Bucks hold off Wolves for best start ever
MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded 32 points and 17 rebounds to lead the host Milwaukee Bucks to a 106-104 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.
The triumph gives the Bucks (31-5) the best 36-game start in franchise history. The 1971-72 squad led by legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar dropped game No. 36 for a 30-6 mark.
Khris Middleton added 13 points for Milwaukee, which scored 100 or more points for the 60th straight game. The only team with a longer streak over the past 30 years is the Houston Rockets, who reached the century mark 61 times in a row during the 2016-17 campaign.
Shabazz Napier scored 22 points to lead Minnesota, which lost for the 13th time in the past 15 contests. Gorgui Dieng recorded 15 points, but his 20-foot, potential tying attempt bounced off the rim with less than three seconds left.
Jaylen Nowell and Josh Okogie tallied 12 points apiece for the Timberwolves, who were without Karl-Anthony Towns (knee) for the eighth straight game and Andrew Wiggins (illness) for the third consecutive contest.
The Timberwolves were in range for the upset when Robert Covington knocked down a 3-pointer with 1:04 left to make it a three-point margin. Dieng split two free throws with 46.2 seconds left to trim the deficit to 106-104 before a defensive stop gave the ball back to Minnesota, but Dieng came up empty on the outside shot.
Brook Lopez added 11 points and six blocked shots, and Eric Bledsoe scored 10 points as Milwaukee shot 42.6 percent from the field, including 9 of 36 from 3-point range.
Naz Reid scored 11 points, and Jarrett Culver and Keita Bates-Diop had 10 points apiece as Minnesota connected on 37.4 percent from the field and was 15 of 46 from behind the arc.
Milwaukee owned a 60-48 rebounding advantage.
The Bucks led by one point at the break but used an 11-2 spurt to open up a 67-57 lead with 6:54 left in the third quarter. Antetokounmpo scored seven points during the span, including a 3-pointer to end the burst.
Milwaukee led 77-71 entering the final stanza, but Napier converted a four-point play to bring the Timberwolves within 94-92 with 5:23 remaining.
Pat Connaughton drained a 3-pointer with 3:49 left to push the Bucks over 100 with a 101-94 lead with 3:49 left.
Antetokounmpo had 13 first-half points, and his dunk with 14.9 seconds left gave the Bucks a 52-51 advantage.