Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in his return from a back injury and the Milwaukee Bucks cruised to a 123-102 win over the host Chicago Bulls on Monday night.
Khris Middleton finished with a team-high 25 points for Milwaukee, which won its third straight game. Guard Eric Bledsoe returned from a right leg injury and scored 15 points in 16 minutes of limited action.
Antetokounmpo had missed the previous two games because of back soreness and was listed as questionable heading into Monday’s game. Bledsoe had not played since Dec. 13.
Bulls guard Zach LaVine scored a team-high 19 points despite missing 16 of 23 shots. Lauri Markkanen added 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including 5 of 9 from 3-point range, and Wendell Carter Jr. notched a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards.
The Bucks pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring the Bulls 40-25 to increase their lead to 95-77. Milwaukee shot an incredible 71.4 percent (15 of 21) during the quarter.
Former Chicago center Robin Lopez keyed an 8-0 run when he made a layup with 2:39 left in the third quarter. George Hill and Ersan Ilyasova followed with back-to-back 3-pointers to stretch the lead to 18 points.
The Bulls failed to mount a fourth-quarter comeback as they were outscored 28-25 in the final period.
Milwaukee led 55-52 at the half.
The Bucks built an 11-point lead at the end of the first quarter, but Chicago regrouped to outscore Milwaukee by eight in the second quarter. Coby White set the tone for a bounce-back session by draining three consecutive 3-pointers early in the quarter to give the Bulls a 9-0 run and slice the deficit to 35-32.
Another basket by White put the Bulls on top 52-51 late in the half, but that proved to be Chicago’s final lead.
The Bucks opened the game on an 8-0 run. Bledsoe started the scoring with a driving layup only 23 seconds into his return. Antetokounmpo capped off the early binge with an alley-oop dunk off a lob pass from Bledsoe.
—Field Level Media