Now that Milwaukee has snapped its longest losing streak in more than four years, thanks to Friday night’s home-court win over Oklahoma City, the Bucks will try to prolong another team’s misery.
The Sacramento Kings, losers of six straight, visit the Bucks on Sunday night.
The Kings couldn’t contain Zach LaVine during a 122-114 loss to the Bulls in Chicago on Saturday night. LaVine, who finished with a game-high 38 points on 15-of-20 shooting, sealed the outcome with a jumper with 17.6 seconds left.
The shorthanded Kings were without Harrison Barnes (left foot strain), Richaun Holmes (right knee soreness), Glenn Robinson III (right knee soreness) and Chimezie Metu (fractured right wrist).
Sacramento shot just 27.6 percent from 3-point range and allowed the Bulls to shoot 59.8 percent overall (49-for-82), including 11-of-23 from 3-point range.
“There are stretches in the game where we look really good as a team, but we have to be able to do that for as long as possible,” Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox said.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 29 points and grabbed a season-high 19 rebounds to go along with eight assists as Milwaukee ended its five-game skid, the team’s longest since Jan. 25-Feb. 3, 2017.
“Keep responding game by game,” Antetokounmpo said. “Once we start rolling, winning a few games in a row, it’s going to feel really good, and what we feel right now is going to be in the past and we’re not going to want to come back here because we’re going to know what it feels like to be down, to be beaten.”
The Bucks shot 40.7 percent (35-for-86) and 32.4 percent from 3-point range (11 of 34), winning a game despite scoring under 100 points for only the third time in Mike Budenholzer’s tenure as coach.
But the Thunder’s final tally was a season-low in points allowed for the Bucks, who put together an 18-0 run at one point and led by as many as 22 points in the second half.
Khris Middleton scored 20 points on 7-for-18 shooting and finished with eight rebounds and four assists. D.J. Augustin, who started for the first time this season, had 11 points and five assists.
“That’s just the NBA, man,” Augustin said. “You’ve got a couple of options. You can either be up on a team, step on their neck and put them out, or you can keep the game going and they’ll make a run. It happens. We did a great job tonight keeping our composure when it got close late in the game.”
The Kings’ Marvin Bagley III tied a season-high with 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against Chicago. But after Sacramento cut the deficit to four points, Thaddeus Young drove, spun around, shook off Bagley and delivered a floating shot with 45 seconds left.
Buddy Hield totaled 23 points on 10-for-21 shooting, and Fox totaled 20 points and nine assists.
“It’s always concerning, obviously, when you’re stringing together some losses like this,” Fox said. “You got to keep the course. Obviously, no one’s gonna feel sorry for you — especially around this league. If you keep your head down, people will keep you down. Every team in this league will just continue to keep you down.”
Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday is expected to miss his eighth consecutive game as he and Jaylen Adams remain out due to health and safety protocols. Jordan Nwora (left ankle sprain) is also listed as out.
–Field Level Media
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