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Middleton leads balanced effort as Bucks beat Wolves 125-95

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) First-year coach Mike Budenholzer brought his heavy reliance on 3-pointers to the Milwaukee Bucks this season, transforming a team not known for its prowess from beyond the arc.

The approach has taken hold and Milwaukee has tied the best start in franchise history.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 15 points and 12 rebounds in just 23 minutes, Ersan Ilyasova added 16 points off the bench and the Bucks beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 125-95 on Friday night.

Khris Middleton scored 16 points and hit four 3-pointers for Milwaukee, which is 5-0 for the second time in franchise history. The 1971-72 Bucks led by Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson started 7-0.

Five players scored in double figures for Milwaukee, which made a season-high 19 3-pointers.

''It's been a complete turnaround,'' Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon said. ''Big part, credit to Bud. Not only do we have a great system that we play to advantage every night, our strengths, but he takes care of our bodies. We don't feel run down. We feel healthy, everybody's able to play.''

Milwaukee entered the game with the ninth-best offensive rating in the NBA to go with the fourth-best defensive rating.

The Bucks also entered shooting 40.8 3-pointers per game, up from last season's total of 24.7 per game. They had connected on 15.3 3s per game this season, the third-highest total in the league. Milwaukee hit just 8.8 per game last season.

''Tonight's exactly how we want to play,'' Antetokounmpo said. ''I think we did a great job moving the ball, playing hard. And especially, I think they scored like 16 points in the first quarter? We were playing hard defensively, and we were moving the ball offensively.''

Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 16 points for a listless Minnesota squad dealing with the distraction of star Jimmy Butler's trade request. Butler started despite being questionable with an illness and had a season-low four points on 2-of-11 shooting.

''I think I was a lot like everybody else,'' Butler said, downplaying the illness. ''We let our offense dictate what our defense was going to bring. Me, speaking for myself, I can never let that happen. My entire career has been my defense dictates my offense. Bad one; it's behind me right now this second. Hopefully, it is for everybody else.''

The specter of the trade request has lingered around the Wolves, but Butler had turned boos to cheers in leading Minnesota to wins in the first two home games.

The boos were back on Friday as Milwaukee buried Minnesota from the 3-point line.

The Wolves started 0 for 11 from the field and were scoreless until Butler scored with 7:19 left in the first quarter. Minnesota missed its first nine 3s and went 10 of 43 for the game.

''It was a combination of us missing our shots, and went down the other end and played low-energy defense,'' coach Tom Thibodeau said. ''You're required to do more than one thing and I thought our communication wasn't very good.''

The Bucks were also cold early, going just 1 of 8 from 3-point range. But Milwaukee finished the half hitting nine of its next 15 3s to build a 25-point halftime lead. Antetokounmpo scored only five points in the first half but Middleton and Brodgon each had 13.

''It's coaching,'' Brogdon said. ''He treats Giannis the same way he treats the last guy on the bench. We have immense respect for him, everybody's bought into the system and we enjoy playing for him.''

TIP-INS

Bucks: G Matthew Dellavedova returned after missing one game with an illness. ... Antetokounmpo had his fifth double-double of the season but his lowest scoring output to this point. He added six assists. ... Milwaukee shot 46 3s, which tied a season high.

Timberwolves: F Andrew Wiggins missed his second straight game with a bruised right quadriceps. ... With rookie Josh Okogie starting for Wiggins, it was the fourth different starting lineup for Minnesota this season. The Wolves used six different starting combinations last season, the fewest of any team in the league. ... Minnesota got 56 points from its bench, led by Derrick Rose with 14. ... New Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli threw out T-shirts to the crowd.

PRESIDENTIAL APPROVAL

Former President Barack Obama was in Wisconsin on Friday and told a crowd in attendance at a rally that Antetokounmpo is ''balling.''

Word got back to the Bucks before the game.

''It's amazing, a guy like Barack Obama mentioning my name and know what I'm doing,'' Antetokounmpo said. ''It's a great thing.''

NO DRAMA, JUST BUSINESS

Butler downplayed any part of the off-court rumors affecting the team right now and said there is no drama.

''I don't consider anything drama,'' Butler said. ''I consider it business. It's part of it. I think everybody still wants to win, man. We had an off night. But if we win, everything's OK, everything's fine. You wouldn't be asking me the same question.''

UP NEXT

Bucks: Host the Orlando Magic on Saturday.

Timberwolves: Host the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday.

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Key Players
G. Antetokounmpo
34 PF
J. Butler
23 SG
35.5 Min. Per Game 35.5
24.8 Pts. Per Game 24.8
3.5 Ast. Per Game 3.5
5.3 Reb. Per Game 5.3
48.1 Field Goal % 47.9
46.9 Three Point % 50.0
72.2 Free Throw % 82.9
  24-second shot clock violation turnover 0:00
  Defensive rebound by Pat Connaughton 0:22
  Luol Deng missed reverse layup, blocked by Tony Snell 0:25
  Team rebound 0:35
+ 1 James Nunnally made 2nd of 2 free throws 0:45
+ 1 James Nunnally made 1st of 2 free throws 0:45
  Shooting foul on Pat Connaughton 0:45
  Bad pass turnover on Pat Connaughton, stolen by Tyus Jones 0:47
  Personal foul on C.J. Williams 0:49
  Defensive rebound by Tony Snell 0:56
  C.J. Williams missed 3-pt. jump shot 1:00
Team Stats
Points 125 95
Field Goals 49-92 (53.3%) 36-112 (32.1%)
3-Pointers 19-46 (41.3%) 10-43 (23.3%)
Free Throws 8-11 (72.7%) 13-18 (72.2%)
Total Rebounds 68 59
Offensive 7 17
Defensive 55 32
Team 6 10
Assists 32 19
Steals 4 10
Blocks 8 6
Turnovers 17 7
Fouls 23 15
Technicals 0 0
15 PTS, 12 REB, 6 AST
16 PTS, 7 REB, 1 AST
1234T
away team logo Bucks 5-0 27363428125
home team logo Timberwolves 2-4 1622292895
Team Stats
away team logo Bucks 5-0 117.7 PPG 49.3 RPG 26.0 APG
home team logo Timberwolves 2-4 112.6 PPG 45.1 RPG 24.5 APG
Key Players
E. Ilyasova SF 6.9 PPG 4.4 RPG 0.8 APG 44.8 FG%
K. Towns C 24.6 PPG 12.2 RPG 3.3 APG 52.3 FG%
Top Scorers
E. Ilyasova SF 16 PTS 3 REB 1 AST
K. Towns C 16 PTS 7 REB 1 AST
53.3 FG% 32.1
41.3 3PT FG% 23.3
72.7 FT% 72.2
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
K. Middleton 16 4 1 6/10 4/7 0/0 2 24 2 1 2 0 4 +17 23
G. Antetokounmpo 15 12 6 5/9 0/1 5/6 4 23 0 2 4 0 12 +15 37
M. Brogdon 13 2 3 6/8 1/2 0/0 2 25 0 0 2 0 2 +25 19
B. Lopez 11 3 1 4/9 3/7 0/0 2 23 0 1 1 0 3 +24 16
E. Bledsoe 6 6 9 3/6 0/1 0/1 3 20 0 0 4 0 6 +21 26
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
K. Middleton 16 4 1 6/10 4/7 0/0 2 24 2 1 2 0 4 +17 23
G. Antetokounmpo 15 12 6 5/9 0/1 5/6 4 23 0 2 4 0 12 +15 37
M. Brogdon 13 2 3 6/8 1/2 0/0 2 25 0 0 2 0 2 +25 19
B. Lopez 11 3 1 4/9 3/7 0/0 2 23 0 1 1 0 3 +24 16
E. Bledsoe 6 6 9 3/6 0/1 0/1 3 20 0 0 4 0 6 +21 26
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
E. Ilyasova 16 3 1 6/10 2/5 2/2 1 20 2 1 0 2 1 +13 24
J. Henson 9 12 1 3/6 3/4 0/0 0 18 0 1 0 1 11 +12 24
D. DiVincenzo 9 4 5 4/9 1/5 0/0 1 18 0 0 0 2 2 +20 23
T. Maker 8 4 0 3/4 1/2 1/2 4 12 0 1 0 1 3 0 13
P. Connaughton 7 7 0 3/8 1/5 0/0 3 17 0 0 1 0 7 +5 13
T. Snell 7 1 1 3/7 1/4 0/0 0 15 0 1 1 0 1 +4 10
M. Dellavedova 6 0 3 2/4 2/3 0/0 0 10 0 0 1 0 0 -3 11
S. Brown 2 4 1 1/2 0/0 0/0 1 10 0 0 1 1 3 -3 7
C. Wood - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Wilson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Duval - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Morris - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 125 62 32 49/92 19/46 8/11 23 235 4 8 17 7 55 +150 246
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
K. Towns 16 7 1 7/16 2/5 0/0 3 26 1 2 1 3 4 -23 27
T. Gibson 11 7 1 4/9 0/1 3/5 4 19 1 2 1 5 2 -15 22
J. Butler 4 5 2 2/11 0/4 0/0 1 24 2 1 0 0 5 -23 16
J. Teague 4 2 4 2/10 0/5 0/1 2 21 0 0 2 0 2 -24 12
J. Okogie 4 4 1 2/10 0/5 0/0 0 29 1 0 0 2 2 -27 11
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
K. Towns 16 7 1 7/16 2/5 0/0 3 26 1 2 1 3 4 -23 27
T. Gibson 11 7 1 4/9 0/1 3/5 4 19 1 2 1 5 2 -15 22
J. Butler 4 5 2 2/11 0/4 0/0 1 24 2 1 0 0 5 -23 16
J. Teague 4 2 4 2/10 0/5 0/1 2 21 0 0 2 0 2 -24 12
J. Okogie 4 4 1 2/10 0/5 0/0 0 29 1 0 0 2 2 -27 11
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
D. Rose 14 3 2 5/13 1/3 3/5 1 26 2 0 0 0 3 -10 23
T. Jones 12 2 4 4/13 2/4 2/2 1 26 2 0 1 0 2 -6 23
A. Tolliver 11 6 3 4/9 3/7 0/0 1 24 0 0 2 1 5 -15 21
J. Nunnally 9 0 0 2/4 2/4 3/3 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 9
G. Dieng 6 7 1 2/8 0/1 2/2 1 15 1 0 0 3 4 -5 16
L. Deng 4 5 0 2/7 0/3 0/0 0 12 0 1 0 3 2 0 10
K. Bates-Diop 0 1 0 0/1 0/0 0/0 0 5 0 0 0 0 1 -2 1
C. Williams 0 0 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
A. Wiggins - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Terrell - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Patton - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 95 49 19 36/112 10/43 13/18 15 233 10 6 7 17 32 -150 191