Bucks down undermanned Nuggets for sixth straight win
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 24 points, Pat Connaughton had 20 and Khris Middleton added 17 as the visiting Milwaukee Bucks extended their winning streak to six games with a 120-109 victory over the shorthanded Denver Nuggets on Friday.
Antetokounmpo also amassed 13 rebounds and seven assists for Milwaukee, which led wire to wire and moved a season-high four games over .500. Jrue Holiday scored 16 points, Bobby Portis totaled 11 and Grayson Allen had 10.
Denver lost its sixth straight game and struggled to keep pace with the Bucks minus Nikola Jokic (right wrist sprain), Michael Porter Jr. (back), Jamal Murray (knee), Bones Hyland (ankle) and P.J. Dozier (ACL).
Aaron Gordon recorded 18 points and nine rebounds for Denver, which trailed by as many as 20 in the second half. Will Barton tallied 17 points and nine rebounds while Facundo Campazzo had 16 points.
Denver’s Jeff Green and Monte Morris each scored 15, and Vlatko Cancar had 10. Morris contributed eight assists for the Nuggets, who shot 17 of 47 (36.2 percent) from 3-point range.
Jokic missed his fourth straight game for the Nuggets, who were outscored 24-8 to start the game and trailed by 11 at the end of the first quarter.
Milwaukee extended its lead to 39-22 on Antetokounmpo’s 3-pointer with 9:29 left in the second quarter before Denver responded with a 21-9 run to pull within 48-43.
Antetokounmpo and Middleton scored 11 points apiece in the first half to help the Bucks take a 58-47 lead into the break.
Barton hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 68-63 midway through the third quarter, but Milwaukee took a 90-73 lead into the final period after closing with a 22-10 run.
Denver scored the first five points of the fourth quarter and pulled within 100-87 on Green’s layup with 7:27 remaining.
George Hill scored with 4:06 left to cap a 9-2 run and give Milwaukee a commanding 20-point lead.
Milwaukee shot 63 percent from the field and improved to 8-0 this season when Antetokounmpo has played together with Middleton and Holiday.
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