The Milwaukee Bucks have secured the No. 1 overall seed and home-court advantage throughout the NBA playoffs, after beating the Chicago Bulls 105-92. The Bucks finished the regular season with a 58-22 record, which is the best in the league. This is the first time the Bucks have achieved the No. 1 seed since 2020.
The game against the Bulls was a crucial one for the Bucks, as they needed to win to secure the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The team came out strong and took control of the game early on, leading by as many as 23 points in the first half. The Bulls made a run in the third quarter, cutting the lead to just 5 points, but the Bucks pulled away in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is a strong contender for this year’s MVP award, sat out the game due to a minor ankle injury. However, the team didn’t miss a beat, with Khris Middleton leading the way with 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez also had solid performances, scoring 16 and 14 points, respectively.
With the No. 1 seed secured, the Bucks can now focus on getting their players healthy and rested before the playoffs start. Middleton, who has battled injuries for much of the season, was sidelined after eight minutes with a recurrence of knee pain. The team will likely take a cautious approach with him to ensure he’s fully healthy for the playoffs.
Denver Nuggets Clinch Home-Court Advantage Throughout Western Conference Playoffs
In the Western Conference, the Denver Nuggets have clinched home-court advantage throughout the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. This came after the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Memphis Grizzlies in overtime, dashing Memphis’ hopes of catching up to the Nuggets for the top spot.
The Nuggets finished the regular season with a record of 47-25, which was good enough for the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. However, with home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, the team will be a force to be reckoned with. Led by MVP candidate Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets have one of the most potent offenses in the league.
Eastern Conference Playoff Picture
With the No. 1 seed locked up, the rest of the Eastern Conference playoff picture is starting to take shape. The Boston Celtics finished the season as the No. 2 seed, with a record of 48-24. The Philadelphia 76ers are the No. 3 seed, with a record of 49-23. The Cleveland Cavaliers round out the top four, with a record of 42-30.
In the first round of the playoffs, the Cavaliers will face off against the New York Knicks. The winner of the No. 7 vs. No. 8 game on Tuesday (currently Miami Heat vs. Atlanta Hawks) will play the Celtics in the first round. The other team will face the top-seeded Bucks.
Western Conference Playoff Picture
In the Western Conference, the Denver Nuggets have clinched home-court advantage throughout the playoffs for the first time ever. They have a record of 47-24, which puts them in third place overall in the league. The Nuggets have had a strong season, with standout performances from Nikola Jokic, who is a leading contender for MVP, and Jamal Murray.
With the top seeds now secured in both conferences, the stage is set for an exciting postseason. The Bucks, led by two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, will be looking to make a deep playoff run and potentially win their first championship since 1971. The Nuggets will also be a team to watch, as they try to make their way to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.
In the Eastern Conference, the playoff picture is mostly set, with just one game remaining to determine the final seed. The Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks will face off on Tuesday, with the winner advancing to face the Boston Celtics in the first round. The loser will take on the top-seeded Bucks.
The rest of the Eastern Conference playoff bracket is as follows: the Boston Celtics are the No. 2 seed, the Philadelphia 76ers are the No. 3 seed, and the Cleveland Cavaliers are the No. 4 seed. The Brooklyn Nets, who were considered title contenders coming into the season, have slipped to the No. 7 seed after a disappointing year that saw injuries to key players like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
In the Western Conference, the playoff picture is still somewhat murky, with eight teams fighting for the remaining six spots. The Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers have already secured playoff berths, while the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Pelicans, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Oklahoma City Thunder are currently in the play-in spots. The Dallas Mavericks and the Utah Jazz are also in the mix for play-in spots.
The Lakers, who won the championship just last year, have had a difficult season, with injuries to stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis causing them to slip in the standings. However, they are still a dangerous team and could make noise in the playoffs if they are able to get healthy.
Clinching a top seed and home-court advantage is a big accomplishment for any team, but it also comes with the opportunity to rest key players before the playoffs begin. The Bucks were able to win their final game without Antetokounmpo, and Middleton’s knee injury is not considered serious, so they should be in good shape for the playoffs.
The NBA playoffs promise to be an exciting and unpredictable affair, with a number of talented teams vying for the championship. With the top seeds now locked up, the stage is set for an epic postseason that will likely feature plenty of drama and thrilling moments.