Bucks win 16th straight despite missing Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out with an injury but the Milwaukee Bucks won their 16th straight game with a 127-112 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans

MILWAUKEE -- Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out but the Milwaukee Bucks kept on rolling, getting 29 points from Eric Bledsoe in a 127-112 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night that extended their winning streak to 16 games.

The Bucks (22-3) tied the second-longest winning streak in franchise history and moved closer to the franchise record of 20 set during the team’s 1970-71 championship season.

Antetokounmpo sat out with a right quad tendon injury, missing his first game this season.

Khris Middleton added 24 points for Milwaukee and Ersan Ilyasova had 18 points and nine rebounds. George Hill contributed 13 points off the bench.

New Orleans (6-19) lost its 10th straight game despite a season-high 31 points from J.J. Redick and 25 points and 10 rebounds from Brandon Ingram. Jrue Holiday had 21 points.

The Bucks got off to a hot start, hitting six of their first eight attempts from 3-point range, including 3 of 3 by Bledsoe, to take a 28-12 lead.

Milwaukee led by 23 points in the opening quarter before New Orleans closed the period on an 8-0 run to pull within 35-20.

The Bucks used a 17-0 spurt to grab a 56-28 lead in the second quarter before settling for a 69-46 halftime margin. Middleton and Bledsoe each had 13 points and Ilyasova and Hill added 11 apiece.

The Pelicans outscored the Bucks 40-36 in the third quarter.

New Orleans pulled within 120-108 with 2:51 remaining but Middleton hit a pair of jumpers to put the Bucks safely ahead.


Pelicans: New Orleans was coming off a two-point home loss to Detroit on Monday and has struggled without No. 1 overall draft pick Zion Williamson, who has missed the first 25 games of the season after undergoing surgery for a torn right lateral meniscus. “You either win or you learn,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “I think the guys are still playing hard. We just have these moments, these stretches where we struggle some and go away from what we’re doing.”

Bucks: Milwaukee won for the 20th time in its last 21 games and improved to 12-1 at home. The only loss at the Fiserv Forum came in the home opener against Miami.


Antetokounmpo did not participate in the team’s shootaround on Wednesday morning and quickly was ruled out.

“I don’t think we know exactly when it happened,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “This morning the soreness was such that he was not able to play tonight. The severity of it, we’re hoping it’s not too serious.

“We’ll take it day by day and we’re always going to err on the side of caution.”

Ilyasova started in Antetokounmpo’s place.

“Ersan is in a great place,” Budenholzer said. “He’s making a lot of those feel plays, those rhythm plays. The offense is moving a little better recently and I think that suits Ersan. His ability to slip and roll in the pick-and-rolls and work behind the defense, he’s just a really smart player.”


Pelicans: At Philadelphia on Friday.

Bucks: At Memphis on Friday.