The Houston Rockets had themselves a day off on Thursday night, yet they were still able to celebrate the clinching of the top seed in the Western Conference. This came about when the Golden State Warriors fell on their home floor, 116-107, against the Milwaukee Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 32 points for the Bucks, who shot 55 percent from the floor and from three-point range. Golden State did welcome back Kevin Durant from his recent injury, but that return was short-lived when the star was ejected in the second quarter. The incident stems from a drive against three Bucks defenders that resulted in no foul call. Durant, who just returned from a rib injury, let the officials hear his frustrations, but they were having none of it on this night. That left Golden State short-handed in the second half, as they came out and got outscored, 34-23, in the third quarter to fall behind for good after trailing by nine at halftime. The Bucks gained that nine-point lead by going on an 11-0 run to end the first half, and they kept pouring it on once Golden State lost their star. Durant ended the game with 10 points, six assists, and three rebounds in just 17 minutes of playing time. Khris Middleton chipped in with 23 points for the Bucks, who led by as many as 20, and got 30 points from Giannis for the sixth time this month and 21st time this season. They will be right back out west on Friday night against the Los Angeles Lakers. Meanwhile, the Warriors will visit the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night.
Spurs Take Over Four-Seed With Win Over Thunder
The San Antonio Spurs at one point looked like they may miss out on the playoffs for the first time in a long time, but now they are in position to host a playoff series. They got there by taking care of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night, 103-99, LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who took over the four-seed in the Western Conference standings. San Antonio nearly had to go without Aldridge on this night after he suffered bruising to his knee in a 116-106 loss to the Washington Wizards earlier this week. He did show up and shot 9-of-19 from the floor to score 20 or more points for a 47th time this season. Paul George led the way with 26 points in a losing effort for the Thunder, who sit in fifth place in the West, just a half game ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans. They struggled to tie or take the lead in the final 12 minutes, as they were held to just 18 points on 27 percent shooting in the fourth quarter. That's after holding the Spurs to their same point total in the previous quarter. They will return home on Friday night to play host to the Denver Nuggets. The Spurs hit the road to battle the top-seeded Houston Rockets on Easter Sunday afternoon.
Stanton, Davidson Headline Opening Day With Long Balls
Two sluggers took over the Opening Day headlines on Thursday in Major League Baseball with the long ball. First, Giancarlo Stanton made a major statement in his New York Yankee debut with two home runs, including one in his first at-bat with his new team, in a 6-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. Stanton, who also doubled and drove in four on the night, went deep in the first and ninth innings, both of which went to centerfield. These two long balls supported Luis Severino's win, as the ace went 5.2 innings in what was the Yankees' first season-opening win since 2011. Brett Gardner also went deep for the Yankees, while Aaron Judge finished with a single, double, and a walk. Another slugger that took over with the bat is Chicago White Sox designated hitter, Matt Davidson, who became the fourth player in MLB history with three home runs on Opening Day. He did this in what was a 14-7 win over the Kansas City Royals. Davidson went deep in the fourth, fifth, and eighth innings, becoming the third player to do this against the Royals on Opening Day. Tim Anderson added two long balls, while Jose Abreu also connected for one, giving Chicago six on the day. This helped them overcome a 4-0 deficit, as James Shields got rocked for four runs in the first inning. The six home runs for the White Sox tie the New York Mets' Opening Day record, which was set back in 1988.