cloudyn.png
Monday December 16th, 2019 7:21AM

Antetokounmpo leads Bucks to 60th win, 115-107 over Hawks

By The Associated Press

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo is in a perfect position to put the Bucks' 60-win season in perspective.

Antetokounmpo scored 30 points and Khris Middleton added 21 to send Milwaukee to a methodical 115-107 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night, giving the Bucks 60 wins for the first time since 1981.

"Six years ago, my first year here, we won 15 gams," said Antetokounmpo, who was a 19-year-old rookie in 2013-14. "Now, we have four times that amount. It's big. Our goal coming into the season was to get 60 wins. You definitely have to appreciate it because it's pretty special.

"Now, we have to refocus and look forward to the playoffs," he added.

The Bucks, who have clinched the best record in the Eastern Conference, led from the outset as the Hawks rested leading scorers John Collins and Trae Young.

Milwaukee led 85-72 entering the final period, but Atlanta pulled to 101-98 on a drive by DeAndre' Bembry with 3:28 left.

Middleton countered with consecutive 3-pointers and Antetokounmpo connected from beyond the arc to put Milwaukee up 110-98.

"It was great for them to close it," said Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, who coached Atlanta to 60 wins in 2014-15. "Khris has a knack for hitting those big shots and it's great of Giannis to see a 3 go down to kind of finish the night. Those two guys are special. It makes a big difference."

Alex Len had a career-high 33 points for Atlanta, including a career-best six 3-pointers.

"I was wide open. I was surprised," Len said. "After I made like three or four, they were still letting me shoot. All the power to my teammates. They found me on open shots and I knocked them down."

None of the Bucks' starters played more than 27 minutes and 11 of 12 available players each logged at least 19 minutes.

"It's almost exactly what we wanted," Budenholzer said. "It was good. We have depth. We have a lot of guys that can play. A lot of guys stepped up."

Milwaukee led 28-21 after one quarter and pushed it to 46-30 before the Hawks trimmed it to 54-45 at halftime.

Vince Carter hit two free throws to cap a 10-point run that pulled Atlanta to 78-71, but the Bucks pushed the lead to 85-72 entering the fourth.

Milwaukee, which lost in the first round of the playoffs each of the last two seasons, has not advanced past the opening round since making the Eastern Conference finals in 2001.

The 1980-81 Bucks team that finished 60-22 under coach Don Nelson included Sidney Moncrief, Marques Johnson, Junior Bridgeman and Bob Lanier.

"It's a special season," Middleton said. "From the beginning of training camp until now. The ups and downs, the injuries, our guys stayed with it. It was a collective effort from everybody. It's definitely a special moment, but we want to do more."

TIP-INS

Hawks: Young (19.1 points per game), who had started all 80 games, and Collins (19.5 ppg) did not play due to load management. "We figured today would be a good day to sit them and finish the season on a high note at home," coach Lloyd Pierce said. "That's really important for us as a team and with what we've been through this year."

Bucks: Antetokounmpo, who did not play in Saturday's 133-128 loss to the Nets because of left calf soreness, was questionable for this one. But he was back in the lineup after experiencing no setbacks during pregame warmups.

LOPEZ'S STREAK

If Brook Lopez starts Wednesday night for the Bucks as expected against Oklahoma City, he'll have started all 82 games this season. Lopez, signed as a free agent after playing last season with the Los Angeles Lakers, also started all 82 games in 2009-10 and 2010-11 with the Nets, with whom he spent his first nine seasons. "Playing 82 games is tough," Middleton said. "You get banged up all the time, some nagging injuries from time to time, but he fought through it all and stayed with it. He's had a hell of a season. These 60 wins wouldn't be close without him."

UP NEXT

The Hawks host Indiana on Wednesday.

The Bucks host Oklahoma City on Wednesday.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Sports - NBA
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Wrestler Bret Hart tackled during WWE Hall of Fame speech
Wrestler Bret "The Hitman" Hart had his WWE Hall of Fame ceremony speech interrupted when a man came into the ring and tackled him
9:38PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Following Grammy win, Dan + Shay victorious at ACM Awards
There's more liquid in Dan + Shay's cup of tequila: The country music duo followed their first Grammy win for "Tequila" with their multiple wins at the Academy of Country Music Awards
9:26PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Homeland Security Sec. Nielsen resigns amid border turmoil
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned on Sunday amid the administration's growing frustration and bitterness over the number of Central American families crossing the southern border
9:24PM ( 29 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Baylor holds off Notre Dame 82-81 for women's title
Baylor recovered after blowing a 17-point lead and losing a star player, beating Notre Dame 82-81 for the NCAA women's basketball championship when 2018 tournament hero Arike Ogunbowale missed a foul shot in the final seconds
8:56PM ( 57 minutes ago )
Baylor's Lauren Cox leaves NCAA title game with leg injury
Baylor's Lauren Cox leaves women's national championship game with apparent knee injury
8:03PM ( 1 hour ago )
Buffalo Sabres fire coach Phil Housley after 2 seasons
Buffalo Sabres fire coach Phil Housley following 2 underperforming seasons; team misses playoffs for 8th straight year
8:00PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
NCAA Latest: Texas Tech preaches calm to fanbase in Lubbock
Texas Tech guard Matt Mooney is encouraging all those fans back in Lubbock to take whatever happens in the national title game against Virginia on Monday night in stride
4:14PM ( 5 hours ago )
NCAA Latest: Jerome says he was fouled before double-dribble
Ty Jerome knows he double-dribbled in the closing seconds of Virginia's stunning Final Four victory against Auburn _ even though the officials did not call it
3:01PM ( 6 hours ago )
NCAA Latest: Gardner-Webb win propelled Virginia's run
Virginia's push to the title game began with beating Gardner-Webb in the first round to get past the mental hurdle from last year's UMBC loss
2:44PM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
Atlanta officer charged in wreck that led driver to lose arm
An Atlanta police officer has been indicted on charges including reckless driving in a wreck that caused another driver to lose an arm
8:57AM ( 2 months ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
Divac, Moncrief, Sikma, Weatherspoon headline '19 Hall class
NBA stars Divac, Moncrief, Sikma and WNBA's Weatherspoon headline '19 Hall of Fame class
6:22PM ( 1 day ago )
Nuggets clinch Northwest with 119-110 win over Trail Blazers
Nikola Jokic scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, Paul Millsap finished with 25 points, and the Denver Nuggets clinched the Northwest Division title with a 119-110 win over the Portland Trail Blazers
2:24AM ( 1 day ago )
Lakers surprise playoff-bound Clippers 122-117
Alex Caruso scored a career-high 32 points, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 25 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers rallied to beat the playoff-bound Clippers 122-117
2:20AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Sports - NBA
Wrestler Bret Hart tackled during WWE Hall of Fame speech
Wrestler Bret "The Hitman" Hart had his WWE Hall of Fame ceremony speech interrupted when a man came into the ring and tackled him
9:38PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Following Grammy win, Dan + Shay victorious at ACM Awards
There's more liquid in Dan + Shay's cup of tequila: The country music duo followed their first Grammy win for "Tequila" with their multiple wins at the Academy of Country Music Awards
9:26PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Homeland Security Sec. Nielsen resigns amid border turmoil
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned on Sunday amid the administration's growing frustration and bitterness over the number of Central American families crossing the southern border
9:24PM ( 29 minutes ago )
Rockets set NBA record with 27 3s in 149-113 rout of Suns
James Harden scored 30 points in just three quarters as the Houston Rockets broke their own NBA record by making 27 3-pointers in a 149-113 win over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night
9:24PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Solange is no longer performing at Coachella
Solange is no longer performing at Coachella
9:14PM ( 40 minutes ago )