CHICAGO – Power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo returned to the lineup for the Milwaukee Bucks with a double-double of 29 points and 17 rebounds to lead his team to a 112-99 win over the Chicago Bulls at United Center on Monday night.
Antetokounmpo got his 39th double-double of the season on his return to the team after missing the previous game against Orlando Magic on Saturday due to problems with his right knee.
In that game, the Magic had restricted the Bucks to their lowest point total of the season and snapped their six-game winning streak with a 103-83 victory.
The Bucks built a 100-86 lead midway through the fourth quarter, but the Bulls’ 11-0 run towards the end reduced their opponent’s advantage to three with less than three minutes of play remaining.
Milwaukee then sealed the win with a 12-2 run.
“We were just playing with a lot of effort, especially defense, we tried to pick it up in the second half,” Giannis told reporters in the locker room after the game.
“I was just trying to make plays (...) just being aggressive,” he added when asked about the fourth quarter.
Guard Malcolm Brogdon added 17 points and forward Khris Middleton another 16 to help the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks to pick up their seventh win in eight games and improve to 13-2 in their last 15 encounters.
The Bucks are leading the Eastern Conference with a 42-14 record.
For Chicago, guard Zach LaVine ended with 27 points, 17 of them in the first half, while forward Lauri Markkanen put up a double-double of 20 points and 17 rebounds as the Bulls stayed in the game until the end.
The Bulls will rue their missed chances in the game’s decisive moments as well as their inability to restrict MVP favorite Antetokounmpo’s firepower.
Forward Otto Porter Jr., acquired last week from the Washington Wizards, scored 18 points in his third outing with the Bulls, who lost their fourth match in five to slip to 3-18 in their last 21 games.
Chicago’s second consecutive defeat and eighth loss in 10 leaves them in 13th place in the Eastern Conference.