by CHARLES F. GARDNER
MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 34 points and grabbed nine rebounds before leaving with an apparent lower leg injury in the Milwaukee Bucks' 128-118 victory over the Clippers on Thursday night (Friday, Manila time) that snapped Los Angeles' six-game winning streak.
Antetokounmpo went to the floor and held his right ankle after dunking the ball with 7:46 left in the game, and he immediately went to the bench and didn't return. He missed two games last week with a sprain to the same ankle.
Khris Middleton had a season-high 39 points with eight rebounds and five assists as Milwaukee won its fourth straight. Eric Bledsoe added 15 points, seven rebounds and eight assists as the Bucks (57-19) cut their magic number to two to clinch home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.
Sterling Brown, in the starting lineup with the Bucks' rotation thinned by injuries, had 15 points.
"I was able to get to my spot and my teammates were just finding me," Middleton said.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Clippers (45-31) with 21 points, and JaMychal Green added 16 and Wilson Chandler 15.
The Bucks led 67-46 at halftime as Antetokounmpo had 23 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Middleton added 15 points and Brown 10 as Milwaukee shot 55.8 percent from the field (24 of 43).
Los Angeles went on an 8-1 run to open the second half, cutting its deficit to 14 and leading Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer to call a timeout.
The Bucks led 79-69 before going on a 9-2 run capped by a 3-pointer by Pat Connaughton, putting them ahead 88-71 with 2:49 left in the third quarter.
Middleton completed a four-point play late in the quarter and had 13 points in the period as the Bucks took a 100-77 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Clippers: Veteran guard Patrick Beverley was out with a right hip pointer suffered in the Clippers' 122-111 victory over Minnesota on Tuesday night. Bench stalwart Lou Williams also was out for rest. Coach Doc Rivers called Beverley "unstat-able" because his box score numbers do not always do justice to his impact on the court. Rivers pointed to a game in which Beverley did not score but was plus-22 during his time on the court. "You really can't quantify what he does at times," Rivers said. "He gives us our heart and our soul, for sure." ... Landry Shamet returned to the lineup after missing Tuesday's game with a left ankle injury. ... Former Bucks player Luc Mbah a Moute, who played in just four games with the Clippers this season, underwent surgery on his left knee Wednesday in New York. He will not return this season and will not be able to return to basketball activities for eight weeks.
Bucks: The NBA announced Thursday that the Bucks will face the Charlotte Hornets in Paris on Jan. 24, 2020, marking the first regular-season league game in France. Milwaukee last played in Europe in January 2015 when it beat the New York Knicks in London. ... Budenholzer said he will plan rest for key players "day by day" the rest of the season. "I think being healthy is the most important thing," he said. "But playing well and having a good rhythm is something we're also talking about and balancing." ... Tony Snell missed his second straight game with a left ankle sprain. Budenholzer said Snell is expected to be ready for the playoffs. ... Rookie guard Donte DiVincenzo will not play again this season (heel bursitis). His total of missed games will be 43 due to injury/illness. "It's certainly not easy for him, what he's going through," Budenholzer said. "But for now, this is the best thing. Just get him healthy and moving, and hopefully have a great summer of development and move on to a great second year."
Clippers: Host Cleveland on Saturday afternoon.
Bucks: At Atlanta on Sunday afternoon.