Bucks hold off Hawks to keep up in crowded Eastern Conference playoff race
Milwaukee's Khris Middleton tries to control the ball under pressure from Atlanta's Dennis Schroder. AP

MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 33 points and 12 rebounds, Khris Middleton added 23 points and the Milwaukee Bucks held on for a 122-117 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday (Sunday, Manila time).

The Bucks finished off the Eastern Conference's worst team with a game-ending 11-5 run, pushing the pace after the Hawks lost ball-handler Dennis Schroder. The guard fouled out with 2:46 left, and was called for a technical foul after exchanging words with an official on the way to the sideline.

Middleton hit the free throw that started the run. The Hawks looked rushed on their next two possessions with a turnover and a blocked shot, allowing the Bucks to brush past them.

Trailing by 13 at one point, Atlanta put up a spirited fight before losing its 50th game of the year. Taurean Prince scored 38 points, while Schroder finished with 18.

Jabari Parker added 15 points off the bench for Milwaukee and tormented the Hawks with two thunderous dunks in the first half. Five weeks after returning from a knee injury, the fourth-year forward is showing that he can once again serve as Antetokounmpo's frontcourt running mate.

The Bucks needed this win to keep up in the crowded Eastern Conference playoff race after an ugly loss on Wednesday at 49-loss Orlando, with the Cleveland Cavaliers up next on Monday.

Milwaukee had the early comeback, rallying from an 11-point deficit to take a 56-50 halftime lead after figuring out Atlanta's effective pick-and-roll game.

The Bucks' lengthy defenders poked balls away and held Atlanta to 2-of-7 shooting with six turnovers during a 13-3 run to come back from a 36-28 deficit early in the second quarter.

TIP-INS

Hawks: Second in the league in forcing 15.6 turnovers a game, Atlanta got Milwaukee to cough up just 12 on the night. ... Prince had averaged 28.3 points over his previous three games. ... F John Collins left in the third quarter with a sprained left ankle.

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Bucks: Tyler Zeller missed the game with lingering back soreness. ... G Brandon Jennings played 17 minutes and scored two points in his first home game since being signed by his former team to a 10-day contract last week. ... Parker was assessed a technical foul late in the second quarter after appearing to get in the face of Atlanta's John Collins after dunking over the forward. Parker had 11 points off the bench in the first half on 5-of-9 shooting.

UP NEXT

Hawks: The second stop of a six-game trip takes them to Utah on Tuesday.

Bucks: Visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday.

 

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