The Milwaukee Bucks just keep on rolling. Who’s going to stop them?
Khris Middleton scored 39 points and Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 34 as the Bucks cruised to a 128-118 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers Thursday night at Fiserv Forum.
The potent duo prove unstoppable, with both players grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out five assists each on well-rounded nights.
Antetokounmpo gave Bucks fans a scare midway through the fourth quarter, doing down and coming up with a severe limp after stepping on the foot of Los Angeles’ Garrett Temple with just under 8 minutes left. Antetokounmpo raised a major cheer from the crowd with just under 5 minutes left when he walked to the scorer’s table to check back in.
Brook Lopez hit a 3-pointer seconds later to push the Bucks to a 13-point lead, and coach Mike Budenholzer decided to pull Antetokounmpo back after a Clippers timeout.
Antetokounmpo and Middleton opened the game aggressively on offense, and a 39-21 second quarter pushed then out to a 67-46 lead at the half.
The lead reached 103-77 on Sterling Brown’s 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter. Clippers cut it to nine points to put a brief scare into the Bucks, but they never got closer.
Milwaukee (57-19) won its fourth straight game to reach a season-high 38 games over .500. The last time they were 38 over .500 came when they finished the 1980-’81 season at 60-22.
More important, the Bucks dropped their magic number to two to clinch the No. 1 seed and homecourt advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs. They lead the Toronto Raptors by four games, plus a tie-breaker, with six games left.
All five Bucks starters reached double figures, with guards Eric Bledsoe and Sterling Brown totaling 15 points each, and Lopez posting 12. Brown has been playing well since returning from a right wrist injury.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Clippers (45-31) with 21 points. Los Angeles put seven players in double figures, but couldn’t match the 1-2 punch of Middleton and Antetokounmpo.