Bucks rout Suns to snap 5-game losing streak

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PHOENIX (AP) — Milwaukee couldn’t stop Devin Booker for seven spectacular minutes. The Phoenix Suns couldn’t stop the Bucks all night.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30 points to lead six Milwaukee players in double figures and the Bucks snapped a five-game losing streak with a 137-112 victory over the Suns on Saturday, their highest-scoring game of the season.

“I thought Giannis set the tone for us,” Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd said. “That’s why he’s an All-Star. He understands the moment. He set the tone early and everybody has to follow.”

Booker, whose 20-foot bank shot at the buzzer beat the Kings in Sacramento on Friday night, scored 31 points for the Suns, 27 during a blistering final 7:13 of the first half.

The Bucks, coming off a Friday night loss at Denver, shredded the Suns’ defense, shooting 63 percent while setting season highs for most points in a quarter, half and game. Milwaukee scored 74 points in the paint to the Suns’ 42.

“This is what we do. We score in the paint,” Antetokounmpo said. “We try to go to our strength as much as possible. It feels good going to your strength.”

Ex-Sun Mirza Teletovic added 19 points and Jabari Parker had 18 for the Bucks in just their second win in the last 12 games. The victory came in the final stop on a five-game road trip.

“We were just hungry to get a win,” Antetokounmpo said. “We were struggling.”

Rookie Marquese Chriss scored a career-high 27 points for Phoenix.

Booker scored 27 of the Suns’ final 33 points in the first half, including his team’s last 17 to cut what had been a 25-point Milwaukee lead to 74-66 at the break.

But the heroics ended there. Booker didn’t make another field goal, going 0 for 6 in the second half.

The Bucks methodically padded their lead in the third quarter, going up 92-76 on Parker’s breakaway dunk with 4:35 left.

Chriss’ three-point play sliced the lead to 104-92 with 10:59 to play, but Milwaukee ran off the next eight points to blow open a 112-92 advantage.

Booker, a 20-year-old second-year guard, was 9-of-11 shooting in the second quarter, including 5 of 5 on 3s.

“It’s just that zone,” Booker said. “If you play basketball long enough, a lot of people get in that zone. It would have been better if it had lasted longer, the whole game, we could have come out with a win, but we didn’t.”

Suns coach Earl Watson called Booker “a player who, during that stretch, reminded me of Kobe.”

Other than that second-quarter outburst, though, Booker was 0-for-8 shooting.


Booker’s barrage was one point shy of the franchise-record 28 he scored in the fourth quarter of a loss to Dallas in Mexico City.

Along the way, he became the youngest player to score at least 20 points in 16 consecutive games. Booker did it at 20 years, 97 days. His 16-game streak is the second-longest by any first- or second-year player in the last 20 seasons. Vince Carter had a 23-game run in 1999-2000.


Bucks: Milwaukee snapped a seven-game road losing streak. … The Bucks shot 77 percent (17 for 22) in the first quarter. … Milwaukee has won four of its last five in Phoenix and three straight overall against the Suns.

Suns: The 137 points were one shy of the most allowed in a game by Phoenix this season. … Before Booker’s 28- and 27-point quarters this season, the Phoenix franchise record for points in a quarter was 26 by Stephon Marbury. … The Suns’ franchise record for consecutive 20-point games is 21 by Tom Chambers.


Dwight Howard posts just second 30-30 game in last 36 years

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Dwight Howard never played for the Nets. He almost got traded to Brooklyn by the Magic, but the deal never happened.

Which puts a dent in Dennis Schroder‘s theory Howard gets up for games against only his former teams.

Howard dominated Brooklyn for 32 points and 30 rebounds in the Hornets’ 111-105 win tonight. That’s just the second 30-30 game in the last 36 years, Kevin Love notching the other in 2010.

All 30-30 games since Wilt Chamberlain, who had a ton:

  • Dwight Howard (Charlotte Hornets, 3/21/2018): 32 points, 30 rebounds
  • Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves, 11/12/2010): 31 points, 31 rebounds
  • Moses Malone (Houston Rockets, 2/11/1982): 38 points, 32 rebounds
  • Swen Nater (Milwaukee Bucks, 12/19/1976): 30 points, 33 rebounds
  • Elvin Hayes (Capital Bullets, 11/17/1973): 43 points, 32 rebounds

Howard helped Charlotte erase a 23-point second-half deficit and a 10-point deficit with four minutes left. The Hornets are playing out a lost season, and Brooklyn has looked overmatched most of the year, particularly at center. But no matter the situation, Howard says he still feels super-sized expectations.

Tonight, he exceeded them by leaps and bounds.

Giannis Antetokounmpo leaves Bucks’ loss to Clippers with ankle injury (video)

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The Bucks lost, 127-120, to the Clippers tonight.

More importantly, Milwaukee lost Antetokounmpo to an ankle injury.

He limped off in the second quarter and didn’t return. The Bucks called it a sprain.

Any more time Antetokounmpo misses would be a huge loss. Hopefully, he recovers quickly.

No matter how many other good players – Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe – Milwaukee has put on the floor, the team has struggled without its star. Antetokounmpo is a commanding force offensively who just does so much, and his defense impresses.

The Bucks (37-34) are eighth in the East. They’re safely in playoff position, five games ahead of the ninth-place Pistons. But this hurts Milwaukee’s chances of avoiding a first-round matchup with the excellent Raptors – though the way Toronto has regressed in the playoffs in previous years, that might not be so bad. Still, the Bucks should probably chase the seventh-place Heat, who are up 1.5 games on Milwaukee, and a likely first-round matchup with the injury-ravaged Celtics.

Obviously, a healthy Antetokounmpo would be central to that pursuit.

Cavaliers beat Raptors, become first team in 27 years to surrender 79 first-half points and win


The Cavaliers haven’t been good enough throughout the season, especially defensively. The Raptors have – offensively, defensively, starters, bench. Hope has grown in Toronto of winning the Eastern Conference after getting eliminated by Cleveland the last two years.

But LeBron James and Cavs showed why it’s hard to pick any other team – even the first-place Raptors – to win the East in a 132-129 win over Toronto tonight.

Cleveland allowed 79 first-half points and fell behind by 15. But a LeBron-led offense was just too potent. This was the first time since 1990 (Nuggets over Spurs after trailing 90-83) a team surrendered so many first-half points then still won.

LeBron finished with 35 points, 17 assists and no turnovers. No forward has ever dished so many assists without a turnover in Basketball-Reference’s database, which dates back to 1963-64.

And LeBron led the Cavaliers to this win despite Tristan Thompson, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance Jr., Kyle Korver and Cedi Osman being out.

It’s only one game, and it was in Cleveland. But even with home-court advantage in a potential playoff series, the Raptors must grapple with even more lingering doubt now about their ability to beat the Cavs.

Report: Becky Hammon staying with Spurs, not coaching Colorado State men’s team

AP Photo/Darren Abate

Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon was a candidate to coach the men’s team at Colorado State, her alma mater. That would have made her the first woman to coach a Division I men’s team.

Alas, it won’t happen.

Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports:

It’s unclear whether Hammon was ever actually offered the job.

She’s still on the right track for a head-coaching job somewhere. Most importantly, by all accounts, she’s doing good work in San Antonio. There’s also more attention on her career because of her pioneering status, and that will appeal to some teams.

This dalliance with Colorado State raises her profile even further and shows just how close she is.