December 28, 2019 / 3:07 AM / a month ago

Bucks hammer Hawks as Giannis sits with sore back

EditorsNote: rewords fifth graf

Dec 27, 2019; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton (22) and guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) enter State Farm Arena before a game against the Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez combined for 42 points, and the visiting Milwaukee Bucks defeated Atlanta 112-86 on Friday, handing the Hawks their ninth straight loss.

The Bucks did not miss league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who did not play because of back soreness. Veteran Ersan Ilyasova got the start in his place and equaled his season high with 18 points and grabbed a season-best 17 rebounds.

Middleton scored 23 and Lopez matched his season high with 19 points as Milwaukee bounced back from its lopsided loss to Philadelphia on Christmas. Middleton, who scored a season-high 31 on Wednesday, was 10-for-19 from the floor and had eight rebounds and seven assists Friday. Lopez was 8-for-14 from the field against Atlanta’s undersized interior and blocked three shots.

Milwaukee has won all three meetings this season against Atlanta and has beaten the Hawks in 10 of the past 11 matchups. It was a league-leading 28th win of the season for the Bucks.

Atlanta lost leading scorer Trae Young with a sprained right ankle late in the first half. He had 12 points when he got injured after stepping on another player’s foot, and he was immediately helped to the locker room. The Hawks were already playing without center Alex Len (left ankle sprain) and forward Jabari Parker (right shoulder impingement).

Atlanta’s top scorer was Allen Crabbe, who came off the bench to make four 3-pointers and score a season-high 20 points. Kevin Huerter scored 12, and John Collins had a season-high 16 rebounds.

Milwaukee set the tone early by scoring the first eight points of the game and had a 32-19 lead after one quarter. The Bucks padded the lead to 63-40 at halftime and led by as many as 32 in the third quarter before the Hawks trimmed the margin to 84-63 going into the final period.

Both teams complete a back-to-back on Saturday. Milwaukee returns home to play Orlando, while Atlanta is at Chicago.

—Field Level Media

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