Antetokounmpo and Middleton lead Bucks past Kings as Jrue Holiday is "close" to returning
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 38 points and Khris Middleton scored 32 to lead the Milwaukee Bucks past the skidding Sacramento Kings 128-115 on Sunday night.
The Bucks won their second straight after ending a five-game losing streak with a victory over Oklahoma City on Friday night.
Antetokounmpo added 18 rebounds, one off his season high, as the Bucks sent the Kings to their seventh consecutive loss. Milwaukee has won nine in a row against Sacramento.
The Bucks led 28-25 after one quarter but poured it on in the second, leading by as many as 17.
Milwaukee began to take control midway through the period when Jabari Parker appeared to draw a charge on Antetokounmpo as the two-time reigning MVP sank a short jumper. Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer challenged the call, which was reversed, resulting in a blocking call against Parker. Antetokounmpo made the foul shot to complete the three-point play.
The Kings rallied to cut the lead to eight with just under two minutes left in the half before the Bucks scored six straight to put the finishing touches on a 42-point quarter.
Milwaukee scored the first eight points of the third quarter to build a 22-point lead and held a 99-82 margin heading to the fourth.
Sacramento pulled within 12 early in the fourth but the Bucks remained in command throughout the quarter.
Tyrese Haliburton paced the Kings with 23 points. DaQuan Jeffries added 18.
Kings: F Harrison Barnes (strained left foot) — Sacramento’s second-leading scorer — missed his third consecutive game. … F Richaun Holmes (sore right knee) returned after missing three games. … F Glenn Robinson III, unavailable Saturday night with a sore right knee, was away from the team Sunday for personal reasons.
Bucks: G Jrue Holiday missed an eighth consecutive game due to the league’s health and safety protocols. He did appear on the bench for the first time since he entered the protocols and Coach Mike Budenholzer said after the game he was "close" to returning. Reserve guard Jaylen Adams was unavailable for the same reason for the second straight game. ... Milwaukee activated rookie second-round draft pick Sam Merrill, who was recalled from the NBA G League’s Memphis Hustle.
Kings: Visit Brooklyn on Tuesday in the third of a five-game road trip. The Nets defeated the Kings 136-125 in Sacramento on Feb. 15.
Bucks: Host Minnesota on Tuesday in the fifth of eight consecutive games at home. Also the third of seven straight games against Western Conference opponents to close out the first half of the season.