Both the Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors opened up a 2-0 series lead on Monday night against the Milwaukee Bucks and New Orleans Pelicans respectively.
The Bulls were the first out as they sealed a 91-82 win over the Bucks with Jimmy Butler scoring a playoff career-high 31 points in the win which included a ferocious dunk over Zaza Pachulia down the stretch to open up the lead.
It was a feisty encounter between the Eastern Conference rivals with players having to be separated on two occasions as they squared up in a heated battle.
Derrick Rose overcame a scoreless first half to finish with 15 points while Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol had a dominant night on the boards to help secure the victory.
Over in the Western Conference, the Warriors also have a two-game cushion but were made to work for it yet again by the Pelicans in a noisy Oracle Arena.
Klay Thompson scored 26 points, Stephen Curry had 22 points and six assists while Draymond Green added 14 points and 12 rebounds in an all-round strong performance from the hosts.
Unsurprisingly it was Anthony Davis who led the charge for the Pelicans with 26 points and 10 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough as they slipped to a 97-87 loss.
Both the Bulls and Warriors will now hit the road for Game 3, but after protecting home court successfully, they will be confident of their chances of advancing and avoiding any early scares as have both shown the ability to get the better of their rivals despite everything being thrown at them.
Milwaukee Bucks 82-91 Chicago Bulls
New Orleans Pelicans 87-97 Golden State Warriors