DETROIT (AP) — giannis antetocampo Scored 20 of his 29 points in first quarter, returns to lineup to lead team after five-game absence milwaukee bucks in a 150-130 win over detroit pistons Monday night.
The two-time MVP was out with sore left knee and was joined by three-time All-Star Khris Middleton, bringing the Bucks’ prolific pair to the same lineup for the first time in more than a month.
“The band is back together,” Antetokounmpo said.
Middleton, who had not played since December 15 due to sore right knee, had eight points and four assists as a steady presence for the Central Division-leading Bucks.
“It was great to see everyone play with no real chemistry issues,” said Bucks center Brook Lopez, who scored 21 points.
Milwaukee scored 49 points in the first quarter, two shy of an NBA record, and led Detroit by 25 after Antetokounmpo made all six of his shots in eight-plus minutes.
He said, ‘I was trying to be aggressive and some shots fell.’
After drawing defenders, Antetokounmpo had two rebounds and two assists in the opening quarter.
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said, “Coming out and the way he played, that was impressive.”
Antetokounmpo didn’t keep up his scoring pace for the rest of the game, but he didn’t need to, scoring 12 of his 18 points in the second quarter along with teammates like reserve Bobby Portis.
Milwaukee led 83–55 at halftime, scored 115 after three quarters and finished with a season-high number of points in a game that was not competitive beyond the opening minutes.
Detroit coach Dwayne Casey said, “The first quarter is what I feared.” 49 point first quarter. I liked our fight after that, but it’s a 48-minute game.
Thankfully, the Bucks held the ball and were called for a shot-clock violation in the final seconds, when they were three points away from matching the most by an NBA team this season.
“I bet the basket looked big to him,” Budenholzer said.
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 33 points and rookie Jalen Duren had a season-high 23 points and 14 rebounds for the Pistons, who have won an Eastern Conference-less 12 games and are ahead of only Houston in the league-wide standings.
Detroit rookie Jaden Ivey had 12 points and 11 assists, and Hamidou Diallo added 11 points off the bench.
“The challenge at that point is looking at the scoreboard and telling yourself there’s no 31-point shot,” said Saddiq Bay of Detroit, who scored 21 points.
in memory of
pistons awarded late bob lanier during the entire game. The Hall of Famer, who played a 14-season career with Detroit and Milwaukee, died in May at the age of 73.
A moment’s silence was also observed for chris ford, who began his career with Detroit before winning three NBA titles as a player and assistant coach in Boston. Ford, who made the first 3-pointer in league history, died last week at the age of 74.
Bucks: Portis left the court with sore right knee early in the fourth quarter after grabbing his 10th rebound for his 29th double-double this season. “We hope it’s nothing too serious,” Budenholzer said. … Reserves Jevon Carter added 18 and Junior Holiday added 16 points and seven assists.
Pistons: Kilian Hayes (shoulder) was out along with Marvin Bagley (broken hand) and Cade Cunningham (shin surgery). … The short-handed team has lost four straight and eight of 10 games in 2023.
Bucks: Hosts Denver on Wednesday night.
Pistons: Thursday night at Brooklyn.
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