Giannis, Middleton hit late 3s, Bucks hold off Knicks
MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 31 points and 15 assists, Khris Middleton sank a pair of late 3-pointers and the Milwaukee Bucks survived a furious second-half rally by New York to hold off the Knicks 124-113 on Monday night.
Middleton was efficient in scoring 30 points, going 7 of 8 from 3-point range. Antetokounmpo only had one 3, but it came in a big spot, giving unbeaten Milwaukee the lead for good midway through the fourth period.
Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Knicks with 24 points. Trey Burke added 19 and Mario Hezonja had 18.
Middleton’s 3-pointer with 2:22 left gave the Bucks a 116-110 lead, and Eric Bledsoe and Middleton had 3s in the final two minutes as Milwaukee pulled away.
All five Bucks starters scored in double figures. Bledsoe had 16 points, center Brook Lopez added 13 and guard Malcolm Brogdon had 11.
Middleton sank three consecutive 3-pointers to give the Bucks a 58-43 lead midway through the second quarter. He finished with 19 points in the half as Milwaukee rolled to a 71-52 lead.
The Bucks made 10 of 20 3-pointers in the half, with Middleton making all four of his attempts.
Burke sparked New York’s comeback, scoring 13 points in a 35-17 surge that cut the deficit to 88-87 at the end of the third quarter. Milwaukee went just 1 of 13 from 3-point range in the period.
The Knicks took their first lead at 95-94 on an offensive rebound and basket by Noah Vonleh, and Damyean Dotson later hit a straight-on 3 to tie the score at 100. Antetokounmpo hit the go-ahead 3 about a minute later.
Knicks: New York played without rookie forward Kevin Knox, who sprained his left ankle in a 103-101 loss at Boston on Saturday. … Coach David Fizdale said he isn’t ready to make a change in the starting lineup. Burke and Hardaway started in the backcourt, with Frank Ntilikina and Lance Thomas at forward and Enes Kanter at center. “We’re still going to make people work for it and earn it,” Fizdale said. “At the same time, I’m still looking at the next couple games. Then at some point, if I see a fit, I’m going to make a change.”
Bucks: Third-year center Thon Maker was active for the first time this season and D.J. Wilson and Christian Wood were inactive. … Coach Mike Budenholzer said he likes his bench options, including rookie Donte DiVincenzo and veteran Ersan Ilyasova. “His defense always stands out to me,” the coach said of Ilyasova, who played under Budenholzer in Atlanta. “He can guard big 5s. Offensively he has a knack for playing and it marries up with how we want to play.”
Knicks: At Miami on Wednesday night.
Bucks: Host Philadelphia on Wednesday night.