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Bucks get back on track against Knicks with 120-112 win

MILWAUKEE (AP) Giannis Antetokounmpo opened the game with a one night-only move, hiking the ball through his legs to Eric Bledsoe after securing the opening tip.

The All-Star forward finished off the New York Knicks with some familiar plays in the lane, wheeling around defenders to get to the foul line.

Antetokounmpo scored 13 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter, outmuscling the Knicks to help the Milwaukee Bucks hold on for a 120-112 win on Friday night.

Khris Middleton had a game-high 30 points for the Bucks, who got a head-start on their fourth-quarter surge when Antetokounmpo rejected Emmanuel Mudiay's attempted layup before the third-quarter buzzer to preserve a 91-89 lead.

''I think one thing that is really important is to never underestimate or undervalue the things that he does,'' Bucks coach Joe Prunty said about Antetokounmpo.

The Bucks took control with a 19-7 run over a six-plus minute stretch of the fourth to build a 16-point lead that withstood a late run by the Knicks. Antetokounmpo had his way getting to the bucket, while Middleton provided balance from the perimeter after his 3 with 5:03 left gave Milwaukee a 112-96 advantage.

''We've got to be able to lock in even more now and finish the game - that's what we did,'' Antetokounmpo said.

New York, which finished a winless four-game road trip, has lost 14 of its last 15 games. Tim Hardaway Jr. finished with 26 points, while Mudlay scored all 19 of his points in the second half.

Still, the Knicks hardly looked like a draft lottery-bound team after rallying from an early 15-point deficit to take a brief lead in the third quarter. They held held edges in offensive rebounds (11-6) and second-chance points (14-5).

''They battled and never quit,'' coach Jeff Hornaceck said.

Antetokounmpo swatted away their hopes of finishing a comeback.

The Bucks, who fell into eighth place in the East entering Friday after losing six of their last seven games, hope to gain ground again in the playoff race during a four-game stretch against 40-loss teams that started with the Knicks.

''We need every win at this point, so it was a good win no matter who it was,'' Middleton said.

Antetokounmpo's opening-tip move was an attempt to have some fun to help get over a tough stretch, trying to emulate the game-opening routine that Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook have in Oklahoma City. Eric Bledsoe got in on the act with Antetokounmpo by doing a pushup before bringing the ball up the floor.

''It was a half pushup but I don't think we're going to do it again, that's it,'' Antetokounmpo said slyly.

Prunty wasn't as impressed.

''I didn't like it. Didn't like it,'' he said.

TIP INS

Knicks: F Michael Beasley, who played for Milwaukee last year, finished with four points in 22 minutes. ... F Troy Williams led all scorers in the first half with 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting. He finished with 18 points.

Bucks: Improved to 18-7 against teams under .500. ... Bledsoe had five points, seven assists, four steals and three turnovers in 14 minutes in an active first half. ... Zeller had 12 points in 16 minutes in his return from a two-game absence because of back soreness.

HIGH ENERGY

Milwaukee was at its best early on when pushing the pace. Bledsoe had four assists in the first quarter and the Bucks were active in the backcourt to force five turnovers in the period.

The Knicks closed the first half with a 7-0 run to get within 60-55 after Hardaway Jr. hit a 3 over the outstretched arm of 7-footer Tyler Zeller just before the buzzer.

Hardaway liked the team's energy.

''I think when we're in these situations, when you start learning as the season winds down how we can build the leads once we have them and continue to fight and try to get three stops in a row,'' he said.

ON GIANNIS

''Now that they allow the Euro-step, that you can go from the top of the key or the halfcourt line to the basket without dribbling, it makes it tough to guard him because he's good at it, and he's got long strides.'' - Hornacek on Antetokounmpo.

UP NEXT

Knicks: Open five-game homestand Sunday by hosting the Toronto Raptors.

Bucks: Hit the road to play the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday.

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Key Players
E. Kanter
00 C
G. Antetokounmpo
34 PF
37.3 Min. Per Game 37.3
27.2 Pts. Per Game 27.2
4.8 Ast. Per Game 4.8
10.2 Reb. Per Game 10.2
60.5 Field Goal % 53.0
60.3 Three Point % 53.1
86.5 Free Throw % 75.4
  24-second shot clock violation turnover 0:09
  Defensive rebound by Sterling Brown 0:31
  Emmanuel Mudiay missed 3-pt. jump shot 0:35
  Out of bounds turnover on John Henson 0:46
+ 2 Emmanuel Mudiay made driving layup 0:59
+ 1 Sterling Brown made 2nd of 2 free throws 1:05
+ 1 Sterling Brown made 1st of 2 free throws 1:05
  Personal foul on Tim Hardaway Jr. 1:05
  Defensive rebound by John Henson 1:04
  Emmanuel Mudiay missed 2nd of 2 free throws 1:08
+ 1 Emmanuel Mudiay made 1st of 2 free throws 1:08
Team Stats
Points 112 120
Field Goals 47-98 (48.0%) 41-73 (56.2%)
3-Pointers 7-28 (25.0%) 8-18 (44.4%)
Free Throws 11-14 (78.6%) 30-39 (76.9%)
Total Rebounds 44 51
Offensive 11 6
Defensive 28 36
Team 5 9
Assists 24 29
Steals 6 8
Blocks 5 6
Turnovers 11 14
Fouls 26 17
Technicals 2 0
26 PTS, 7 REB, 2 AST
28 PTS, 10 REB, 5 AST
1234T
away team logo Knicks 24-42 22333423112
home team logo Bucks 35-31 26343129120
Team Stats
away team logo Knicks 24-42 PPG RPG APG
home team logo Bucks 35-31 101.9 PPG 38.6 RPG 22.0 APG
Key Players
T. Hardaway Jr. SF 17.5 PPG 3.9 RPG 2.7 APG 42.1 FG%
K. Middleton SF 20.1 PPG 5.2 RPG 4.0 APG 46.6 FG%
Top Scorers
T. Hardaway Jr. SF 26 PTS 7 REB 2 AST
K. Middleton SF 30 PTS 4 REB 1 AST
48.0 FG% 56.2
25.0 3PT FG% 44.4
78.6 FT% 76.9
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
T. Hardaway Jr. 32 26 7 2 1 0 1 4 10/20 4/11 2/2 0 7 37 +4
E. Mudiay 28 19 2 4 1 0 3 2 7/14 1/3 4/7 0 2 27 -5
E. Kanter 21 16 8 1 1 1 3 4 8/11 0/0 0/0 5 3 25 -1
L. Thomas 33 5 5 2 1 1 1 5 2/5 1/4 0/0 2 3 15 -1
F. Ntilikina 33 2 3 3 0 0 1 2 1/4 0/1 0/0 0 3 10 -2
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
T. Hardaway Jr. 32 26 7 2 1 0 1 4 10/20 4/11 2/2 0 7 37 +4
E. Mudiay 28 19 2 4 1 0 3 2 7/14 1/3 4/7 0 2 27 -5
E. Kanter 21 16 8 1 1 1 3 4 8/11 0/0 0/0 5 3 25 -1
L. Thomas 33 5 5 2 1 1 1 5 2/5 1/4 0/0 2 3 15 -1
F. Ntilikina 33 2 3 3 0 0 1 2 1/4 0/1 0/0 0 3 10 -2
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
T. Williams 25 18 5 0 1 0 0 0 7/14 1/3 3/3 2 3 24 -5
K. O'Quinn 17 14 2 6 1 3 0 2 6/8 0/1 2/2 0 2 32 -6
M. Beasley 22 4 3 3 0 0 1 3 2/8 0/2 0/0 1 2 12 0
T. Burke 14 4 2 3 0 0 0 0 2/6 0/0 0/0 0 2 12 -15
L. Kornet 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 1/5 0/1 0/0 1 0 3 -6
D. Dotson 7 2 1 0 0 0 1 3 1/3 0/2 0/0 0 1 2 -3
J. Noah - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Lee - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I. Hicks - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Porzingis - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Baker - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Jack - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 235 112 39 24 6 5 11 26 47/98 7/28 11/14 11 28 199 -40
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
K. Middleton 31 30 4 1 0 0 1 3 11/16 2/4 6/6 0 4 35 -4
G. Antetokounmpo 35 28 10 5 2 2 1 2 7/15 0/0 14/18 2 8 51 +19
J. Henson 31 14 4 2 1 4 3 2 5/7 0/0 4/7 0 4 24 +11
E. Bledsoe 28 7 3 8 4 0 5 1 3/6 1/3 0/2 0 3 25 +9
T. Snell 27 0 1 5 0 0 1 2 0/3 0/2 0/0 0 1 10 +2
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
K. Middleton 31 30 4 1 0 0 1 3 11/16 2/4 6/6 0 4 35 -4
G. Antetokounmpo 35 28 10 5 2 2 1 2 7/15 0/0 14/18 2 8 51 +19
J. Henson 31 14 4 2 1 4 3 2 5/7 0/0 4/7 0 4 24 +11
E. Bledsoe 28 7 3 8 4 0 5 1 3/6 1/3 0/2 0 3 25 +9
T. Snell 27 0 1 5 0 0 1 2 0/3 0/2 0/0 0 1 10 +2
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
T. Zeller 16 12 6 1 0 0 0 3 5/9 0/0 2/2 3 3 20 -3
J. Parker 23 12 4 5 0 0 1 0 5/8 2/3 0/0 1 3 25 +1
S. Brown 21 11 7 1 0 0 1 1 3/5 3/5 2/2 0 7 19 +6
S. Muhammad 6 6 1 0 1 0 1 0 2/3 0/0 2/2 0 1 7 -2
J. Terry 17 0 2 1 0 0 0 1 0/1 0/1 0/0 0 2 4 +4
X. Munford 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 0 0 -3
M. Brogdon - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Teletovic - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Dellavedova - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Maker - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Plumlee - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Wilson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 236 120 42 29 8 6 14 17 41/73 8/18 30/39 6 36 220 +40