Khris Middleton helps Bucks pull out sluggish win over Hawks

Khris Middleton helps Bucks pull out sluggish win over Hawks

February 13th, 2018 by Associated Press in Breaking News
Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton, left, is fouled by Atlanta Hawks guard Kent Bazemore, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Darren Hauck)

Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton, left, is fouled...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Khris Middleton had 21 points to lead a balanced attack for the Milwaukee Bucks, and All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo hit two key buckets in the final three-plus minutes to spark a 97-92 win on Tuesday night over the Atlanta Hawks.

Tyler Zeller added 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting in his first game in Milwaukee since joining the team on the road before the trade deadline last week. The Bucks improved to 9-2 since Joe Prunty took over as interim coach following the firing of Jason Kidd, getting back in the race for a top-four playoff seed in the East.

Dennis Schroder scored 18 points for the Hawks, and Ersan Ilyasova had nine of his 15 points in the fourth quarter. Ilyasova spearheaded a late rally in which Atlanta erased a 12-point deficit and tied it at 84 on Kent Bazemore's 3-pointer with 3:30 left.

Antetokounmpo, who finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds, answered with a mid-range jumper and layup to open an 8-0 run. Schroder and Bazemore then whiffed on open layups following a steal with less than a minute left that could have helped the Hawks mount one last comeback.

A 14-2 run in the third quarter for the Bucks briefly broke open what had been a ho-hum game marked by questionable shot selection and bad misses on both sides. Middleton's jumper with 2:58 left completed the spurt and lifted Milwaukee to a 65-53 lead.

The Hawks were opening a two-game road swing before the All-Star break, while the Bucks returned home following a four-game trip. Both teams looked as if they needed some time off during a sluggish first half that ended with Atlanta leading 43-41.

Atlanta took some wild shots and tossed passes into the stands as it tried to spread the floor. Milwaukee was just 4 of 15 (27 percent) from 3-point range in the first half.

TIP-INS

Hawks: Second in the league at forcing turnovers (15.8 per game), Atlanta got the Bucks to cough up the ball just 10 times. ... Bazemore had 17 points on 6-of-15 shooting.

Bucks: Forward Jabari Parker played 18 minutes and scored seven points after missing the previous game for rest. He has shown flashes of the explosiveness that made him a dangerous player before missing a year after suffering the second major left knee injury of his career on Feb. 8, 2017. At one point in the first half, Parker ripped down a rebound before dribbling nearly the length of the court and dishing near the bucket after drawing a double team. ... Thon Maker started at center for John Henson, who missed a second straight game with a sore right hamstring.

UP NEXT

Hawks: Finish up the second half of a back-to-back by visiting the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday in their last game before the All-Star break.

Bucks: Host the Denver Nuggets on Thursday in their last game before the break.


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