NBA: Bucks hammer Hawks as Giannis sits with sore back

Reuters

Posted at Dec 28 2019 01:42 PM

Atlanta Hawks forward Bruno Fernando (24) dunks past Milwaukee Bucks forward D.J. Wilson (5) and forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo (43) in the second half of their game at State Farm Arena. Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

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.

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. Lopez was 8-for-14 from the field against Atlanta's undersized interior and blocked three shots.

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 high 17 rebounds.

Milwaukee has won all three meetings this season against Atlanta and has beaten the Hawks in 10 of the last 11 contests. It was a league-leading 28th win 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 injured after stepping on another player's foot and 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 scored 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. 

Milwaukee 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 quarter.

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

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