CHICAGO – The Greek Freak was back – and the rest of the Milwaukee Bucks finally started to win.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 29 points and 17 rebounds, Eric Bledsoe added 19 and Milwaukee arrived late to survive against the boring Chicago Bulls 112-99 Monday night.
"I liked our defensive strategy during most of the fourth quarter and on offense, I thought we were a little closer to ourselves in the second half," said the coach. Mike Budenholzer. "Played with a little more rhythm, a little more sense in the second half. I think that showed.
Antetokounmpo recorded his 39th double of the season on his return after playing his fourth game of the season Saturday against Orlando in Milwaukee, due to a right knee pain. The Bucks recorded their lowest point total of the season in this season. The series of consecutive wins in one game ended in a 103-83 loss to the Magic.
Milwaukee took a 100-86 lead midway through the fourth quarter against Chicago, but the Bulls' 11-0 run at the end of the quarter reduced the three-point Bucks advantage within 3 minutes of the end. . The Bucks finished the game with a 12-2 push to seal the win.
"I think we just trust each other and play with a lot of effort," said Antetokounmpo. "On the defensive side in particular, we tried to take it back in the second half. We were just finding the player open to the offensive and we managed to shoot some shots. "
Malcolm Brogdon added 17 points and Khris Middleton had 16 points to help Milwaukee, the league's leader, win his seventh win in eight games and earn a 13-2 record in his last 15 games. The control of the Bucks' ball was not at its best 17 turnovers.
"They tried to give us a little spoiler alert today, and we could not let it happen," said Bledsoe, who had 12 points in the fourth quarter, including two big 3-pointers.
Zach LaVine finished with 27 points after scoring 17 goals in the first period, while Lauri Markkanen had 20 points and 17 rebounds to keep Chicago close to goal. Otto Porter Jr., acquired last week in Washington, added 18 points in his third game with the Bulls, but Chicago lost for the fourth time in five and dropped to 3-18 in its last 21 games.
Coach Jim Boylen congratulated his young team for its closeness.
"I thought we were in control of the game in the first half," Boylen said. "I thought the tempo was good. I thought our feeling was good. . We came back.
He congratulated Markkanen, 21, who helped cover Antetokounmpo.
"I thought Lauri matched strength with force," Boylen said. "I thought Lauri was aggressive."
Markkanen enjoyed the match against one of the NBA stars.
"I was trying to take the reader," Markkanen said. "I know that (Antetokounmpo) prefers the right, that's what I was trying to do. But obviously, it can go both ways, so it's a difficult task. "
Milwaukee led 22-21 after a quarter and a slow start for both teams, with Chicago shooting nine shots out of 28 and the Bucks hitting eight out of 24. Antetokounmpo gave the Bucks the advantage in the final seconds when it was over. a free kick. complete a 3-point play.
Milwaukee tried to accelerate the pace in the second quarter, but failed to support it. The Bucks opened an eight-point lead midway through the quarter, but LaVine and Markkanen then helped and Chicago cut Milwaukee's lead to 50-49 at halftime.
Milwaukee opened the second half with a 15-4 lead for a 12-point lead, but Chicago responded with a 11-2 spurt to stay close. The Bucks were 79-71 after three quarters.
Bucks: Asked about the awkward knee of Antetokounmpo before the game, Budenholzer said, "Let's hope we can keep him in a good position in the future. … Nikola Mirotic, acquired from New Orleans in a three-team swap last Thursday, missed a second game with the Bucks while he was recovering from a right calf strain. "We take Niko a little every day," said Budenholzer. "We still have a match (before the star break) on Wednesday and we'll see if he's ready to play. If he does not, the good side of things is that we have the break from the star game and we just continue to work with him and put him in a good position. George Hill was touched on the knee by Porter Jr. in the second quarter and wrinkled in pain, but came back.
Bulls: Chicago recalled G Rawle Alkins of the Windy City Bulls and returned Brandon Sampson to the G League team. Alkins did not play. … Kris Dunn fell after missing a treadmill late in the third. He stayed briefly in the match, then left for the locker room. Boylen did not have an update after the match.
Bucks: In Indiana, Wednesday, take eight days off before hosting Boston on February 21st.
Bulls: Welcome Memphis on Wednesday, then resume the fight on February 22 in Orlando.