Giannis Antetokounmpo returned to the lineup, and the Milwaukee Bucks returned to their winning ways.
Antetokounmpo scored 33 points, and Eric Bledsoe chipped in 24 points and 10 assists as the Bucks improved to 12-0 in games following a loss with a 133-114 victory over the Atlanta Hawks Sunday at State Farm Arena.
Antetokounmpo sat out Friday night’s 113-106 loss at Washington with a sore quadriceps and hip. He opened the game Sunday by draining two 20-footers and a 3-pointer. He spent the rest of the afternoon pounding the Hawks inside and at the free throw line, where he went 14 of 19.
The Bucks (30-12) got hammered on the boards through the first three quarters, trailing, 15-3 after a quarter, 31-15, at the half and 49-27 after three quarters. The final margin showed 54-39, but the Bucks won this one with consistently better shooting and ballhandling.
Milwaukee shot 53.3% (49 of 92) to just 40.6% (39 of 96) and committed just 14 turnovers — three came in the final 2:17 of garbage time — to 24 by the Hawks. The turnovers and Atlanta’s poor shooting contributed to the Bucks posting a 32-9 margin in fast-break points.
In no way did the Bucks dominate the Hawks. Rather, they inched and inched away, winning the first quarter by three, the second quarter by six, the third quarter by two and the fourth by eight.
The game lacked flow, as 55 fouls were called, but the Bucks simply had too much power for the rebuilding Hawks.
Khris Middleton added 15 points and 11 needed rebounds, and the Milwaukee bench scored 33 points, led by George Hill’s 11 points and plus-21 in plus/minus. D.J. Wilson went 3 for 3 for eight points, including 2 for 2 on 3-pointers, and had half of Milwaukee’s four blocked shots.
Rookie guard Trae Young led the Hawks (13-30) with 26 points and 10 rebounds, and DeAndre’ Bembry added 18.
The victory gave the Bucks another winning road trip at 2-1. They return home Tuesday against the Miami Heat before road games at Memphis and Orlando.
The Bucks remained 1 1/2 games behind Toronto, which survived at Washington with a 140-138 victory in double-overtime.