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Bucks ride Antetokounmpo, strong bench showing to victory over Pelicans

Giannis Antetokounmpo is getting a lot of help lately, and the Milwaukee Bucks have a winning streak going.

Antetokounmpo did his usual heavy lifting with 25 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in the Bucks to a 123-115 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans Wednesday night at Fiserv Forum. But a bench that produced 39 points and 21 rebounds lifted a lot of weight off the superstar’s shoulders.

Second-year forward D.J. Wilson put up his second straight “career” game with nine points and 10 rebounds, Tony Snell delivered 13 points and George Hill posted 11 points in his best game as a Buck, and Sterling Brown again played up to his first name with nine points and four rebounds.

Wilson and Brown also have been exceptional at the defensive end, each taking a turn on Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis.

Because of the huge bench effort — reserves went 17 for 28 (60.7%) — the Bucks (21-9) fended off a Pelicans team that made 19 of 42 3-pointers. The Pelicans entered the game averaging just 10 3-pointers a game.

Davis led all scorers with 27 points for New Orleans (15-17). Jrue Holiday added 25 and Darius Miller 20.

Brogdon added 16 for the Bucks, but their true strength came in balance. Every one of the 10 Bucks players to play scored at least seven points. Nine scored at least nine.

After sputtering to a 7-0 deficit, the Bucks quickly recovered and build a 54-42 lead by the middle of the second quarter.

New Orleans closed the half with a 24-8 run for a 66-62 lead at the break. The Pelicans pushed their lead to as many as seven in the third, but the Bucks closed strong, and Hill’s 3-pointer barely beat the buzzer to pull teh Bucks into a 90-90 tie.

New Orleans scored the first five points of the fourth quarter, but the Bucks scored the next nine and led the rest of the way. Still, the Pelicans kept making 3-pointers that kept the Bucks from pulling away.

Davis made a three to keep the Pelicans within 101-99 with 8:17 left. Frank Jackson made a triple that cut it to 103-102 with 6;55 left. Jrue Holiday made a triple to keep New Orleans within 106-105 with 6:04 left.

A dunk by Davis put the Pelicans on top, 107-106 with 5:45 left.

Malcolm Brogdon got the lead back with a driving layup. Then the bench went to work. Brown scored a driving layup. Hill added a free throw off a deadball foul. Wilson tipped in Khris Middleton’s miss, then put himself in the right place to score when  Brogdon’s shot was blocked right to him underneath.

Brogdon completed an 11-0 run with another layup, making it 117-107 with 2:56 left, and the Pelicans would get no closer than six the rest of the way.

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