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Giannis returns, Bucks blow out Nets 121-109 in Brooklyn

NEW YORK (AP) — Back at the site of an overtime thriller in the playoffs, the Milwaukee Bucks quickly made clear this one wasn't going down to the wire. Milwaukee Bucks center Bobby Portis (9) drives into Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 7, 2022,…

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NEW YORK (AP) — Attend at the positioning of an time beyond legislation thriller in the playoffs, the Milwaukee Bucks rapid made sure this one wasn't occurring to the wire.

Milwaukee Bucks center Bobby Portis (9) drives into Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 7, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Milwaukee Bucks heart Bobby Portis (9) drives into Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden during the predominant half of an NBA basketball sport Friday, Jan. 7, 2022, in Unusual York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

NEW YORK (AP) — Attend at the positioning of an time beyond legislation thriller in the playoffs, the Milwaukee Bucks rapid made sure this one wasn't occurring to the wire.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 31 facets in his return from a one-sport absence, Khris Middleton added 15 of his 20 in the third quarter and the Bucks blew out the Brooklyn Nets 121-109 on Friday night time.

Bobby Portis scored 20 of his 25 in the predominant half to support the Bucks snap a two-sport skid. The final loss came without Antetokounmpo, who did now not play Wednesday night time in opposition to Toronto as a result of an illness unrelated to COVID-19.

He added nine rebounds and seven assists in his return.

“He comes with the killer knockout blow,” performing coach Darvin Ham acknowledged. “Once he sees us in standing, he knows what spots he needs to rep to.”

The Bucks are without coach Mike Budenholzer, point guard Jrue Vacation and a alternative of alternative key gamers as a result of coronavirus health and safety protocols.

“But at the discontinue of the day, guys are ready to step up,” Antetokounmpo acknowledged.

Kevin Durant had 29 facets, nine rebounds and seven assists for the Nets, who contain lost 5 straight home video games. James Harden performed with 16 facets, nine rebounds and seven assists.

Brooklyn Nets guard David Duke Jr., center, drives to the basket between Milwaukee Bucks forward Jordan Nwora (13) and Giannis Antetokounmpo during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 7, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Brooklyn Nets guard David Duke Jr., heart, drives to the basket between Milwaukee Bucks forward Jordan Nwora (13) and Giannis Antetokounmpo during the predominant half of an NBA basketball sport Friday, Jan. 7, 2022, in Unusual York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Brooklyn won Wednesday night time in Indiana with Kyrie Irving making his season debut. He wasn't in the building Friday, ineligible to play home video games on yarn of he hasn't been vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19 as mandated for Unusual York Metropolis's legitimate athletes.

Harden acknowledged having Irving on Wednesday felt treasure having unusual existence.

“But we got to dwell with what we’re dealt with, and that’s home video games we’ve got to figure ways and even side toll road video games,” he acknowledged. “Appropriate on yarn of Ky’s on the side toll road with us doesn’t point out it’s going to be easy for us as well. So we’ve got to mesh and we’ve got to search out ways to purchase video games every particular person time we play.”

The Bucks won Sport 7 of the Eastern Convention semifinals here in time beyond legislation.

This time, Portis scored 10 facets in the predominant quarter, though it must contain been 12. He uncared for a breakaway dunk and not using a Nets player anyplace advance.

He had 10 extra in the 2d, sending Milwaukee to the half with a 60-49 lead although Antetokounmpo played trusty 2 1/2 minutes of the length sooner than going to the bench with a third wicked.

Middleton took over from there, making three 3-pointers — one whereas being fouled — during a 19-4 spurt in the third that extended a nine-point result in 87-63 at the midway point of the length.

The Bucks scored 77 facets in the predominant half Wednesday nonetheless then had trusty 11 in the third.

“Final two video games particularly the build we gave up leads,” Middleton acknowledged. “This one we had been in a position to enhance our lead, which changed into once mountainous.”

TIP-INS

Bucks: Portis added 12 rebounds. ... Milwaukee signed guards Langston Galloway and Jeff Dowtin to 10-day hardship contracts Friday. Galloway no longer too prolonged ago performed a stint with the Nets, performing in four video games during two 10-day contracts. ... Ham, on being support at the positioning of the playoff thriller: “Grand memories, nonetheless it with out a doubt’s 2022,” he acknowledged.

Nets: Durant moved earlier than Patrick Ewing (24,815 facets) into 23rd standing on the profession scoring checklist. ... Nicolas Claxton and Cam Thomas every scored 14 facets.

PATTY'S PLACE

Patty Mills shot 1 for 8 for three facets. He returned to his reserve role when Irving played Wednesday, nonetheless changed into once support at the birth lineup one more time Friday. Coach Steve Nash acknowledged the Nets must lift Mills in the lineup at home whereas starting up swingman Joe Harris is recuperating from left ankle surgical treatment.

“I contemplate the Kyrie disaster hopefully helps Patty,” Nash acknowledged. “I contemplate we’ve seen him form of practically be overused and over-depended on, and I contemplate it’s been sophisticated for him now and then so that you can continue his level of play on yarn of we’ve overburdened him. So, can Kyrie lift his minutes in a sweet standing the build he can lift it consistently excessive level?”

COACH'S CHAIR

Ham, on what it feels purchase to in the pinnacle coach's seat:

“It feels irregular and feels intense and I treasure it, nonetheless I also treasure no longer being in it at this deadline. Bud makes it sight effortless man, nonetheless I've seen what he goes by being with him since Day 1.”

UP NEXT

Bucks: At Charlotte on Saturday night time.

Nets: Host San Antonio on Sunday.

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