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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Antetokounmpo and Bucks beat Jazz 117-111

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Giannis Antetokounmpo had 30 points and 15 rebounds to help the Milwaukee Bucks come from behind and then fended off the Jazz in the closing seconds for a 117-111 win Monday night.

Jrue Holiday had 29 points and seven assists, and Khris Middleton had 23 for Milwaukee, which saw Brook Lopez and George Hill return to the lineup. López had been sidelined with a back injury since the start of the season, missing 67 games. Hill missed 16 games with a sore neck.

The Bucks earned their first road win in the series since 2001.

“I think this is the only place (where) I haven’t won in my career, so scratching that feels great,” Middleton said.

Donovan Mitchell led Utah with 29 points and eight assists, while Mike Conley added 29 points and seven assists and Rudy Gobert had 18 points and 14 rebounds.

The Jazz cut a seven-point deficit to two on Gobert’s layup that made it 113-111 with 22 seconds remaining. But the Bucks’ Jevon Carter made a pair of free throws with 12.9 seconds remaining to seal the score.

Utah struggled to generate shots inside the perimeter and missed six of its last seven shots.

“We made mistakes, missed shots and turnovers,” Mitchell said. “They are champions for a reason.”

Utah made 10 3-pointers in the first quarter to make up 60% of Milwaukee’s shooting from the field, including four straight 3-pointers, three by Mitchell, to take a 34-27 lead late in the quarter.

The Bucks led the entire second quarter after Middleton led off with a 3-pointer amid a 22-6 run that put Milwaukee up 51-43. Holiday lit the streak late in the first quarter with consecutive baskets.

“I think those 10 3s, they had a couple of open ones, but for the most part there were some that were contested, tough 3s,” Holiday said. “It’s hard to do that for 48 minutes.”

Utah fell behind after going scoreless for five minutes, and Milwaukee led as many as 12 points before halftime, going up 65-53 after Holiday hit a 3-pointer and assisted another to end a 14-game streak. -5.

The Jazz responded with a pair of big runs to retake the lead in the third quarter, including 3-pointers by Mitchell and Conley to cap a 16-3 run. The Jazz used a 14-1 run, punctuated by a Jordan Clarkson midfielder, to extend their lead to 91-80.

Milwaukee rallied before the end of the third quarter and took a 107-100 lead midway through the fourth quarter after back-to-back baskets by Antetokounmpo.

Utah scored just four baskets in a nine-minute stretch as the Bucks were back in front for good.

“I think the way we closed out the third quarter was a big, big difference in the game,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.


Bucks: Milwaukee snapped a 19-game losing streak to Utah in Salt Lake City dating back to the 2002-03 season. . Holiday finished with a season-high five steals.

Jazz: Bojan Bogdanovic (sprained left calf), Trent Forrest (sprained right wrist) and Udoka Azubuike (sprained right ankle) were inactive for Utah. Danuel House Jr. left with a knee injury in the first quarter and did not return. House finished with three points and a rebound in seven minutes.


Lopez and Hill played on minute restrictions in their first game back from injury. Hill scored 13 1/2 minutes on the floor and Lopez played 14 1/2 minutes.

Both players made a positive impact in their limited time: Lopez finished with six points and, while Hill didn’t score, he had two rebounds, two assists and two steals.

“I was just trying to make a difference however I could,” Lopez said.

Getting them back into the rotation full-time will present a bit of a challenge, but the Bucks will appreciate it considering Milwaukee is preparing to defend its NBA title when the playoffs begin in April. This is especially true with Lopez, who was one of the cornerstones of the Bucks’ dominant interior defense a season ago.

“He’s someone incredibly valuable to us on both ends of the floor,” Budenholzer said. “I think he gives the whole team real confidence that there’s always someone behind them.”


Conley came off one of the worst shooting slumps of his career by hitting 10 of 13 shots. The veteran guard hit six 3-pointers and gave Utah a boost in critical moments to help the Jazz stay in the game down the stretch.

“The ball just went in,” Conley said. “It was one of those things where I know how good of a shooter I am and what kind of player I am, so I was looking forward to a game like tonight.”

Going into Monday night’s game, Conley had made 5 of 34 field goal attempts and had scored 18 total points in his previous four games. He made only two 3-pointers in that stretch.

“The biggest thing he and I have talked about is to stay aggressive,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. ”That’s what it was tonight. You know, whether the ball goes or not. We need that from him. And he gave it to us.”


Bucks: In Sacramento on Wednesday.

Jazz: host Chicago on Wednesday.

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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