Giannis Antetokounmpo had 29 points and 12 rebounds, Brook Lopez added 22 points and the Milwaukee Bucks held off the Charlotte Hornets 114-104 on Tuesday night to avoid a sweep of the teams’ regular-season series.
Kris Middleton scored 17 points and Jrue Holiday chipped in with 12 points and 10 assists for the Bucks, who bounced back from a 111-104 loss to the short-handed Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.
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Devonte Graham scored 25 points and Miles Bridges added 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Hornets, who had their two-game win streak snapped.
The Hornets beat the Bucks by 12 at home in January, and then by eight on April 9 in Milwaukee.
Antetokounmpo seemed determined not to let that happen again.
The two-time NBA MVP played with aggression, finishing 11 of 19 from the field and also dishing out eight assists. He got fired up midway through the game when he felt Charlotte’s P.J. Washington tried to trip him after Antetokounmpo stole the ball from him.
Milwaukee built a 62-45 halftime lead behind 15 points and eight rebounds from Antetokounmpo while the Bucks’ defense held the Hornets to 4-of-18 shooting from beyond the arc.
The Hornets battled back to cut the lead to 103-99 with four left to play but Terry Rozier missed a 3-pointer and Antetokounmpo answered with a dunk off a lethal spin move at the other end and Middleton added a 3-pointer from the left wing off an inbounds play to push the lead to nine.
Rozier had a rare off night for the Hornets, finishing with eight points after going 0 for 7 from 3-point range.
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Bucks: Outrebounded the shorter Hornets 48-38. … Had 28 assists.
Hornets: Gordon Hayward remains in the walking boot, and coach James Borrego said he doesn’t view the Hornets star as being close to return. Hayward has missed the last 13 games with a sprained foot. … Bridges has scored at least 20 points in three straight games.
Bucks: Continue four-game trip at Rockets on Thursday night.
Hornets: At Celtics on second night of a back-to-back Wednesday night.