Mike Dunleavy scored a team-high 20 points as the Chicago Bulls cruised to a 120-66 drubbing of the Milwaukee Bucks Thursday to reach the second round of the NBA playoffs.
The Bulls easily eliminated the Bucks in game six, beating them so soundly that their 54-point win margin was the third largest in NBA postseason history.
They advance to face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
The Bulls win was just four points shy of the 133-75 shellacking Minnesota delivered to St. Louis in 1956. It was also the most lopsided postseason game for both franchises.
In the other playoff contest Thursday, Blake Griffin finished with 26 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Spurs in San Antonio 102-96 to avoid elimination and force game seven in their first-round Western Conference series.
Bulls star Derrick Rose tallied 15 points, seven assists and five rebounds and was given the fourth quarter off with the game sewn up. Pau Gasol and Jimmy Butler scored 19 and 16 points, respectively, and Joakim Noah finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
The Bucks made it a competitive series with two straight wins after going down 3-0. But they trailed from start to finish and showed little fight except to land a few cheap shots that resulted in technical fouls and ejections.
Dunleavy was on the wrong end of a Giannis Antetokounmpo body check late in the second quarter. Chicago was leading by 30 when a frustrated Antetokounmpo hammered Dunleavy as he was shooting a three-pointer.
Dunleavy made the shot despite being blind-sided. Antetokounmpo was ejected and had to watch the rest of the blowout from the locker room.
All 13 players scored for coach Jason Kidd’s team, with Zaza Pachulia’s eight points leading the way. Milwaukee turned the ball over 18 times.
An already action-packed North American sports Saturday, featuring the Kentucky Derby and Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao super fight, now gets a Spurs-Clippers winner-take-all contest.
Chris Paul recorded his second straight double-double with 19 points and 15 assists, DeAndre Jordan finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds, and J.J. Redick added 19 points in the win.
The defending-champion Spurs had won their last seven potential closeout games at home but allowed the Clippers to shoot 47.5 percent from the floor and were outscored 18-2 in fastbreak points.
“We should be embarrassed about how we came out for a closeout game,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. “We lost because the Clippers were physical, focused and played harder than we did.” – Agence France-Presse