ORLANDO — Brook Lopez highlighted a 23-point performance with five 3-pointers as the visiting Milwaukee Bucks completed a four-game season sweep of the Orlando Magic with a 111-95 victory on Saturday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo collected 18 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists for the Bucks, who have won 13 of their last 14 games overall and seven of their last eight versus Orlando.
While impressive numbers to be certain, a slow start and a primarily non-competitive contest led to the reigning NBA MVP seeing his five-game streak of at least 30 points, 16 rebounds and six assists come to a halt.
Khris Middleton recorded 21 points and 13 rebounds and Eric Bledsoe (18) and Wesley Matthews (12) also scored in double digits for Milwaukee.
Nikola Vucevic collected 21 points and 14 rebounds for his team-leading 26th double-double for the Magic, who have lost three in a row and eight of their last nine games.
Antetokounmpo’s dunk, Matthews’ corner 3-pointer and Lopez’s driving layup and short jumper started the Bucks on a 9-0 run to begin the third quarter to push their lead to 71-46. Orlando, however, made a spirited comeback entering the fourth before being held at bay the rest of the way.
The Bucks cleaned up some sloppy play and Kyle Korver and Lopez each made a pair of 3-pointers to create a double-digit advantage for their team in the second quarter. Middleton connected on a long, touchdown pass to Bledsoe for a reverse layup, highlighting an 11-3 run to end the quarter and give Milwaukee a 62-46 advantage at intermission.
Matthews drained a trio of 3-pointers to lift Milwaukee to a 15-10 lead before finishing the quarter with a 29-24 advantage without the benefit of a field goal from Antetokounmpo. Vucevic kept the Magic competitive with nine points and six rebounds.
While Milwaukee stood pat at the NBA trade deadline, it reportedly is set to bolster its roster as soon as Monday. Multiple outlets reported that the team is prepared to sign veteran forward Marvin Williams, who was waived by the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday.
WOLVES THUMP CLIPPERS
The new-look Minnesota Timberwolves were a puzzle too difficult to solve Saturday, getting 24 points from Jordan McLaughlin and 23 from Malik Beasley to earn a resounding 142-115 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers and end a 13-game losing streak.
Three players were making their debut for a Timberwolves team that was busy in advance of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline. One player who did not suit up was D’Angelo Russell, who was one of the biggest acquisitions on the final trading day.
Russell was nursing a right quad contusion but did take the microphone to speak to the crowd before the game to promise better things ahead. — Reuters