Bucks cruise past Hawks without injured Antetokounmpo

ATLANTA — Khris Middleton scored 23 points, Ersan Ilyasova had season highs of 18 points and 17 rebounds and the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks overcame Giannis Antetokunmpo’s absence to beat the Atlanta Hawks 112-86 on Friday night.

Antetokunmpo, the league MVP last season and second-leading scorer this season, sat out because of back soreness. He watched from the bench as his teammates helped Milwaukee improve to 28-5 overall and 13-3 on the road.

The Hawks lost their ninth straight to drop to a league-worst 6-26. They lost guard Trae Young, the NBA’s fourth-leading scorer, to a right ankle sprain late in the second quarter. He had to be helped off the floor and was ruled out for the rest of the game.

Brook Lopez had 19 points for Milwaukee to match his season-high.

Allen Crabbe led the Hawks with 20 points in a reserve role. Starting forward John Collins, Atlanta’s second-leading scorer, finished with nine points and missed 10 of 14 shots from the field.

Ilyasova’s 3 at the 6:25 mark of the third put the Bucks up 78-46. With his team trailing by 30 a couple of minutes later, Atlanta’s DeAndre’ Bembry stole the ball and missed a dunk.

The Bucks improved to 26-3 since Nov. 1 and are 2-0 without Antetokoumpo, who missed a Dec. 11 win over New Orleans with right quad tendon soreness.

Middleton, Lopez and Ilyasova, who started in Antetokounmpo’s spot, sat out the fourth quarter with a comfortable lead.

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