MILWAUKEE — — The Pelicans have lost eight straight as the Milwaukee Bucks beat New Orleans 135-110 on Sunday.
Ateotokumbo’s 50 points were five points off his career-high in a 123-113 victory over the Washington Wizards on January 4. He shot 20-of-26 from the floor, 3-of-4 from 3-point range, and 7-of-12 on free-throw attempts.
The Bucks didn’t trail and went on a four-game winning streak as they opened a four-game homestand. They also reached his mark of 130 points for the fifth time in their last seven games.
Drew Holiday scored 17 points and Brook Lopez scored 15 for the Bucks, shooting 55.2 percent.
Antetokounmpo had 29 points and 10 rebounds in the first half alone, helping the Bucks build a big early lead. It was Antetokounmpo’s 10th game of the season and has scored at least 40 points. This tied his 40 points his game career high he set last season.
New Orleans lost their top three scorers in Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram (left toe injury) and CJ McCallum (right thumb sprain). Jose Alvarado led the Pelicans with 18 points, while Trey Murphy III and Jonas Valanciunas each had 16 points.
Antetokounmpo’s blistering start put the Pelicans in an early hole. His two-time MVP had already scored 16 points midway through the first quarter. He scored his 18 points in his 8-of-9 opening that period, nearly tying New Orleans’ scoring totals while helping the Bucks build his 37-19 advantage. .
Pelicans: Kira Lewis Jr. played for the first time since January 18 and scored 15 points. ….Larry Nance Jr. had his season-high 12 rebounds…The Pelicans outrebounded him 57-38. He was minus 11 rebounding margin against the Wizards on Saturday.
Bucks: Antetokounmpo made his 695th career regular season appearance, tied with Sidney Moncrief for the Bucks’ all-time record. The franchise record is owned by Junior Bridgeman, who played 711 regular season games in his two stints with the Bucks in 1975-84 and his 1986-87. …Middleton has been off the bench for four straight games as the Bucks continue to monitor his three-time All-Star workload on his return from a sore right knee. Middleton has played just his 11 games this year, first recovering from offseason wrist surgery and later losing time dealing with his knee problems.
Pelicans: Game 2 of Tuesday’s 3-game road swing in Denver. The Pelicans have split the Nuggets at home twice this season.
Bucks: Host Charlotte on Tuesday. The Bucks won in Charlotte and lost at home a month later.
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