Giannis exits early with knee issue; Bucks rip Heat 128-99
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo left late in the first quarter with a right knee issue to spoil his rapid return from a sprained wrist, but the Milwaukee Bucks still trounced the Miami Heat 128-99 on Friday night for their 13th consecutive victory.
Antetokounmpo was in the starting lineup just four days after heading to New York to have his right wrist examined. The two-time MVP was on the floor late in the first quarter when he passed the ball and immediately motioned to the bench as the Bucks called a timeout to enable him to head to the locker room.
Bucks officials said in the second quarter that Antetokounmpo had knocked knees with an opponent and wouldn’t return to the game. He had four points, four rebounds and four assists in just six minutes.
The Bucks still had no trouble extending the longest winning streak in the NBA this season. The Bucks pulled ahead for good four minutes into the game and rolled to their most lopsided victory of the season.
Jrue Holiday scored 24 points and drew perhaps his biggest ovation of the night when the scoreboard video caught him joining the crowd singalong to the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” during a timeout late in the fourth quarter. Holiday also had seven assists and five rebounds while shooting 5 of 9 from 3-point range.
Bobby Portis had 18 points and 11 rebounds in his return from a sprained right medial collateral ligament that caused him to miss 11 games. Brook Lopez had 17 points, Grayson Allen 16 and Khris Middleton 12.
Jimmy Butler scored 23, Bam Adebayo 18, Tyler Herro 14 and Caleb Martin 13 for the Heat, who shot just 9 of 40 on 3-point attempts.
Heat: Kevin Love and Cody Zeller made their Heat debuts after signing with Miami during the All-Star break. Love, who had reached a buyout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, was in the starting lineup but went scoreless in his first game appearance in a month. He did have eight rebounds and four assists in 22 minutes. Zeller was playing his first game of the season and had 10 points in 16 minutes.
Bucks: Jae Crowder, acquired at the trade deadline, made his 2022-23 debut and had nine points in 16 minutes. Crowder hadn't played at all for Phoenix this season as the Suns attempted to deal him. ... Meyers Leonard, who signed a 10-day contract this week, had five points and six rebounds in 15 minutes while playing his first NBA game since January 2021. ... Pat Connaughton (left calf soreness) and Wesley Matthews (right calf strain) didn't play.
Heat: At Charlotte on Saturday. The Heat are 2-1 against the Hornets this season with the home team winning each of the three games.
Bucks: Host Phoenix on Sunday in the first matchup of the season between the teams. The Bucks and Suns will face off again March 14 in Phoenix.
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Steve Megargee, The Associated Press