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Defending champ Bucks humble Warriors

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks is defended by Andre Iguodala and Andrew Wiggins of the Golden State Warriors through the first half of a sport at Fiserv Discussion board on January 13, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  (Getty Pictures through AFP)

LOS ANGELES –  Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30 factors in a triple-double because the defending  NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks dominated the Golden State Warriors 118-99 on Thursday.

In a conflict billed as a possible NBA Finals preview, the Bucks took an early stranglehold in Milwaukee on the best way to a wire-to-wire win.

Two-time NBA Most Precious Participant Antetokounmpo added 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his third triple-double of the season and the twenty eighth of his profession.

Milwaukee, with coach Mike Budenholzer again on the bench after lacking 4 video games over Covid considerations, roared to a 77-38 halftime lead — Antetokounmpo pouring in 23 factors earlier than the interval.

The halftime lead was two in need of the club-record the Bucks set once they led 77-36 in opposition to Orlando in November on the best way to a 123-92 victory.

And it was the largest halftime deficit for the Warriors because the franchise moved to California within the 1962-63 season.

“Clearly, we all know we’re the defending champs, everyone’s going to return arduous at us,” Antetokounmpo mentioned. “However on the finish of the day, it’s about us.”

Khris Middleton scored 23 factors for Milwaukee. Bobby Portis added 20 — draining a three-pointer on the halftime buzzer and giving a shoulder shake harking back to Warriors star Stephen Curry’s trademark celebratory shimmy.

With Curry restricted to 12 factors, Andrew Wiggins led the Warriors with 16 factors.

Klay Thompson added 11, however the Warriors clearly missed Draymond Inexperienced, who remained sidelined as a consequence of tightness in his left calf.

klay thompson vs bucks

Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors takes a 3 level shot through the second half of a sport in opposition to the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Discussion board on January 13, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  (Getty Pictures through AFP)

Even so, the Warriors battled within the second half, out-scoring the Bucks 34-20 within the third quarter. They lower the deficit to 18 factors early within the quarter, however wouldn’t get any nearer.

“The second half was a a lot better effort,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr mentioned. “I do know the sport was out of hand, however our response was nice.”

Kerr insisted he wasn’t anxious because the Warriors slipped to a sport and a half behind the Phoenix Suns atop the Western Convention with their fourth loss of their final 5 video games.

“To be sincere I’m not that involved,” he mentioned. “I do know we simply acquired our butts kicked, however we’re simply in a tough patch in our season. It occurs to each crew yearly, just about.”

Grizzlies tame Wolves

It was a a lot completely different story in Memphis, the place the Grizzlies pulled away late to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 116-108 and push their profitable streak to 11 video games.

Desmond Bane scored 21 factors and Jaren Jackson Jr added 20 to guide the Grizzlies.

Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies handles the ball during the first half of the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center on December 27, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Grizzlies defeated the

Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies  (Getty Pictures through AFP)

Memphis star Ja Morant chipped in 16 factors with 9 assists and eight rebounds because the Grizzlies avenged a 138-95 loss to the Timberwolves in November.

Anthony Edwards led Minnesota with 30 factors and D’Angelo Russell scored 29 because the Timberwolves made Memphis work to increase their profitable streak.

The ultimate 4 minutes featured 4 lead adjustments, the Grizzlies taking the lead for good on two free throws by Brandon Clarke with 1:47 remaining.

A layup by Bane and a three-pointer by John Konchar helped seal it for Memphis, who trailed 60-53 at halftime however got here out sturdy within the third quarter and led 90-84 going into the ultimate interval.

Thunder roll over Nets

Elsewhere, the short-handed Nets fell 130-109 to the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder in Brooklyn to lose floor of their quest to overhaul Chicago atop the East.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 33 factors, pulled down 10 rebounds and handed out 9 assists for Oklahoma Metropolis, who snapped a five-game skid.

nets vs thunder nba

James Harden of the Brooklyn Nets passes in opposition to Mike Muscala of the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder throughout their sport at Barclays Middle on January 13, 2022 in New York Metropolis.  (Getty Pictures through AFP)

A day after a Nets crew that includes its “Huge Three” of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving manhandled the Bulls in Chicago, Brooklyn discovered it robust going at residence with out Durant and Irving within the lineup.

Durant was resting, whereas the unvaccinated Irving stays ineligible to play in residence video games as a consequence of New York’s vaccine mandate.

Harden shouldered the load with 26 factors, 9 assists and 7 rebounds, however the Nets couldn’t silence the Thunder.

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