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Antetokounmpo’s big game helps Bucks beat Knicks

MILWAUKEE (AP) – Giannis Antetokounmpo had 38 points and 13 rebounds and made numerous big plays in the fourth quarter to help the Milwaukee Bucks beat the New York Knicks 123-108 yesterday.

“The ball was coming off his hands really good tonight from a lot of different places,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.

Antetokounmpo also had five assists a night after getting named an All-Star starter for a sixth consecutive season, tying the franchise record for selections. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar earned six of his 19 All-Star Game selections with the Bucks.

The Bucks never trailed as they won for the fourth time in five games and bounced back from a 115-99 loss at Cleveland. The Knicks have lost six of seven. Jrue Holiday scored 24 points, Khris Middleton had 20 and Grayson Allen added 15 for the Bucks. Allen returned after serving a one-game suspension as punishment for a flagrant 2 foul that broke Alex Caruso’s right wrist, knocking out the Chicago guard for at least six to eight weeks.

Evan Fournier had 25 points, and RJ Barrett 23 for the Knicks, though Barrett shot six of 20. Quentin Grimes had 11, and Alec Burks 10.

Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo shoots against the New York Knicks. PHOTO: AP

Burks opened the fourth-quarter scoring with a three-pointer that cut Milwaukee’s lead to 93-91, but the Bucks responded with a 9-2 spurt. Antetokounmpo scored the last seven points in that run.

“At the beginning of the fourth, Giannis kind of took over a little bit,” Barrett said.

“They just had a different intensity in the fourth that we weren’t able to match. But it’s good for a team like us, watching the defending champs to see how they raise their level, especially in that fourth quarter. We know what we’ve got to do to eventually get to that level.”

Antetokounmpo capped the 9-2 run with a three-pointer that put the Bucks ahead 102-93 with 9:29 left. Just over a minute later, Antetokounmpo got an offensive rebound and threw an off-balance, overhead, no-look pass to a wide-open Grayson Allen behind the three-point arc. Allen calmly sank a three-pointer that gave the Bucks an 11-point edge.

“He threw a pass you would see someone throw messing around in pregame or something like that, and it was right on the money,” Allen said. “He does ridiculous stuff like that all the time. I guess I learn to expect it.”

After trailing by 16 midway through the fourth quarter, the Knicks had cut the margin to 113-105 when Mitchell Robinson went to the foul line with 3:58 left. Robinson missed both free throws, and the Bucks eventually regained their double-digit advantage.

This game ended the regular-season series. The Bucks went 3-1 and won the last three meetings.

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