The NBA play-offs resumed on Saturday evening as the Milwaukee Bucks marked their return to action with a decisive 118-104 victory over the Orlando Magic to secure their place in the Eastern Conference semi-final against the Miami Heat.
Three days after the programme was suspended when players went on strike in protest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin last week, the Bucks and the Magic – who trailed 3-1 going into the game – were back on court at the AdventHealth Arena for the fifth game of the series.
Members of both squads knelt during the national anthem before tip-off after securing an agreement with the NBA to support social justice and racial equality.
The Bucks led by five points at the end of the first quarter and had increased their advantage to 17 by half-time, thanks to Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 22 points the major contribution.
A third-quarter fightback by the Magic saw them out-score the Bucks by 29-23 to trail 90-79 heading into the final period, and they reduced the deficit to just three points before eventually succumbing.
Antetokounmpo increased his tally to 28 along the way,ably supported by Khris Middleton’s double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds while Nicola Vucevic led the way for the Magic by pouring in 22 points and 15 boards.