Bucks beat Hawks 111-102 in Middleton's return
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 30 points and 10 rebounds, Khris Middleton scored 16 points in his return from injury, and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Atlanta Hawks 111-102 on Wednesday night for their ninth consecutive victory.
Middleton, who had been out since Nov. 10 with a thigh contusion, didn't start and played 20 minutes.
Antetokounmpo followed his season-high 50 points on Monday by notching his 18th consecutive double-double. The reigning MVP's streak of double-doubles is the longest to begin a season since Bill Walton opened with 34 straight in 1976-77.
Antetokounmpo was 3 for 11 from the free throw line for the Eastern Conference leaders, on their longest winning streak since winning 10 straight in 1985-86.
Former Bucks forward Jabari Parker scored a season-high 33 points for the Hawks and added 14 rebounds. Trae Young scored 29 points as Atlanta (4-14) dropped its eighth straight.
Parker scoring the Hawks' first eight points on their way to a 17-15 lead. Then Milwaukee scored 18 straight, getting seven from Middleton, to jump to a 33-17 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Hawks battled back in the second period, behind Parker's 15 points and Young's 14. By the time Young drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer going into halftime, they had shaved the Bucks' lead to 60-59.
The Hawks took an 82-81 lead into the fourth, but Antetokounmpo sparked the crowd by scoring over Parker on a drive to the hoop and drawing Parker's fourth foul. Robin Lopez tipped in Antetokounmpo's missed free throw, giving Milwaukee an 87-84 lead with just over 10 minutes left.
The game stayed tight until Middleton hit a 3-point basket with just under 4 minutes left to put Milwaukee up, 102-93.
Hawks: Guard Kevin Huerter (left rotator cuff strain) missed his eighth straight game. He has also been ruled out for the next two games, on Friday and Saturday. … Entering Wednesday, Atlanta ranked second in the NBA in points in the paint per game (53.3) and Parker ranked tied for third in slam dunks (47).
Bucks: Middleton, the team's second-leading scorer who entered Wednesday averaging 18.5 points per game, had been expected to miss three to four weeks. "It's probably going to be one or two games and he'll be starting," coach Mike Budenholzer said. ... Guard George Hill (back soreness) was out for a second straight game.
Hawks: At Indiana on Friday.
Bucks: At Cleveland on Friday.