Giannis back, Bucks romp past Bulls again

Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo drives past Chicago Bulls’ Javonte Green during the first half of Tuesday’s game. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 25 points and 17 rebounds in his return to the lineup and the Milwaukee Bucks extended their recent mastery of the Chicago Bulls with a 126-98 blowout Tuesday night.

Antetokounmpo missed the Bucks’ 138-119 loss at Minnesota on Saturday due to a sore right knee. Milwaukee played without All-Star forward Khris Middleton, who was dealing with a sore left wrist.


Jrue Holiday had a game-high 27 points to go along with seven assists as the Bucks won for the 15th time in their last 16 meetings with the Bulls, including all three matchups this season. Chicago’s lone win during that stretch came in their 2019-20 regular-season finale, when the Bucks rested their starters because they were locked into the East’s No. 3 playoff seed.

Brook Lopez had 10 points and six rebounds in 24 minutes for Milwaukee after making his first start since the season opener. The 7-footer had come off the bench for the Bucks’ last three games after missing 67 due to a back injury that required surgery.

Nikola Vucevic had 22 points for the Bulls, who opened a five-game trip one night after a 113-99 victory over Toronto. DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine scored 21 apiece.


ORLANDO, Fla. — Franz Wagner made three free throws with 12.2 seconds left and dunked on an inbounds play for the final points, leading Orlando over Golden State.

Mo Bamba’s 3-pointer with 52 seconds left gave the Magic an 89-88 lead. Wendell Carter Jr. led Orlando with 19 points and Wagner had 18.

With the Warriors’ loss, the NBA-leading Phoenix Suns (58-14) clinched first place in the Pacific Division.

Jordan Poole scored 26 points for the Warriors, who shot 40% for the game and committed seven turnovers in the fourth quarter on the way to their third straight loss. Klay Thompson added 15 and Otto Porter Jr. had 14 points and 15 rebounds.


DENVER — Nikola Jokic bounced back from a rare poor shooting performance, scoring 30 points to lead Denver over Los Angeles.

The Nuggets had dropped four of six, including a 124-104 home loss to the Celtics on Sunday night in which Jokic missed 15 shots.

Against the Clippers, he was 9 of 15 from the floor — he also had two baskets that were waived off — and sank 12 of 13 free throws. He also pulled down a game-best 14 rebounds.

The Clippers dropped their fourth straight. They have lost seven of nine overall.

Terance Mann led the Clippers with 24 points.


NEW YORK — Trae Young had 45 points and eight assists in his first game at Madison Square Garden since last season’s playoffs, leading a late surge that sent Atlanta past New York.

Picking up right where he left off last spring, Young made seven 3-pointers, including one that tied the game at 105 with 2:54 to play. He then set up Bogdan Bogdanovic for a go-ahead 3 and followed another by De’Andre Hunter by leaving Taj Gibson behind off the dribble and knocking down a jumper to cap an 11-0 spurt and make it 113-105 with 1:04 left.

Bogdanovic added a season-high 32 points for the Hawks, who dropped the Knicks six games behind them for 10th place in the Eastern Conference, the final spot in the play-in field.

RJ Barrett had 30 points and 13 rebounds for the Knicks, who fell to 30-42 to clinch their eighth losing season in the last nine. The only winning record was when they went 41-31 last season to earn the No. 4 seed in the East.

The Hawks then beat them in five games in the first round of the playoffs. Young was the star in his first postseason series, ignoring the profane taunts from New York fans and getting the last word when he bowed to the crowd from near midcourt late in Game 5.

Alec Burks had 21 points for the Knicks, who played without Julius Randle because of a sore right quadriceps tendon. They led by 10 early in the fourth, but the game changed when Young re-entered with 7:45 remaining.

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