Sizzling Heat scorch Bucks

Basketball

Jae Crowder scored 18 points off the bench as the Miami Heat locked down Giannis Antetokounmpo to hand the Milwaukee Bucks a 105-89 defeat on Monday.

Crowder led the scoring for the Heat as NBA MVP Antetokounmpo was held to a season-low 13 points at Miami’s American Airlines Arena.

The defeat was only Milwaukee’s ninth loss of the season and helped Miami improve to 39-22 in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

The Bucks remain firmly in control of the conference standings, leading with a 52-9 record ahead of second-placed Toronto, who are 42-18.

But the previously all-­conquering Bucks were given plenty of food for thought ahead of next month’s playoffs after a superb Miami display.

Crowder led the Miami scoring along with Jimmy Butler, with both players finishing on 18 points.

No fewer than six Miami players cracked double digits, including center Bam Adebayo who also had a huge night defensively.

Adebayo finished with 14 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and forced five turnovers. The 22-year-old also made four blocks.

Brook Lopez led the Milwaukee scoring with 21 points but it was a night to forget for Antetokounmpo, who made only six of 18 shooting attempts.

NBA stars have been given a series of recommendations as the league attempts to limit the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the sport.

ESPN reported on Monday that a memo sent to teams had outlined short-term measures aimed at protecting players from exposure to the virus, which has left six people dead in the US so far.

The NBA memo recommends that players interacting with fans should bump fists rather than high-five.

The league also advises players to avoid taking items such as pens, balls and jerseys to autograph.

“The health and safety of NBA players, coaches, staff, and fans is paramount,” the NBA and NBA Players Association said in the memo.

“We are consulting with infectious disease experts, including the Centers for Disease Control, and a world-renowned infectious disease researcher at Columbia University.

“We are also in regular communication with each other, NBA teams including team physicians and athletic trainers, other professional sports leagues, and of course, many of you.”

Some players have already taken steps to limit their exposure to the virus. 

Portland Trail Blazers star C.J. McCollum said Saturday he was no longer signing autographs because of the outbreak.

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