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Brook Lopez, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Damian Lillard each eclipsed 30 points as the Milwaukee Bucks improved to 3-0 in in-season tournament play with a 131-128 win over the visiting Washington Wizards on Friday, November 24 (Saturday, November 25, Manila time).
It’s the first game in Bucks franchise history in which three players had 30 points or more. Lopez tied his career-high with 39, while Antetokounmpo (9 rebounds) and Lillard (10 assists) each had 31.
Washington had four 20-point scorers, led by Milwaukee native Jordan Poole with 26 and 7 assists. Kyle Kuzma and Tyus Jones each added 22, while Corey Kispert scored 20.
The Wizards entered the halftime break with a 61-60 lead, thanks in part to their three-point shooting. The Bucks shot 54.3% from the floor in the half, but the Wizards made nine three-pointers compared to the Bucks’ five.
Kispert led the Wizards in the half with 15 points off the bench, shooting 5-for-7 from beyond the arc. Antetokounmpo had 15 to lead Milwaukee.
A big development involved the Bucks’ Khris Middleton, who exited in the third quarter with left Achilles tightness. Middleton has not been able to play in back-to-back games this season in an effort to manage his knee that was repaired this past offseason.
With Middleton out, the trio of Antetokounmpo, Lillard, and Lopez scored all 32 points the team scored in the third quarter: 7 from Antetokounmpo, 10 from Lillard, and 15 from Lopez.
The trio continued to flourish in the fourth, in particular Lopez. An and-one layup from Lopez put the Bucks up 6 with less than two minutes to play after the game was within one possession for much of the second half.
However, the Wizards gave themselves a chance. Antetokounmpo lost the ball going up for a second-chance layup in the final minute, leading to a Kuzma three-pointer on the other end. That brought Washington within a point with 16.9 seconds to play.
Antetokounmpo then made two free throws after a foul and Landry Shamet air-balled a wide open, potential game-tying three-pointer on the other end, allowing the Bucks to close it out.
Milwaukee improved to 2-0 against Washington this season and stayed atop East Group B. The Wizards’ losing streak extended to eight games. – Rappler.com