Giannis Antetokounmpo has 34 points, 17 rebounds; Bucks top Pels 120-108
NEW ORLEANS — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 34 points and 17 rebounds, and the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 120-108 on Tuesday night.
Khris Middleton scored 20 for the Bucks, who led by 19 in the third quarter before holding off a Pelicans rally in the fourth.
Brandon Ingram scored 32 points and Zion Williamson had 20 for the Pelicans, who briefly got as close as seven twice in the fourth period before the Bucks stemmed the tide and improved to 20-4 away from home this season.
Milwaukee defended Williamson aggressively, constantly rejecting or fouling him with multiple defenders and often knocking him to the floor. It seemed to pay off. Williamson was 5-of-18 shooting and New Orleans was minus-11 with its rookie sensation on the court.
But Williamson still managed to assert himself early in the fourth quarter. His off-balance floater as he lunged across the lane trimmed the Bucks’ lead to 103-96 with 9:26 to go.
Later, Williamson ripped a rebound away from Antetokounmpo under the Milwaukee basket, drew a foul and hit two free throws to cut it 107-100.
But the Bucks responded with Brook Lopez’s layup and Wesley Matthews’ fifth 3-pointer of the game to push their advantage back to 12.
While Antetokounmpo and Middleton spearheaded Milwaukee’s offense with decisive moves toward or around the basket, Matthews demoralized New Orleans by reliably hitting open 3s in transition. He hit five from deep and finished with 17 points.
By contrast, the Pelicans missed 35 of their 49 attempts from 3-point range, hitting just three of 19 in the second half.
Bucks: Came in outscoring opponents by 12.4 points per game and just about equaled that average. … Antetokounmpo has at least 30 points and 15 rebounds in three straight games and has 13 such games this season. … Matched their NBA-best average of 120 points per game. … Hit the 110-point mark for an 11th straight game.
Pelicans: Lonzo Ball had 11 points and 14 rebounds. … JJ Redick scored 13 points. … Williamson was 10 of 14 from the free throw line. … New Orleans shot 38.8% (38 of 98).
Bucks: Host the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night.
Pelicans: Visit the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.