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NBA ROUNDUP

Bucks return to court, finish off series victory over Magic

Giannis Antetokounmpo hugs the Magic's Nikola Vucevic (9) after the Bucks' victory Saturday in Game 5 as Milwaukee finished off the Eastern Conference first-round series.
Giannis Antetokounmpo hugs the Magic's Nikola Vucevic (9) after the Bucks' victory Saturday in Game 5 as Milwaukee finished off the Eastern Conference first-round series.Kevin C. Cox/Getty

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 28 points and 17 rebounds and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Orlando Magic 118-104 on Saturday in Orlando to close out the Eastern Conference first-round series in five games.

The Bucks advanced to face Miami in the second round, beginning Monday.

The game marked the first NBA action since the Bucks refused to take the court for a playoff game Wednesday night in protest of the recent police shooting of a Black man in Wisconsin.

Milwaukee’s boycott led to a pause in all NBA play for two days while players convened to consider abandoning the remainder of the season before ultimately deciding to resume the postseason.

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Before tipoff, a moment of silence was held to honor former NBA player Clifford Robinson, longtime college basketball coach Lute Olson, and Black actor Chadwick Boseman, who all died in the past few days.

Players and staff knelt, many with arms locked, as the national anthem played.

Milwaukee’s George Hill, who was among the catalysts for Wednesday’s boycott, could be seen on camera standing in a corridor near the locker rooms during the anthem before walking out to the court.

Chris Middleton added 21 points and 10 rebounds for Milwaukee. The Bucks had a 21-point lead trimmed to three in the fourth quarter before regaining control with the help of timely outside shooting by Marvin Williams.

Williams scored all 12 of his points on 3-pointers, and Brook Lopez added 16 points for Milwaukee, which won four straight after dropping the opener.

Nicola Vucevic had 22 points and 15 rebounds for Orlando, while Evan Fournier added 18 points.

Lakers 131, Trail Blazers 122 — LeBron James had 36 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists, and Los Angeles advanced to the Western Conference semifinals, beating shorthanded Portland.

Anthony Davis had a playoff-best 43 points for the top-seeded Lakers in their first playoff appearance since 2013.

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The Lakers will play the winner of the series between Houston and Oklahoma City. The Rockets took a 3-2 lead with a 114-80 victory earlier Saturday.

CJ McCollum had 36 points for the surprisingly scrappy Trail Blazers, who played without injured All-Star guard Damian Lillard. Carmelo Anthony added 27 points.

Down 14 in the third quarter, Portland got to 100-97 on McCollum’s layup and tied it on Anfernee Simon’s 3-pointer to cap an 8-point run with 9:46 left. James answered with a 3.

Gary Trent Jr.’s 3-pointer tied it at 109 with just under seven minutes to go. Again the Lakers held off Portland with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s 3.

After Trent’s 3-pointer closed it to 114-112 with 4:53 left, Davis had a personal 11-0 run to put Los Angeles up 123-112 and all but seal it.

Rockets 114, Thunder 80 — James Harden scored 31 points and Russell Westbrook returned to face his former team in the playoffs for the first time, helping Houston beat Oklahoma City for a 3-2 series lead.

Robert Covington added 22 points and Eric Gordon had 20. The Rockets can advance to the conference semifinals with a victory Monday.

Westbrook, who had played played just one game since Aug. 4 because of a quadriceps injury — missing the Rockets’ first four playoff games — had seven points, six rebounds and seven assists in 23 minutes.

James Harden (13) had 31 points and Eric Gordon 20 to spark the Rockets to their Game 5 victory against the Thunder.
James Harden (13) had 31 points and Eric Gordon 20 to spark the Rockets to their Game 5 victory against the Thunder.Kevin C. Cox/Getty

Dennis Schroder led the Thunder with 19 points despite being ejected midway through the third quarter for hitting P.J. Tucker in the groin; Tucker also was ejected after retaliating with a head-butt.

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Steven Adams had 12 points and 14 rebounds, and Darius Bazley had 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Thunder. They trailed by three at halftime before giving up 19 of the first 21 points of the third.

Cliff Robinson guided UConn out from the bottom and almost helped take the Portland Trail Blazers to the top.

He was one of the NBA's best sixth men, a versatile player who became a predecessor of the modern center.

Not bad for a guy who was warned he might not even get a second season in Storrs.

“He averaged five points as a freshman and I remember I told him, ’You have two choices: I can kick you out if you keep doing what you do, or I’m going to watch you play a lot of years in the NBA,'" former UConn coach Jim Calhoun said. “He chose the latter, which was good.”

Robinson died Saturday at 53, remembered as much for his personality as his skills by the teams he played for during an 18-year career.

Players take a knee before the start of Saturday's game between the Bucks and Magic to remember former UConn star and Trail Blazer Clifford Robinson, who died at age 53.
Players take a knee before the start of Saturday's game between the Bucks and Magic to remember former UConn star and Trail Blazer Clifford Robinson, who died at age 53.Kevin C. Cox/Getty

“His personality and energy were unmatched, and his contributions on the court were unmistakable, helping the Trail Blazers into the playoffs each of his eight seasons with the team,” the Blazers said.

"His streak of 461 consecutive games played with the Trail Blazers still stands as a franchise record, which is a testament to his hard work and dedication to the team. . ... Uncle Cliffy will be greatly missed by the Trail Blazers and all of Rip City.”

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No cause of death was given, though Calhoun said Robinson had a stroke 2 1/2 years ago and had gone into a coma last week.

“It’s really sad to hear of this, because he was one of my kids, my players, a guy I watched grow into a man," Calhoun said. "It’s not an easy thing.”

A moment of silence was held for Robinson, as well as Arizona coach Lute Olson, and actor Chadwick Boseman, before the start of the NBA playoff game between Milwaukee and Orlando.

Robinson helped the Blazers reach the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992. He not only never missed the postseason in Portland but hardly missed any games at all, playing all 82 in each of his first five seasons and never appearing in fewer than 75.

“RIP Clifford Robinson - some of my earliest memories of NBA basketball were of you as the lifeblood to those early/mid 90’s Blazers teams. The Memorial Coliseum days!! RIP to a Portland legend,” tweeted Cleveland star Kevin Love, who grew up in Oregon.

Clifford Robinson was born on Dec. 16, 1966, in Buffalo. He picked UConn over Syracuse and Oklahoma and became the centerpiece of Calhoun’s early teams. He played in Storrs from 1985-89, helping guide the Huskies from the bottom of the Big East to the 1988 NIT championship.

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Robinson averaged just 5.6 points as a freshman but scored 20 a game as a senior before becoming a second-round pick of the Blazers. His No. 00 hangs on the wall at Gampel Pavilion as an original member of the Huskies of Honor.

Robinson was fourth on UConn’s career scoring list when he left but is down to No. 13 now, showing how strong the program he helped rise up became.

“He was our first great player,” Calhoun said. “He gave legitimacy to the program.

“As a player coming in, here’s this guy playing on TV for the Trail Blazers, watching him play, watching UConn being mentioned. You could not pay for the exposure that he gave us.”

Robinson was the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year in 1993 and made his lone All-Star appearance the following year. At 6-foot-11, he had the size of a center but was a skilled outside shooter.

He played 1,380 games in the league, ranking in the top 15 all-time. Besides the Blazers, Robinson also played for Phoenix, Detroit, Golden State, and the Nets.

“Clifford was the consummate professional who loved the game and played with an incredible sense of both joy and intensity during his outstanding 18-year career, including two seasons with the Warriors,” Golden State said.