Giannis, Bucks hold off Kawhi-less Clippers


Giannis Antetokounmpo had 38 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists Wednesday, leading the Milwaukee Bucks to a 129-124 victory over the host Los Angeles Clippers, who played without star forward Kawhi Leonard.

Milwaukee’s George Hill came off the bench to score 24 points, hitting 6 of 7 3-point attempts, while Eric Bledsoe had 20. Kyle Korver added 14 points for the Bucks, Khris Middleton chipped in 13, and Brook Lopez finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Montrezl Harrell, in his first start this season, scored a career-high 34 points to go along with 13 rebounds and five assists. Lou Williams also had 34 points to go with 11 assists, while Patrick Beverley contributed 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Leonard sat out his second contest in eight games because of “load management.” Los Angeles has lost both contests.

JaMychal Green’s jumper sliced Milwaukee’s lead to 125-121 with 44.4 seconds left. After a free throw by Antetokounmpo, Landry Shamet’s 3-pointer cut the margin to 126-124 with 23.2 seconds remaining.

However, two free throws by Middleton clinched the Bucks’ fourth consecutive win.

After trailing by 11 at the half, the Clippers opened the third quarter with an 11-3 surge to cut the deficit to 73-70. Los Angeles tied the score at 83 after two free throws by Williams with 4:26 left in the third, but Milwaukee closed the quarter on a 15-6 run for a 98-89 edge heading into the fourth.

The Bucks, who led by as many as 17 points in the first half, used a 16-2 surge to take a 47-35 lead after a 3-pointer by Antetokounmpo with 7:05 left in the second quarter. The Clippers pulled within nine after a pair of free throws by Williams, but Korver’s 3-pointer to end the half lifted the Bucks to a 70-59 advantage at the break.

Milwaukee outscored Los Angeles 42-29 in the second quarter.

The Bucks made 18 of 49 3-point attempts to 13 of 31 for the Clippers. The Clippers committed 19 turnovers to 15 for the Bucks. Milwaukee had a slight edge in shooting from the floor, converting 42.9 percent to 41.8 percent for Los Angeles.