CHICAGO — – Thaddeus Young scored 20 points, Coby White added 19 and the Chicago Bulls beat Milwaukee 118-112 with Giannis Antetokounmpo and the rest of the Bucks’ starters missing the regular-season finale Sunday night.
The Bucks ruled Khris Middleton out because of lingering soreness in his left ankle, then scratched Antetokounmpo and the rest of the starters once it became clear the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference was out of reach.
The Brooklyn Nets clinched the position by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers. That locked Milwaukee into the third spot and a first-round matchup against the Miami Heat.
Bucks rookie Jordan Nwora set career highs with 34 points and 14 rebounds. Jeff Teague scored 23. But with its top players out, Milwaukee came up short after winning eight of nine.
The Bulls prevented the Bucks from becoming the first NBA team to go unbeaten in its division, with an 11-1 mark against the Central. Chicago also snapped a 12-game losing streak to Milwaukee.
Lauri Markkanen scored 17, Ryan Arcidiacono set season highs with 14 points and four 3-pointers, and the Bulls finished their first season under coach Billy Donovan on a winning note – even though Zach Lavine (right knee tendinitis) and Nikola Vucevic (hip) did not play.
The Bulls were up by four early in the fourth when Arcidiacono hit three 3-pointers in a span of a minute as the lead grew to 100-89.
Bucks: Middleton missed his fourth game this season. «We feel like if we can kind of get on top of it this 24, 48 hours, I think he’ll be in a great place heading into the week of prep and playoffs,» coach Mike Budenholzer said. … F Thanasis Antetokounmpo exited with a sore right patella tendon.
Bulls: Donovan is missing the playoffs for the first time in six seasons as an NBA coach. He got there each of the past five years with Oklahoma City. «I’ve probably been in situations in college where you probably knew you were not going to make the NCAA Tournament,» said Donovan, who led Florida to two NCAA championships in 19 years. «It came down to your conference tournament, and a lot of times in those situations, it was having to win four games in four days, which is really challenging.» … Daniel Theis (sprained right hip), Tomas Satoransky (sprained left ankle) and Troy Brown Jr. (sprained left ankle) were unavailable.
Bucks: Open the playoffs at home against Miami.
Bulls: Season is over.
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