NBA: Giannis Antetokounmpo's 43 points power Bucks, Jayson Tatum scores 40 in Celtics win

The reigning two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30 points by halftime, shot 17 of 24 from the floor overall and finished with nine rebounds.

The Associated Press January 05, 2021 12:07:43 IST
NBA: Giannis Antetokounmpo's 43 points power Bucks, Jayson Tatum scores 40 in Celtics win

Giannis Antetokounmpo, two-time reigning NBA MVP, led Bucks past the Pistons. AP/Getty Images

Milwaukee: Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 43 points and the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Detroit Pistons 125-115 on Monday night to move above the .500 mark for the first time this season.

The reigning two-time MVP scored 30 points by halftime, shot 17 of 24 from the floor overall and finished with nine rebounds.

Antetokounmpo said he might have gotten a little more room to operate inside because the Bucks (4-3) have shot so well from 3-point range lately. Milwaukee made at least 20 3-pointers in three of its first six games, including 22 in a 126-96 blowout of Chicago on Friday.

“They know that the previous game I’d been finding my teammates for a lot of 3s, finding the shooters,” Antetokounmpo said. "Coming to this game, they probably were like, ‘Don’t let them pick us apart with our passing.’ That’s why there was a lot of space.”

Antetokounmpo's presence helped the Bucks outscore the Pistons 62-42 in the paint, including a 40-14 edge in the first half.

The Bucks (4-3) have won their last eight regular-season meetings with the Pistons, which represents the longest streak for either team in the history of the series.

Detroit (1-6) played without two of its top three scorers in Blake Griffin and Josh Jackson.

The Pistons rested Griffin to protect his surgically repaired left knee after he played 29 minutes a night earlier in a 122-120 loss to Boston. Jackson has a sprained right ankle.

Celtics 126, Raptors 114

Tampa: Jayson Tatum scored 40 points and the Boston Celtics rolled to a 126-114 win over the Toronto Raptors on Monday night.

Playing without three of their top guards, the Celtics shook off a slow start to lead by as many as 26 in the second half. They shot 48.8% overall.

Tatum turned the game around with 21 points in the second quarter. He hit five 3-pointers on the night and converted all 13 free throws, finishing one point short of his career high set against New Orleans last January.

Rookie guard Payton Pritchard had 23 points and eight assists in 32 minutes for the Celtics (5-3), and Jaylen Brown scored 19. Robert Williams III came off the bench to contribute 11 points and 15 rebounds.

Playing in front of fans for the first time in 10 months was a refreshing change for Tatum. A maximum-allowed crowd of 3,740 attended the game in 19,000-seat Amalie Arena.

“It felt great,” he said. “I missed playing in front of people. There were a lot of Boston people here. It felt different with people in the stands, but I enjoyed it.”

Fred VanVleet led the Raptors (1-5) with 35 points and eight rebounds.

Cavaliers 83, Magic 103

Orlando: Aaron Gordon broke out of a shooting slump Monday night, hitting six of nine 3-pointers on the way to a season-high 24 points as the Magic beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-83.

Orlando snapped a two-game losing streak that had followed four straight victories to open the season. The Magic made a season-high 15 3-pointers, easily surpassing their previous season high of 11. Orlando entered the game 30th in the NBA in 3-point makes per game with nine.

Gordon entered having made just three of 20 3-point attempts. He tied a career best with the six made 3s midway through the third quarter. Gordon scored 13 points in the third as the Magic broke open a close game. He also grabbed a season-best 11 rebounds in 28 minutes.

Nikola Vucevic scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while Terrence Ross chipped in 15 points off the bench. Khem Birch added 12 points and 12 rebounds, while rookie guard Cole Anthony added nine points, five rebounds and four assists.

Cleveland lost its fifth straight to Orlando, a streak that dates to 2019. The Cavaliers are 1-3 since starting the season 3-0.

Hornets 101, 76ers 118

Philadelphia: Joel Embiid had 14 points and 11 rebounds, Tobias Harris scored 22 points and Philadelphia beat the Charlotte Hornets 118-101 on Monday night for their fourth straight win.

The Sixers swept the two-game set necessitated on the schedule this season because of the pandemic and beat the Hornets for the 13th straight time. Philadelphia has not lost to Charlotte since Nov. 2, 2016.

Embiid has been the biggest reason the Sixers are off to a 6-1 start in Doc Rivers’ first season.

Thunder 90, Heat 118

Miami: Kelly Olynyk made five 3-pointers on his way to 19 points, Bam Adebayo led all scorers with 20 on 9-for-10 shooting and the Heat beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 118-90 on Monday night.

Miami has played six games, alternating losses then wins in all six, and has used a different starting five every time.

Jimmy Butler scored 18 points for Miami, which used a 20-0 third quarter run to turn what was a four-point game into a runaway. Olynyk had 11 points in that spurt, including three 3-pointers, and the Heat stretched the lead to 35 — their biggest such cushion of the young season.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 18 points for the Thunder, who sat their starters in the fourth quarter. Darius Bazley scored 16 and Luguentz Dort scored 12 for Oklahoma City — which saw its chance slip completely away during that five-minute stretch of the third quarter.

Mavericks 113, Rockets 100

Houston: Luka Doncic had 33 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists, and Tim Hardaway Jr. added 30 off the bench as the Dallas Mavericks used a big fourth quarter run to pull away in a 113-100 win over the Houston Rockets on Monday night.

Dallas was on top by 3 with about seven minutes remaining before using a 14-3 spurt, with seven points from Hardaway, to extend the lead to 106-92 with about 2½ minutes remaining.

Houston couldn’t get anything going as the Mavericks took over. The Rockets missed five shots and had two turnovers in that span.

Hardaway, who made 8 of 10 3-point attempts, added another 3-pointer down the stretch to put the game out of reach.

Pacers 118, Pelicans 116

New Orleans: Malcolm Brogdon capped a 21-point, 11-assist performance by bouncing in a driving, one-handed floater with 1.7 seconds left in overtime, and the Indiana Pacers beat the New Orleans Pelicans 118-116 on Monday night.

Victor Oladipo scored 25 points for Indiana, hitting a 29-foot 3-pointer and following that up with a steal from Lonzo Ball to spark a six-point comeback in the final 20 seconds of regulation.

After Oladipo's steal, Brogdon got the ball to Myles Turner, who made an open, game-tying 3 from straight away with 8.2 seconds left in regulation.

Turner had 17 points and three blocks before he fouled out with a minute left in overtime. Domantas Sabonis had 19 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out with about four minutes left in regulation.

Brandon Ingram scored 31 points and Zion Williamson added 24 points and 10 rebounds for New Orleans, which led 104-94 with 3:46 left in regulation after Ingram's three-point play on a short pull-up as he was fouled by Sabonis.

Kings 106, Warriors 137

San Francisco: Stephen Curry followed up his career-high 62 points a night earlier with another 30 points, nine rebounds and eight assists to lead the suddenly clicking Golden State Warriors past the Sacramento Kings 137-106 on Monday.

Curry had 23 points at halftime on 7-for-11 shooting, including 4 of 7 on 3-pointers — nine fewer than his total at the break the night before but impressive nonetheless on a winning back-to-back. He finished with five 3s.

With 92 points over the past two nights, Curry posted his third-highest point total in a two-game span, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He scored 97 combined on Feb. 25 and 27, 2016, and 93 on Feb. 24-25, ’16.

Kelly Oubre Jr. took some pressure off Curry on the perimeter by knocking down four 3-pointers on the way to 18 points. Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins dished out five assists apiece as the Warriors totaled an NBA season-high 41.

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