Giannis, resurgent Middleton combine for 77 in heated Bucks win over Kings

Giannis, resurgent Middleton combine for 77 in heated Bucks win over Kings

FREAKY. Milwaukee Bucks power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) dunks the ball above Sacramento Kings center Trey Lyles (41) during the first quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Giannis Antetokounmpo leads with 46 points while the recovering Khris Middleton scores 31 as the Milwaukee Bucks tame the scorching Sacramento Kings

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 46 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, Khris Middleton scored a season-high 31 points and dished out nine assists and the Milwaukee Bucks used a 14-5 run late in the fourth quarter to defeat the host Sacramento Kings on Monday (Tuesday, March 14, Manila time), 133-124.

The NBA-leading Bucks came into Monday’s contest with the streaking Kings having gone nearly two months without consecutive losses. After dropping Saturday’s visit to Golden State in overtime, Milwaukee’s run appeared in jeopardy throughout the first half.

Sacramento built a lead of as many as 15 points before intermission behind Domantas Sabonis, who shot 8 of 12 from the floor in the first half. Sabonis recorded a triple-double with 23 points and game highs of 17 rebounds and 15 assists but was held to just 3-of-11 shooting in the second half.

Milwaukee chipped away at the deficit before taking a lead in the third quarter that it only relinquished sparingly the rest of the way.

Sacramento threatened late behind big second-half performances from De’Aaron Fox, who finished with 35 points, eight rebounds and two steals, and Kevin Huerter, who scored 28 points on 8-of-11 3-point shooting.

When Harrison Barnes scored three of his 14 points on an and-one play with just over four minutes remaining, the Kings pulled within two points at 116-114. But Milwaukee responded with its decisive run, pushing the advantage to double digits, and the game was out of reach.

Middleton shot 4-for-6 from the floor in the fourth quarter to close out what was his best offensive performance of the season.

Antetokounmpo’s double-double was his 11th of 40-plus points and 10-plus rebounds on the season, and Brook Lopez added 23 points and eight rebounds before an ejection in the closing seconds.

Lopez and Sacramento’s Trey Lyles got into a shoving match shortly before the buzzer that resulted in both players being tossed. –

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