NBA: Bucks shrug off Griffin's return, take 3-0 series lead

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Apr 21 2019 10:58 AM

Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez (11) gives five to forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during the second quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Raj Mehta, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Khris Middleton recorded 20 points and nine rebounds to help the Milwaukee Bucks notch a 119-103 victory over the host Detroit Pistons on Saturday night to take a 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference first-round series.

Brook Lopez recorded 19 points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots and Eric Bledsoe also scored 19 points for the top-seeded Bucks. 

Ersan Ilyasova scored 15 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo registered 14 points and 10 rebounds for his third straight double-double in the series, Nikola Mirotic had 12 points and George Hill chipped in 11.

Detroit's Blake Griffin had 27 points, seven rebounds and six assists in 31 minutes in his first appearance in the series due to a left knee injury. Griffin was cleared after displaying he was fit in pregame warmups and played with his knee and leg heavily wrapped.

The Pistons have lost 13 straight playoff games dating back to 2008 to match the dubious all-time NBA mark set by the New York Knicks (2001-12).

Reggie Jackson had 15 points and eight assists and Wayne Ellington scored 13 points for the eighth-seeded Pistons. 

Andre Drummond added 12 points and 12 rebounds for Detroit, which shot just 38.5 percent from the field and made 11 of 36 3-point attempts.

Milwaukee will look to finish the series in four games when it visits Detroit on Monday. The Bucks, who last won a playoff series in 2001, have won the first three games by an average of 24 points.

Milwaukee shot 48.3 percent from the field, including 14 of 38 from behind the arc.

Lopez had 15 points as the Bucks held a 67-54 halftime lead. Griffin had 15 first-half points in 18 minutes.

Milwaukee held an 11-point lead early in the second quarter before Griffin scored nine points during a 14-4 surge that cut Detroit's deficit to 39-38 with 8:58 left in the half.

The Bucks answered with a 15-4 burst to move ahead by 12 and led by as many as 15 later in the quarter.

Milwaukee held the Pistons to 7-of-24 shooting in the third quarter to make sure there wouldn't be a comeback attempt.

Middleton buried back-to-back 3-pointers to boost the Bucks' advantage to 85-66 with 4:53 left in the stanza.

Milwaukee took a 100-78 lead into the final quarter and led by 24 early in the period en route to improving to 7-0 against Detroit this season, including four regular-season victories.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.