Tagged in: Bucks

Serge Ibaka staying with Milwaukee Bucks; agrees to terms on deal

Serge Ibaka is staying with the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Bucks announced Tuesday that they have re-signed the center, who came to Milwaukee as part of a four-team deal at the Feb. 10 trade deadline. Terms of the deal weren’t released.

“Serge is an elite defender and shot-blocker who will continue to add depth for us at center,” Bucks general manager Jon Horst said in a statement. “He was a valuable acquisition for us last season, and we look forward to having him back in Milwaukee.”

Ibaka, 32, averaged 7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 17.8 minutes in 19 games with the Bucks last campaign.

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The Bucks acquired Ibaka while starting center Brook Lopez was still recovering from a back injury that required surgery and caused him to play just 13 regular-season games this past season. Ibaka’s playing time diminished after Lopez returned.

Milwaukee sent guard Donte DiVincenzo to the Sacramento Kings and forwards Rodney Hood and Semi Ojeleye to the LA Clippers in the deal that brought them Ibaka as well as a pair of second-round draft picks and cash.

Ibaka averaged 6.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in 35 games with the Clippers before getting traded. The three-time All-Defensive first-team selection led the NBA in total blocks four consecutive seasons while playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

He led the league in blocks per game in 2011-12 and 2012-13. His 1,752 career blocks rank him second among all active players, behind only Dwight Howard.

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Caleb Martin agrees to 3-year, $20 million deal to return to Miami Heat

Caleb Martin has agreed to return to the Miami Heat on a three-year deal worth $20 million, a source confirmed to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.

A restricted free agent, Martin broke out last season for Miami, providing a solid rotation option on the wing to an injury-plagued Heat team.

After playing his first two seasons alongside his twin brother Cody in Charlotte, Caleb signed a two-way deal with Miami and went on to average a career high 22.9 minutes per match. He scored 9.2 points per game while shooting 50.7% from the field and 41.3% from 3-point range.

Martin, 26, started 12 games last campaign — mostly as a replacement for the injured Jimmy Butler — and his all-around offensive game and strong defense helped the Heat stay afloat without one of their stars.

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Martin is the latest role player to return this offseason to the Heat, who have also agreed to re-sign guard Victor Oladipo to a one-year deal earlier this month.

It’s not as much money as his twin brother got, but it’s still a good deal.

Martin said he wanted to be back in Miami, and the Heat wanted him back, the only question was the price. That turned out to be the taxpayer mid-level exception. 

This is for the taxpayer mid-level exception, which starts at $6.4 million and has raises from there.

Martin earned this. He was waived by Charlotte less than a year ago, had to sign a two-way contract with the Heat to keep his foot in the NBA door, and played so well they had to convert him to a regular deal.

Miami is not done rounding out its roster, with the biggest question — can the Heat find a way to win the Kevin Durant sweepstakes — still hanging out there.

Miami had the best record in the East last season and brings back Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, but they need something more to win the East over a healthy Bucks or improved Celtics team. It doesn’t have to be a KD-level move, but the Heat need to do something more.

Brining back Martin is a good move, however.

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Atlanta Hawks acquire guard Dejounte Murray from San Antonio Spurs for three first-round picks, Danilo Gallinari

The Atlanta Hawks are trading forward Danilo Gallinari and three first-round picks to the San Antonio Spurs for All-Star guard Dejounte Murray.

The Hawks are sending a 2023 first-round pick via the Charlotte Hornets plus their own 2025 and 2027 first-round picks to the Spurs in the deal, sources told Wojnarowski. The deal also includes a pick swap in 2026, the sources said.

The 2025 and 2027 first-round picks are unprotected, a league source told ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

The trade gives the Hawks a formidable backcourt with Murray joining All-NBA guard Trae Young. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Murray and Young will be the first pair of teammates in NBA history who each averaged 20 points and 8 assists per match in the previous season.

Murray took to Twitter later Wednesday to express his gratitude to the Spurs. Hawks principal owner Tony Ressler said in May that the team wouldn’t repeat the “mistake” of complacency that he believes set the stage for this season’s disappointing first-round exit from the playoffs.

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The Hawks returned a young core from the team that was eliminated by the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals two seasons ago.

Ressler stated he believed the team would improve just based on experience.

“We thought we’d be better this season,” Ressler said. “We plan to get better this offseason.”

Instead, the Hawks escaped the play-in tournament with the No. 8 seed before losing to the Miami Heat in five games in the opening round of the playoffs.

Murray, 25, averaged a career-best 21.1 points, 9.2 assists, 8.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals last season, earning All-Star honors for the first time in his career. He had 13 triple-doubles, setting the single-season franchise record for the Spurs.

He is scheduled to make $16.6 million next season and will be an unrestricted free agent in 2024.

Gallinari, 33, averaged 11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 66 matches last season, his second with the Hawks.

His $21.5 million salary for the 2022-23 season is partially guaranteed.

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Brown scores 30, Celtics beat Bucks 109-86 to even series

There was a moment during the Celtics’ series-opening loss to the Bucks when it seemed as if Jaylen Brown would never make a shot.

Early in Game 2, it felt like he might not miss.

Brown scored 25 of his 30 points in the first half, and Boston beat Milwaukee 109-86 on Tuesday night to even the Eastern Conference semifinals at one game apiece.

“It’s the playoffs. That’s it,” Brown said. “We can’t let one game kind of dictate how this series goes. We wanted to be aggressive from the gate.”

Brown shook off a dismal shooting night in Game 1, going 9 for 10 in the first half, including 5 for 5 from the 3-point line. Jayson Tatum added 19 points and eight assists. Grant Williams concluded with 21 points. Al Horford had 14 points and 11 rebounds. “We wanted to come and play like our season was on the line and we did,” Brown said.

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The series doesn’t resume until Game 3 on Saturday in Milwaukee.

Boston finished 20 of 43 from beyond the arc and scored 24 points off 16 Milwaukee turnovers.

“We wanted to match their physicality and punch back tonight,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. “A big message was show them who we are.”

They did that.

The Celtics played without Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart after he was ruled out before the game with a bruised right thigh he sustained in Game 1. 

Derrick White took his place in the starting lineup, making his first start in a playoff game since 2019 when he was with San Antonio.

“The ship’s got to keep going. Everybody got to do a little bit more,” Tatum said.

Even without Smart, the Celtics clamped down on Giannis Antetokounmpo after his triple-double in the series opener, limiting him to 28 points — mostly in the third quarter — nine rebounds and seven assists. Jrue Holiday added 19 points and seven assists. Bobby Portis chipped in 13 points and eight rebounds.

Antetokounmpo said the Celtics are doing a lot to make it tough for him inside.

“Strong bodies, being active, being physical —- that’s pretty much it,” he said. “It’s gotten tougher to find your teammates.”

With Smart watching in street clothes from the bench, the Celtics scored the game’s first seven points on their way to taking an 18-3 lead and forcing a quick timeout by the Bucks.

Boston scored from a variety of different spots on the court during the run – attacking both at the rim and inside the paint. It also included 12 points from the 3-point line, where the Celtics struggled for most of Game 1.

“It’s not Wilt Chamberlain down there (in the paint),” Udoka said. “We can get downhill and attack.”

Antetokounmpo missed his first six shots before ultimately getting on the scoreboard via a dunk with less than a minute left in the opening period.

It didn’t stop Boston from banking a 32-21 lead heading into the second quarter, boosted by 17 points from Brown –a career playoff-high for a quarter.

The Celtics continued to share and kept Milwaukee’s defense in chase mode, eventually taking a 65-40 edge into the half.

The Bucks cut into what had been a 26-point Celtics lead in the third quarter. Antetokounmpo keyed the charge with 18 points in the period. A 10-0 Milwaukee run, aided by a more than five-minute Celtics scoring drought, trimmed Boston’s lead to 72-56 late in the third quarter.

Milwaukee kept nibbling away and got it down it to 94-82 on a pair of free throws by Antetokounmpo. But Tatum made a 3-pointer and Boston pulled away again.

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Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving drops 38 to beat Milwaukee Bucks, can see ‘light at the end of the tunnel’

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving stated he can finally see “light at the end of the tunnel” after playing the best game of his truncated season in Saturday’s surprising 126-123 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Irving scored a season-high 38 points to lead his undermanned team down the stretch versus the defending NBA champions. Afterward, he acknowledged the possibility of New York City ending the vaccination mandate that has kept him off Brooklyn’s Barclays Center floor all season, saying he is looking forward to “turning the page.”

“I’m glad that things are kind of settling down and there’s light at the end of the tunnel here,” Irving said. “Hopefully, I can get back on that home floor playing in the Barclays and now we can finally have that conversation that you’ve been dying to have just about turning the page and moving forward beyond this.

“But like I said, I’m not the only one. I feel for everybody that’s either in my boat or a similar boat or have dealt with some type of trauma from this. And just wishing everybody well-wishes, always.”

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Irving’s comments are his first since New York City Mayor Eric Adams told reporters earlier in the week that he “can’t wait to get it done” while discussing phasing out vaccination restrictions like other cities across the country.

“I’m following it as much as you guys are,” Irving said. “So just remaining patient and just seeing where things end up in this next week or so, next two weeks, I’m not too sure, but I know as much as you do. And I want to say this — is that I’m very appreciative of all those that are pushing behind the scenes to make our world a better place.

“And with everything calming down with the COVID cases, the most important thing for me was just making sure everyone’s OK. I’ve been on record saying this that it’s not about me, that I don’t want to feel like it’s all on me, but the circumstances this year have not been ideal.”

Irving also stated he appreciated NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s recent comments on ESPN’s Get Up, where Silver defended Irving while noting that the mandate “doesn’t quite make sense to me,” given that unvaccinated players from opposing teams could still play in New York City.

“I know his job is not easy,” Irving said. “Standing in the fire, sometimes, on behalf of our league. So my respect level went to a whole new one for him, and I’m just grateful that he did that, and he really took one for the team. And I’m grateful for that. But like I said, we want to set a great example for the world in what we’re doing, and we try to stand for what’s right and respect everyone else’s decisions and their personal beliefs.”

On top of Irving’s status, what makes the Nets so hopeful with just 21 regular-season games left to play is that star forward Kevin Durant is expected to return this week from a sprained left MCL after missing a month and a half. New addition Ben Simmons also is expected to be available in the near future as he ramps up his conditioning after waiting to be traded from the Philadelphia 76ers, although Nets coach Steve Nash stated Saturday that Simmons was dealing with “a little soreness in his back.”

For Irving, he said the victory in Milwaukee was even more special given that he injured his right ankle in Game 4 of last year’s Eastern Conference semifinals versus the Bucks, prematurely ending his season.

“It was definitely emotional for me to prepare for this game,” Irving said.

“Just because — I haven’t been back in this building since then. I try my best not to wear my emotions on my face or on my shoulders, but sometimes, they can get the best of me. But it definitely felt like there was a weight lifted just being back here, being healthy, getting a win and knowing that there’s a possibility we could see them down the line again … there was nothing personal about this game, just about the team.”

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Giannis pours in 50 to lead Bucks past Pacers 128-119

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a season-high 50 points, two off his career best, and pulled down 14 rebounds to lead the Milwaukee Bucks past the skidding Indiana Pacers 128-119 on Tuesday night.

The Bucks (36-23) swept the four-game season series from the Pacers and have won eight consecutive versus their Central Division foe.

Antetokounmpo, who didn’t play in Milwaukee’s loss to Portland on Monday night because of a sore left ankle, showed no ill effects as he racked up 12 first-quarter points that included a pair of thunderous dunks and a 3-pointer.

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Antetokounmpo set a career high with his seventh 40-point game of the season and scored 50 for the first time since the memorable title-clinching game in the NBA Finals last season, which gave the Bucks their first championship in 50 years.

Milwaukee bounced back after consecutive double-digit losses to hand Indiana (19-40) its seventh consecutive defeat.

Both teams had only 10 players available due to injuries.

Buddy Hield scored a season-high 36 points and Tyrese Haliburton had 17 points and eight assists for Indiana.

The Bucks led 34-27 after the first quarter before the Pacers grabbed a short-lived lead midway through the second. A pair of 3-pointers by reserve guard Lindell Wigginton sparked a 12-2 surge that grew the lead to double digits.

Milwaukee led 69-63 at halftime, paced by Antetokounmpo’s 18 points. Milwaukee built a pair of nine-point leads in the third but couldn’t shake the Pacers. When Indiana got close again in the fourth, Antetokounmpo swished a 3-pointer and added a pair of free throws after a clear-path foul and Milwaukee eventually increased its lead to 14 before holding off the Pacers down the stretch.

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Milwaukee Bucks’ Grayson Allen suspended one game for foul on Chicago Bulls’ Alex Caruso

The NBA on Sunday suspended the Milwaukee Bucks’ Grayson Allen for one game for his flagrant 2 foul on Alex Caruso that caused a fractured wrist for the Chicago Bulls guard.

The league punished Allen, who was ejected from the Bucks’ 94-90 triumph over the Bulls on Friday night after receiving the flagrant 2 foul, for what it deemed was “unnecessary and excessive contact,” according to a news release. Allen will serve his suspension during the Bucks’ next game versus the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.

The Bucks said in a statement that they “disagree” with the suspension. “We disagree with the suspension. We support Grayson and look forward to him rejoining our team for Friday’s game vs. New York,” the team said

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Caruso is arranged to have wrist surgery Monday that will sideline him for six to eight weeks.

“Nothing is changing from what happened the other night to where we are now, and the best thing we can do as a team is just move on,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said during a video conference before Sunday night’s 114-95 loss to the Orlando Magic.

“That’s really the only thing we have control over. I feel bad for Alex that he’s going to be out this long more so than anything else.”

Friday marked the first time this season Allen, who is in his first season with the Bucks, has been called for a flagrant foul and only the second time in his NBA career. In 2019, he was ejected from a Summer League game for picking up two flagrant fouls within seconds of each other.

The suspension will cost Allen a $27,963 game check, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Although the Bulls are poised to be without Caruso and Lonzo Ball, who is scheduled to undergo knee surgery this week, they could be getting some reinforcements back from injuries soon. 

Zach LaVine (knee) and Javonte Green (groin) are both expected to meet the team on Monday in Oklahoma City. Donovan stated there is “a chance” both players are available to play.

“Provided everything goes well,” Donovan said. “We’ll see where they’re at physically.”

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Milwaukee Bucks stomp Golden State Warriors, keep ‘building good habits’ vs. elite teams

The Milwaukee Bucks delivered another statement victory Thursday night with a 118-99 thumping of the Golden State Warriors, continuing their trend of being at their best this season when matched up versus other likely title contenders.

The Bucks blitzed the Warriors from the start, jumping out to a 39-point halftime lead, Golden State’s largest halftime deficit since the franchise moved from Philadelphia.

In the past week, the Bucks have won handily against the Warriors and Brooklyn Nets — whom they also beat on opening night in Milwaukee — a pair of teams they could see on the path to attempt to repeat as NBA champions.

“I don’t know why we play well in big games, but at the end of the day we’ve got to just keep building good habits moving forward,” said Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, who finished with 30 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in 30 minutes.

“Big games with big excitement or even games nobody watches, nobody cares about, we have to keep building good habits, so we can be good in May and June.”

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Milwaukee had coach Mike Budenholzer back on the sideline after clearing health and safety protocols but was playing without guard Jrue Holiday, its best perimeter defender, who missed his fourth consecutive game with an ankle. Still, the Bucks were able to contain Warriors star Stephen Curry with a smothering defensive effort.

Curry was 4-of-11 shooting in the game (2 for 6 from 3) for 12 points. He has shot less than 50% from the field in eight consecutive games, the longest streak of his career, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Golden State finished 3-for-14 from the field with three turnovers and seven points when the Bucks sent a double team at Curry.

“Milwaukee is a good team. They obviously have championship DNA now,” Curry said, “and present some challenges in terms of putting pressure on the interior end and spacing. We just got off to a terrible start where everything went wrong.”

The Warriors have dropped four of their past five games overall and Curry is mired in one of the worst shooting slumps of his career, but they were not panicking about their recent skid.

“To be honest, I’m not that concerned,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr stated after the game. “I know we just got our butts kicked. We’re just in a rough patch in our season. Happens to every team, every year pretty much, with very few exceptions. We’re in a little bit of a rut. We played a team that was ready and played great … And so we’re a little out of sorts, and we just got to get back on track.”

Golden State will play the Bulls in the second half of a back-to-back on Friday night in Chicago. Klay Thompson, who scored 11 points on 3 of 11 shooting in 21 minutes, is not expected to play as the Warriors ease him back into action after missing more than two years because of injuries.

The Bucks, meanwhile, have continued to roll against some of the stiffest competition in the league because of dominant performances by Antetokounmpo.

On Thursday, Antetokounmpo finished a perfect 9-for-9 inside the restricted area with four dunks. He scored on four different primary defenders, (including 4-for-4 against Andre Iguodala) and hit all seven of his wide-open shots.

Even when the Warriors forced him into a pass, he routinely made the right read — the Bucks shot 11 of 16 (30 points) off Antetokounmpo’s passes, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information.

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Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo in protocols, ruled out for Wednesday, but Khris Middleton (knee) questionable

The Milwaukee Bucks listed Giannis Antetokounmpo as out for Wednesday’s game versus the Indiana Pacers after he was placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols Tuesday night.

Antetokounmpo went into the protocols a day after scoring 20 points in 34 minutes in a 117-103 loss to the Celtics in Boston. Bucks guard Wesley Matthews has also been in the protocols the past two matches.

Later Tuesday, the Bucks added guard Donte DiVincenzo to the protocols list, giving Milwaukee six players out of play for Wednesday’s game: Antetokounmpo, DiVincenzo, Matthews, DeMarcus Cousins (personal reasons), Brook Lopez (back surgery) and Semi Ojeleye (calf strain).

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To clear the protocols, a player must either be out for a minimum of 10 days or return two negative PCR tests at least 24 hours apart.

Tuesday’s news now leaves Antetokounmpo’s status for Milwaukee’s rematch with Boston on Christmas Day in doubt.

In one positive piece of news for the Bucks, All-Star Khris Middleton was only listed as questionable for Wednesday’s match after positive results from imaging done on his hyperextended left knee suffered during Monday’s loss.

The injury occurred when Middleton collided with teammate Rodney Hood as they went after a defensive rebound late in the third quarter, and his leg buckled awkwardly. After he winced and stayed on the ground for a moment, Middleton got up and limped to the other end of the court for Milwaukee’s ensuing offensive possession.

As soon as it was over, however, the Bucks committed a foul, and Middleton walked straight off the court and into the locker room.

It turned out, however, that Milwaukee’s positive thoughts after the game about Middleton’s status — including comments from coach Mike Budenholzer, Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday, as well as Middleton being seen leaving the locker room under his own power — proved true, and he should miss little time, if any.

Milwaukee has six games over an 11-day span starting Wednesday, followed by a road game in New Orleans, home games versus Cleveland and Houston, a road game in Dallas and then the Christmas Day showdown with Boston at home.

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Antetokounmpo, Middleton help Bucks defeat Lakers 109-102

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 47 points and Khris Middleton tied Milwaukee’s franchise record for career 3-pointers as the Bucks defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 109-102 on Wednesday night.

Middleton returned after missing eight games due to COVID-19, played 30 minutes and made consecutive 3-pointers 30 seconds apart early in the fourth quarter to put the Bucks ahead for good. The second of those 3s was his 1,051st with the Bucks to match Ray Allen for first place on the team’s all-time list.

“That’s a very, very special place to be,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “I think we all just admire what Khris does every night, his ability to shoot, the different ways he gets 3’s and his kind of consistency and longevity here.”

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Allen holds the NBA record with 2,973 3-pointers in a career that also included stints with the Seattle SuperSonics, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat.

LeBron James missed an eighth consecutive game for the Lakers due to an abdominal strain. The Lakers have gone 3-5 during that stretch.

Los Angeles also is missing Trevor Ariza and Kendrick Nunn, who haven’t yet appeared in a game this campaign.

“It’s a part of the game,” said Anthony Davis, who scored 18 points for the Lakers. “Same thing with the team we just played. They’ve been hit with injuries as well. It kind of goes with the league, the business of the game. You go out there and put your body on the line every night, God forbid, something is going to happen in the course of a season. Someone’s going to get hurt. We’ve got to adjust and continue to fight until we get everybody back.”

Talen Horton-Tucker scored 25 points for the Lakers two nights after getting a career-high 28 in a 121-103 loss to Chicago. Russell Westbrook had 19 points, Malik Monk 11 and Carmelo Anthony 10.

Antetokounmpo posted his highest point total since scoring 50 in a Game 6 Finals victory over the Phoenix Suns that clinched Milwaukee’s first title since 1971.

“I wanted to be the aggressor out there,” Antetokounmpo said. “I wanted to initiate the contact, get in the paint, make the right play and just play with an edge out there.”

Bobby Portis added 17 points for the Bucks. Middleton and Pat Connaughton had 16 each.

This marked just the third game this season in which the Bucks had their three top players – Antetokounmpo, Middleton and Jrue Holiday – all available.

The only other times were in a 127-104 season-opening victory over the Brooklyn Nets and a 121-111 triumph at San Antonio on Oct. 23. Bucks center Brook Lopez hasn’t played since that Nets game due to a back issue and guard Donte DiVincenzo still hasn’t made his season debut. DiVincenzo tore a ligament in his left ankle during the first round of the 2020-21 playoffs.

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