Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in 43 points — including a career-high 30-point first half — as the Milwaukee Bucks downed the visiting Detroit Pistons 125-115 on Monday.
He added nine rebounds and four assists, while Khris Middleton contributed 19 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Jrue Holiday had 15 points, seven assists, six rebounds and three steals and D.J. Augustin added 11 points and six assists.
The teams will play once again in Milwaukee on Wednesday.
Derrick Rose had 24 points and eight assists to lead Detroit. Jerami Grant also scored 24 points, while Svi Mykhailiuk, Sekou Doumbouya and Wayne Ellington added 13 apiece.
The Pistons played without starter Blake Griffin, who was rested with the team playing its third game in four days. Point guard Killian Hayes departed in the third quarter with a hip injury.
Milwaukee grabbed a 67-56 halftime lead behind the two-time reigning Most Valuable Player.
Antetokounmpo scored 10 points in the first quarter as the Bucks established a 33-26 lead.
He made a dunk and an assist during a 7-0 Bucks spurt to start the second quarter.
The Pistons pulled within four, 46-42, with the aid of seven Mykhailiuk points during the next three minutes.
Milwaukee then went on 15-4 run, including 10 points from Antetokounmpo. He finished off the run with his first 3-pointer of the game.
He reached the 30-point mark on a jumper with 2:34 left in the half.
Detroit cut Milwaukee’s lead to seven, 69-62, early in the second half on a midrange shot by Grant. The Bucks then went on an 11-2 run which began with a Brook Lopez 3-pointer off an Antetokounmpo pass. Middleton and Augustin also knocked down 3-pointers during that stretch.
Antetokounmpo’s 3-pointer with just over four minutes left in the quarter gave the Bucks an 18-point lead at 86-68.
Milwaukee led 97-80 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Pistons got the deficit under double digits at 113-105 on a Mykhailiuk 3-pointer with five minutes remaining. Milwaukee wouldn’t let them get any closer.
–Field Level Media