Antetokounmpo scores 27 on 27th birthday, Bucks win 112-104


MILWAUKEE – Giannis Antetokounmpo returned from a two-game absence and scored 27 points on his 27th birthday to help the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 112-104 on Monday night.

The two-time MVP made all three of his 3-pointers and also had 12 rebounds in the return game after suffering a sore in his right calf as the Bucks took their 10th win in 11 games. He scored 15 points in the fourth inning.

Antetokounmpo, who scored 6/7 free throws, said: “The boys are playing confidently, playing together.

Milwaukee split the two games it played without Antetokounmpo, losing 97-93 in Toronto and finishing with a 124-102 home win over Miami.

The Bucks broke a record 29 all-time with seven points in a row early in the second quarter and led for the rest of the run, even though Cleveland made the Bucks work for it.

After trailing 13, the Cavaliers got their lead down to two in the fourth quarter. Cedi Osman missed a 3-point effort with 6:14 on the left that should have kept Cleveland ahead since the end of the first quarter.


Milwaukee’s Bobby Portis gets the ball bouncing off Osman’s miss. Khris Middleton then found Jrue Holiday, who hit a 3-pointer on the other end to extend the Bucks’ lead to 101-96 with 6:04 remaining.

It does not fall below the remaining five hops.

“I think that pass and hit might be the biggest spin because it hangs there at two o’clock,” said Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer. “We need someone to play a play.”

Holiday has 20 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds. Khris Middleton provided 21 points and eight assists. Pat Connaughton scored 12, and Bobby Portis had 10 points and 16 rebounds.

The Bucks are unbeaten this season with Antetokounmpo, Middleton and Holiday all in the lineup.

Jarrett Allen led the Cavaliers with 25 points and 9 rebounds while shooting 10/12 points. Lauri Markkanen scored 20, Kevin Love 15, Evan Mobley 12 and Darius Garland 10.

The Cavaliers played one night after a 109-108 loss to Utah, recording a four-game winning streak. Even though they have lost each of the last two matches, they still see reason to be encouraging.


“We’ll fight to the end,” Allen said. “That’s the main thing I learned about this team, about the boys. No matter how we start the game, no matter who is in front of us, big or small, we will go out there and fight to the end. You look at these last two games, we played in both. We could have just rolled and given up the game easily, but we came back and tried to stay there until the end.”

Milwaukee beat the Cavaliers eight times in a row. The Bucks are 43-4 against Central Division rivals since Budenholzer took over as coach in 2018.


Cavaliers: Garland enters tonight scoring more than 30 points in each of his last two games, but he cooled on Monday and shot only 3 out of 12. … Allen was one of the rebounds. his eighth consecutive double.

Bucks: Donte DiVincenzo has been briefly assigned to the Wisconsin Herd, the NBA G League affiliate of the Bucks, for some practice sessions as he returns to training from a torn left ankle ligament. DiVincenzo has not played since suffering an ankle injury in the playoffs first leg against Miami last season. Budenholzer said DiVincenzo “continues to do well and possibly exceed our expectations” but gave no timeline for the former Villanova star’s potential return. … George Hill missed his second game in a row due to hypotension in his right knee



Cavaliers: Host the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.

Bucks: At the Miami Heat on Wednesday in the first of four straight games.


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Huynh Nguyen

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