Antetokounmpo’s triple-double lifts Bucks over Wizards

Brook Lopez, Daniel Gafford Washington Wizards center Daniel Gafford, right, dunks against Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez (11) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Daniel Gafford Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) goes up against Washington Wizards center Daniel Gafford (21) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)
Daniel Gafford Washington Wizards center Daniel Gafford (21) goes up for a dunk against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Gill Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) goes up against Washington Wizards forward Anthony Gill (16) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)
Johnny Davis, Daniel Gafford, Jrue Holiday Washington Wizards guard Johnny Davis (1) dribbles as center Daniel Gafford (21) sets a pick on Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, second from left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)
Anthony Gill, Giannis Antetokounmpo Washington Wizards forward Anthony Gill (16) goes up against Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)
Bobby Portis Milwaukee Bucks forward Bobby Portis (9) goes up for a rebound during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)
Jrue Holiday, Daniel Gafford Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, front, goes up against Washington Wizards center Daniel Gafford, back, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)
Kendrick Nunn, Jrue Holiday, Jae Crowder Washington Wizards guard Kendrick Nunn (20) passes the ball while under pressure from Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday (21) and forward Jae Crowder (99) during the half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Milwaukee Bucks were eliminated last season in a Game 7 on the road.

One more victory, and they won’t have to worry about that.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 28 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, and Jrue Holiday nearly added a triple-double of his own as the Bucks took another step toward wrapping up the NBA’s best record with a 140-128 victory over the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night.

Holiday finished with 26 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, and Bobby Portis added 19 points and 20 rebounds for Milwaukee.

The Bucks (57-22) moved to three games ahead of Boston with three to play, although the Celtics — who beat Milwaukee in that seven-game series last year — have the head-to-head tiebreaker. Boston lost a 103-101 thriller at Philadelphia on Tuesday, with ex-Buck P.J. Tucker hitting big 3-pointers down the stretch as Milwaukee players watched in their locker room.

After that game ended, Antetokounmpo downplayed the importance of home court just a little, noting that the Bucks were the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference when they won it all two years ago.

“At the end of the day, Boston is a beast, Philly is a beast, Cleveland is a beast, New York is a beast,” Antetokounmpo said.

Kendrick Nunn scored 24 points for the Wizards, who are out of playoff contention and played without Bradley Beal (left knee), Kristaps Porzingis (illness) and Kyle Kuzma (right ankle). Washington kept it close until late in the second quarter, when Milwaukee closed the half on a 13-5 run to lead 75-62.

It wasn’t close after that, with the Bucks leading by as many as 24 points. Milwaukee wasn’t at full strength either. Khris Middleton (right knee) missed the game, which was the first half of a back-to-back for the Bucks. Grayson Allen was also out after leaving Sunday’s game against Philadelphia with a sprained right ankle.

Pat Connaughton played only 5:40 because of what coach Mike Budenholzer said was a twisted right ankle. Budenholzer was hopeful it’s not too serious.

HIGHLIGHT

On a night when defense was in short supply, Antetokounmpo made an incredible chase-down block on Nunn in the fourth quarter with his team up 15 — although Corey Kispert followed up with a layup for the Wizards.

“His competitive fire, his competitive spirit, it’s the best,” Budenholzer said. “A lot of guys I think don’t go get that. Not his physical ability to go get it, but just the competitiveness and the willingness to try. He’s very special that way.”

Antetokounmpo nearly had his triple-double after three quarters but needed one more assist.

LOTTERY ODDS

Washington (34-45) is now in a three-way tie for 11th place in the Eastern Conference with Orlando and Indiana.

TIP-INS

Bucks: Jevon Carter (left foot) did not play. … Portis has 23 double-doubles off the bench this season, the most in the league. … Antetokounmpo had eight turnovers. … Jae Crowder scored 19 points. … Milwaukee shot 23 of 42 from 3-point range.

Wizards: In addition to the Beal-Porzingis-Kuzma trio, Washington was also missing Monte Morris (right ankle), Delon Wright (illness) and Deni Avdija (left elbow). Jordan Goodwin, Johnny Davis and Anthony Gill, who had combined for 10 starts all season, were all in the starting lineup. … Davis, a first-round draft pick last year, scored a career-high 20 points. … Gafford picked up four fouls in the first half.

UP NEXT

Bucks: Host Chicago on Wednesday night.

Wizards: At Atlanta on Wednesday night.

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Follow Noah Trister at https://twitter.com/noahtrister

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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