eight points down at the start of the fourth quarter but, after cleaning up their fouls, won the fourth quarter 32-20 and edged the Nuggets 63% to 53% from the floor. .

Curry’s 30 points, five rebounds and five assists helped neutralize Nuggets star Nikola Jokic, who racked up an impressive 30 points, 19 rebounds and eight assists.

Defending MVP Jokic put in huge individual performances throughout the series but found help hard to come by as Denver struggled in the absence of key men Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr.

After two seasons of missing the playoffs, Wednesday’s win marked the Warriors’ first playoff victory in more than 1,000 days.

“Tonight was just a weird feeling,” Curry told the media after the game, “because we hadn’t been in a while and we wanted it so badly and it kind of made us the task much more difficult, but we still remember how to do it, which was a good feeling.

“The fourth quarter was just trying to find a way to do it, get enough saves to get the game going, put some pressure on them, and we were able to do that.”

“Everyone contributed, so it was a fun way to end the game. It wasn’t exactly how you would craft it, but a playoff type environment where you can win and get out of here.

Antetokounmpo scored 15 of his 33 points in the first quarter as the Bucks simply proved too powerful for a Bulls team exhausted by the absence of two-time All-Star Zach LaVine and Alex Caruso.

Stephen Curry and Giannis Antetokounmpo play in the Golden State Warriors and the Milwaukee Bucks win

Their playoff series was tied 1-1 after two games, but the defending champions pulled away and won the last three by an average of 23.3 points.

“After the second game the team knew what the deal was,” Antetokounmpo told ESPN. “We knew what we had to do, we had to be desperate. We had to go out there and compete at a high level.

“We have to do it as a team. It’s not a one man show or a two man show. Now we’re going to a different series, playing a different team, a very, very good team, and hopefully we can do it again.

The Bucks have targeted Bulls star DeMar DeRozan, doubling him 27 times — the most single-player team doubles in a playoff game in the past three seasons, according to ESPN.

DeRozan was limited to 11 points and his 10 field goal attempts were challenged.

Antetokounmpo and the Bucks will face the No. 2 seeded Boston Celtics on Sunday in Game 1 of their upcoming playoff series.

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