Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded 34 points and 15 rebounds as the Milwaukee Bucks rode a third-quarter surge to a 134-106 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday in Minneapolis.
Antetokounmpo, who was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week earlier on Monday, shot 14 of 19 from the field in a game that began with a delay of nearly an hour due to a basket malfunction.
Khris Middleton scored 26 points following a 9-of-15 effort from the field for the Bucks, who have won three in a row overall and nine of their last 11 encounters with the Timberwolves. Eric Bledsoe chipped in with a season-high 22 points after making 8 of 14 shots from the floor.
Andrew Wiggins recorded 25 points for Minnesota, which played without Karl-Anthony Towns as the two-time All-Star center served the second contest of his two-game suspension for an altercation with Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid on Wednesday.
Robert Covington scored 11 of his 15 points in the first quarter for the Timberwolves, and Jordan Bell pumped in 12 to eclipse his season total set over his first three games.
Milwaukee scored 22 of the first 30 points in the third quarter, with Antetokounmpo working the interior while Middleton sandwiched 3-pointers around a jumper to push the lead to 86-65. Donte DiVincenzo drilled back-to-back 3-pointers to cap the Bucks’ 38-point third quarter and push the team’s advantage to 102-82.
The game turned physical in the second quarter, as Middleton was whistled for a flagrant-1 foul after inadvertently hitting Bell in the face as he attempted to block a dunk.
A few minutes later, Ersan Ilyasova undercut Covington on the latter’s bid for a layup, resulting in the Minnesota power forward grimacing in pain before retreating to the locker room. Covington returned to start the third quarter.
Bledsoe scored seven of his team’s first 12 points to stake Milwaukee to an eight-point lead just over two minutes into the game.
One of the hoops was discovered to be uneven during warmups, prompting the delay of 59 minutes. Both teams were given 7 1/2 minutes to warm back up before the pregame routine continued with the national anthem and player introductions.