MILWAUKEE – Giannis Antetokounmpo once again dominated inside the paint and picked up a double-double to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to an easy 117-98 win over the Indiana Pacers at Fiserv Forum on Thursday.
Antetokounmpo had 29 points, 12 rebounds – 11 of them on defense – and five assists in another dominant performance.
The Greek Freak’s dynamism on offense along with forward Khris Middleton’s contribution of 27 points, including four of seven 3-point attempts, proved key in sealing the victory for the league-leading Bucks (49-16), who snapped their first two-game losing streak of the season.
“Too much Antetokounmpo and too much Middleton,” Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said afterwards.
Milwaukee, who have the best record in the NBA, returned home after a five-game road trip, which they kicked off with three consecutive victories before losing to the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns.
Starter Brook Lopez put up 13 points with six rebounds while point guard Eric Bledsoe added another 12 to be the fourth Bucks player with double-digit scores.
“We had a bad taste in our mouth after the Phoenix game. We just wanted to get back on track,” Antetokounmpo said in a postgame interview.
“I think my team did a great job, just picking it up, playing with energy,” he added.
“Khris did a great job finding me and I was in the paint, and usually when I’m in the paint good things happen,” the Bucks star forward said.
The Milwaukee team shot 50 percent from the field (43-86), including 14-of-35 from 3-point range in addition to dominating the defensive game with 52 rebounds – 44 of them defensive – against 40 by the Pacers.
The Bucks, who are placed first in the Eastern Conference, began the fourth quarter with a 12-0 run to take the score to 96-74 with 8:21 minutes left in the game.
“It was great to be back home in front of our home crowd!” Khris Middleton said after the game.
“The Pacers played well as a team and were looking to score. I think we did a good job containing everybody out there,” Eric Bledsoe said in a postgame interview.
Center Myles Turner put up a double-double of 22 points and 17 rebounds – 14 defensive – gave three assists and had three blocks to be the leading scorer of the Pacers (42-24), who lost their second straight game in the last three but remain in third place in the Eastern Conference.
Forward Bojan Bogdanovic scored 17 points to emerge as the second highest scorer for the Pacers, which had five players with double-digit scores.