NBA regular season

Giannis Antetokounmpo flirts with triple-double, lifts Bucks past Suns

Giannis Antetokounmpo flirts with triple-double, lifts Bucks past Suns

TOO BIG. Suns guard Cameron Payne guards Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks become the first team to reach the 50-win mark this season

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists as the visiting Milwaukee Bucks beat the Phoenix Suns, 116-104, to become the NBA’s first team to reach the 50-win mark on Tuesday, March 14 (Wednesday, March 15, Manila time).

Brook Lopez had 21 points and 10 rebounds for Milwaukee, which won for the 21st time in its last 23 games and clinched a playoff spot for the seventh consecutive season. Jrue Holiday scored 12 points, while Jae Crowder and Bobby Portis Jr. had 11 apiece.

Devin Booker scored 20 of his 30 points in the second half for Phoenix. Deandre Ayton added 16 points and 8 rebounds, Cameron Payne scored 13, Jock Landale had 12, and Chris Paul had 11 points and 8 assists.

The Suns have lost three straight following a four-game winning streak.

After Phoenix tied the game at 97, Pat Connaughton and Joe Ingles each hit three-pointers during an 11-2 run to help Milwaukee move ahead, 108-99, with 4:45 remaining.

Paul scored on the next possession to cut the deficit to 7 before Milwaukee scored 8 straight points to secure its 12th win in its last 13th road games.

Ayton was limited to 25 minutes while battling foul trouble throughout the game. Ayton picked up two fouls in the first five minutes for Phoenix, which trailed 29-24 at the end of the first quarter.

Milwaukee stretched its lead to 51-35 with five minutes left in the half after Holiday’s jumper capped a 22-9 run. Phoenix battled back and cut the deficit to 57-48 at the break.

Antetokounmpo had 20 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists in the first half for Milwaukee, which completed a two-game season sweep of the Suns.

Phoenix outscored Milwaukee 36-28 in the third quarter behind Booker, who scored 17 points in the period. Phoenix ended the quarter down 85-84 after Booker hit a pull-up jumper at the buzzer.

The Suns took their first lead since late in the first quarter at 90-87 when Payne scored with 10:47 remaining in the contest.

Booker has scored at least 30 points in six of the last seven games for Phoenix, which shot 14-of-16 (87.5%) from the foul line, compared to 24-of-37 (64.9%) for Milwaukee. –

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