Bucks squeeze past Suns without Antetokounmpo

Bucks squeeze past Suns without Antetokounmpo

 MILWAUKEE --Jrue Holiday scored 33 points, Brook Lopez recorded 22 points and 12 rebounds and the Milwaukee Bucks rallied despite playing without Giannis Antetokounmpo, picking up their 14th consecutive win in a 104-101 decision over the visiting Phoenix Suns on Sunday.

Antetokounmpo was a scratch from the lineup, stemming from exiting Milwaukee's win over the Miami Heat on Friday with a quad contusion. Despite playing without the 31.2-points per game scorer, the Bucks led Sunday's rematch of the 2021 NBA Finals for the entirety of the second and third quarters -- but never by more than 11 points.
Staying in striking distance allowed Phoenix to surge ahead in the fourth quarter, building a lead of as many as seven points in the period.
Deandre Ayton scored the last of his 22 points on a layup with 5:47 remaining, giving the Suns their biggest lead. Ayton also grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds and blocked three shots.
From there, the Bucks went on a 13-4 run that spanned 3:15. Phoenix scored only one field goal over that stretch and went more than five minutes total without scoring from the floor. The Milwaukee run culminated with Holiday knocking down a go-ahead 3-pointer to give the Bucks a 100-98 lead with 2:12 left.
Milwaukee took the lead for good when Lopez scored at the rim with 24.8 seconds left off of a Khris Middleton assist.
Former Suns forward Jae Crowder -- part of the deal for Phoenix to acquire Kevin Durant from Brooklyn -- made back-to-back 3-pointers during the pivotal Milwaukee run for six of his seven points on the game.
Crowder also provided critical defense against leading Suns scorer Devin Booker, who scored 24 points -- including a jumper to tie the score at 100 with 33 seconds remaining -- but committed a critical turnover with 11.3 seconds to go.
Booker also missed 2 of 3 free throws awarded when he was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 0.9 left and Phoenix trailing by four points.


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