Bucks, Warriors advance in NBA playoffs

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NBA defending champions Milwaukee Bucks continue to produce in the postseason even without key performers.

The Chicago Bulls simply don't have that kind of depth or playoff savvy.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 33 points and nine rebounds as his Bucks routed the Bulls 116-100 at home on Wednesday night to clinch their first-round series 4-1.

iThe No.3 seeds now face the second-seeded Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. Boston, who swept Brooklyn Nets 4-0, host Game 1 on Sunday.

After splitting the first two games, the Bucks won the last three by an average margin of 23.3 points - even without All-Star Khris Middleton who's watched on with a sprained MCL in his left knee.

Chicago played without the starting backcourt they used for the first four games because two-time All-Star Zach LaVine was in health and safety protocols and Alex Caruso was in concussion protocol.

The absences enabled Milwaukee's defence to focus on containing DeMar DeRozan, who was held to just 11 points, and the Bulls went down to a 20th defeat in 22 matches with Milwaukee.

"We've been talking about the depth of the roster, the quality of the roster a lot this season," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.

"Other guys have gotten opportunities and played well. Our defence has tightened up, and we've leaned hard on that these three games. We've got depth. We've got a good group."

Antetokounmpo led the way for the hosts by shooting 11-of-15 from the floor and 11-of-14 from the free-throw line. Pat Connaughton hit 6-of-9 three-pointers in scoring 20 points, and Bobby Portis added 14 points and career-high 17 rebounds.

In San Francisco, two-time MVP Steph Curry scored 30 points in his return to Golden State's starting lineup as the Warriors beat Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets 102-98 to end their first-round series at 4-1.

Curry converted a three-point play with 1:33 left and scored again with 29 seconds remaining to help send the Warriors to the Western Conference semi-finals.

Jokic scored 12 of his 30 points in the final 3:46 and also finished with 19 rebounds and eight assists.

The Warriors advanced to play the winner of the Memphis-Minnesota, with the Grizzlies up 3-2 going into Game 6 on Friday night in Minneapolis.

Curry had come off the bench in the first four games of the series after recovering from a foot injury.

Andrew Wiggins scored 12 points and Draymond Green had 11 points, six assists and three steals for the Warriors.

Green's three blocked shots moved him past Kevin Garnett for 22nd on the NBA's career postseason list.

"I feel like (Green) has built for the playoffs," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "This is what he's all about, when you can actually exert the energy that he exerts and the competitive force and get a day off the next day and not have three games in five nights in every city."

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