EditorsNote: 13th graf, change Holliday to Holiday
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and Milwaukee erased an 18-point halftime deficit in the blink of an eye on Friday night to beat the visiting Chicago Bulls 123-104.
Milwaukee turned up the defensive intensity to start the third quarter and outscored Chicago 46-17 to take control and cruise to the easy win.
Milwaukee outscored Chicago 78-41 in the second half, and every member of the starting unit for the Bucks scored in double figures.
Khris Middleton’s layup knotted the game at 74-all at the 4:15 mark and Antetokounmpo gave Milwaukee the lead for good on a follow-up slam dunk off a Middleton miss less than a minute later.
Eric Bledsoe sparked the Milwaukee third-period onslaught by scoring 14 points in the period. Bledsoe finished with 25 points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals.
Middleton nearly recorded a triple-double with 23 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
The Bucks came in with a 6-1 home record and the largest point differential at home in the league, winning at Fiserv Forum by an average of 16 points per game.
Early on though, it was all Bulls.
Jabari Parker, returning to Milwaukee after playing with the Bucks in his first four seasons, set the tone early and scored 17 first-half points. Parker came in averaging 14.7 points per game.
Parker finished with 21 points and eight rebounds.
Justin Holliday was perfect in the first half when he went 6-for-6, all from beyond the arc, and scored 18 points. He was held to two second-half points while shooting 1-for-6.
The Bulls converted 11 first-half Milwaukee turnovers into 21 points.
The Bulls opened up their biggest lead late in the second period on a Holiday 3-pointer with 1:30 left in the half to give Chicago a 63-41 lead.
Chicago took a 63-45 lead into halftime on the strength of shooting 64 percent from the field (16 of 26), including 7-for-11 from 3-point range. The Bucks shot 50 percent from the field (11-for-22) and made 5 of 9 from long range.
Milwaukee came into the game averaging a league-leading 40.1 3-point shots per game and making 14.8 per game. Against the Bulls, the Bucks connected on 18 of 43 from beyond the arc.
The Bucks picked up the defensive pressure in the third period, clogging the passing lanes and getting out on the break. It took Milwaukee about seven minutes in the third to whittle the deficit to just two on a reverse layup by Bledsoe.
Milwaukee opened up a 20-point lead with a little over three minutes left, allowing both teams to empty the benches.
—Field Level Media