Kevin Durant registered a career-high 16 assists to go with 27 points and 10 rebounds in his 18th career triple-double on Wednesday, leading the Phoenix Suns to a 129-113 win over the Houston Rockets.

Durant shot 9 of 16 from the field and 3 of 7 from 3-point range as Phoenix snapped a three-game losing streak with it first road victory since Nov. 26.

Eric Gordon also scored 27 points in his first game back in Houston since being traded in February. He had 17 points in the Suns’ 43-point second quarter.

Alperen Sengun had 24 points and Jalen Green added 23 for the Rockets, who have lost four of six following a five-game winning streak.

Gilgeous-Alexander, Williams help Thunder win

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Williams scored 36 points apiece and Williams sank a pair of key 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to lift the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 129-120 victory over the New York Knicks.

Chet Holmgren added 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting as the Thunder followed Tuesday’s triumph over Western Conference-leading Minnesota with their fifth win in six games.

Williams scored 17 points on 6 of 7 from the field in the fourth quarter, including eight points and two 3s during a 10-2 run after the Knicks cut their deficit to five with 4:37 remaining.

Julius Randle had 25 points and Jalen Brunson added 24 for New York, which had won three of four.

Antetokounmpo, Bucks handle undermanned Nets

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 32 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists and the Milwaukee Bucks pulled away for a 144-122 win over the short-handed Brooklyn Nets.

Khris Middleton added 27 points and 10 boards and Cameron Payne and Malik Beasley each hit five 3-pointers as the Bucks improved to 10-2 this month.

Milwaukee shot 23 of 51 from 3-point range and 58.4 percent (52 for 89) overall to bounce back from a Christmas Day loss to the Knicks.

The Nets rested three starters (Spencer Dinwiddie, Nic Claxton and Cam Johnson) and barely played two others one night after a victory in Detroit extended the Pistons’ losing streak an NBA-record 27.

Giannis Antetokounmpo said playing with Damian Lillard and Khris Middleton was "like heaven" after the trio combined to guide the Milwaukee Bucks to the quarterfinals of the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament.

The Bucks moved to 13-5 for the season and 4-0 in East Group B for the In-Season Tournament with Tuesday's 131-124 win over the Miami Heat at Kaseya Center.

Milwaukee found themselves down 118-115 with three minutes and 25 seconds to play, but they finished on a 16-6 run to tee up a home game in the last eight, with Antetokounmpo leading the way with 33 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

The two-time MVP was ably supported by Lillard, who posted 32 points and nine assists, and Middleton, who finished with 17 points and eight rebounds. 

After the game, Bucks head coach Adrian Griffin revealed Antetokounmpo had suggested feeding the ball to Middleton more often, and the star forward said doing so made Milwaukee less predictable.

"It's great, for me it's like heaven when you have two guys that can create their own shots, and I don't have to make something happen," Antetokounmpo said.

"It's great. My whole career it's been that way, and now also we have Khris and Dame that can do that. It makes the game easier for everybody. 

"Them breaking down the defenses is great, but if they can't, they can give the ball to me and I'll spread it to the corners or play one-on-one.

"Offensively, I think guys got to the spots and were able to execute, a few pick and rolls with Dame as the ball handler, a few pick and rolls with Khris as the ball handler… it was great. 

"I think it helps the flow of our offense when it doesn't always have to be Dame and Giannis, then we can play from there.

"I feel like that's where we are, all playing as a team, the energy is better, everybody has more touches of the ball, I think we can be more effective that way."

The Heat were made to pay for the absence of Jimmy Butler, who missed the game with an ankle sprain after averaging 37.6 points as Miami eliminated Milwaukee from the playoffs last season.

Bam Adebayo scored 31 points for Miami, with Kyle Lowry adding 21 and Josh Richardson contributing 20, and head coach Erik Spoelstra was broadly pleased with their display, despite the result.

"I felt like we played a very good basketball game," Spoelstra said. "A very good offensive game, in particular."

Now 10-8 for the campaign and eliminated from the In-Season Tournament, Miami will look to halt their three-game losing streak when they face the Indiana Pacers in a home double-header later this week. 

Khris Middleton is not getting caught up in speculation surrounding team-mate Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is uncertain over his Milwaukee Bucks future.

Antetokounmpo, a two-time NBA MVP, has recently cast doubt on whether he will be staying with the Bucks.

The 28-year-old has made it clear that he wants to win another championship, having helped the Bucks to glory in 2021.

But Middleton is staying focused on his preparations for the new season, instead of paying too much attention to the talk around the Bucks' star man.

"I think it's kind of business as usual either way," Middleton told ESPN.

"It doesn't affect me personally. I don't think it affects us as a team. I think this is something he said almost every year he's come up in contract extension talks.

"We always want him back for sure. Let's be for sure and let everyone know that. We want this guy to come back because he's one of the best players in the world.

"He's one of the best players in franchise history. So when he says things like that, I think he just wants to challenge the team, the organisation, to keep putting us in a position to win championships."

Middleton believes Antetokounmpo's comments are about keeping the pressure on, for both himself and the team.

"But I think it's just something that he just wants to keep putting pressure on everybody. That's himself also," Middleton added.

"He's not just pointing a finger at everybody else saying, 'You guys have to do this for me'.

"I think he's putting that pressure on himself to be better, to come in and be great every year. So there's no pressure on, there's no added pressure when he says that to us as a team, or me as a person, that I have to be better."

The Bucks won their fifth straight division title last season, yet lost to the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs, resulting in the departure of head coach Mike Budenholzer.

Anthony Davis bounced back while LeBron James scored 25 points as the Los Angeles Lakers claimed a 2-1 first-round series lead with a 111-101 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.

Ja Morant returned from a hand injury for the Grizzlies, scoring a game-high 45 points, including 22 in a row for his team in the fourth quarter at Crypto.com Arena.

But the damage was done early, as the Grizzlies shot three-of-25 in the first quarter as the Lakers raced to a 35-9 lead.

Dillon Brooks was ejected for a flagrant 2 foul early in the third quarter following a hit to James' midsection, following tension between the pair after the former's comments after Game 2.

James put that aside to score 25 points on 10-of-20 shooting with nine rebounds, while Davis scored a team-high 31 points with 17 rebounds and three blocks.

The Grizzlies scored the final 10 points of the second quarter to close to 53-37 at half-time but were not helped by Brooks' ejection with 11:43 left in the third.

The Lakers kept Memphis at arm's length for most of the game, although Morant's remarkable fourth-quarter scoring run offered hope, getting within 10 points after a three-pointer with 2:54 left.

Jaren Jackson Jr lost the battle against Davis, contributing 13 points with five rebounds while Desmond Bane was kept to 18 points on three-of-seven three-point shooting. Morant made six-of-10 three-pointers, with 13 assists and nine rebounds.

Heat upset Bucks but left with injury worries

The Miami Heat claimed a 2-1 series lead with a 121-99 victory over the Eastern Conference top seed Milwaukee Bucks who were without Giannis Antetokounmpo due to a bruised lower back again.

But the excitement for the Heat was quelled by a worrying knee injury suffered late by Victor Oladipo, while Jimmy Butler battled a sore glute.

Butler top scored for Miami with 30 points on 12-of-19 shooting in 28 minutes. Duncan Robinson, on his 29th birthday, added 20 points on five-of-six three-point shooting.

Milwaukee shot at 44.7 per cent from the field, giving up 18 turnovers. Khris Middleton top scored with 23 points and six assists but was guilty for five turnovers.

Nets swept again, Suns go 3-1 up

The Brooklyn Nets suffered a first-round series sweep for the second straight year after the Philadelphia 76ers triumphed 96-88 in Game 4 despite the absence of Joel Embiid.

Tobias Harris scored a game-high 25 points with 12 rebounds, while James Harden had 17 points on four-of-18 shooting with eight rebounds and 11 assists. Embiid was out due to sprained right knee.

Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie managed a team-high 20 points and Nic Claxton had 19 points with 12 rebounds and four blocks.

The Phoenix Suns took a 3-1 lead in their series against the Los Angeles Clippers with a 112-100 win headlined by Kevin Durant's 31 points, 11 rebounds and six assists and Devin Booker's 30 points.

The Milwaukee Bucks clinched the Eastern Conference top seed with Wednesday's 105-92 win over the Chicago Bulls but lost Khris Middleton in the first quarter after re-aggravating a knee issue.

The Bucks were also without Giannis Antetokounmpo with right knee soreness, but Bobby Portis stepped up with 27 points and 13 rebounds and Brook Lopez added 26 points with Jrue Holiday contributing 20 points, eight rebounds and 15 assists.

Middleton has been restricted to 32 games this season, due to a combination of wrist and knee issues, and exited Wednesday's game having played only eight minutes with no points.

"It's right knee soreness," Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters about Middleton. "It's a re-aggravation of something that we've been working with him on all year."

The Bucks have two more regular season games before the playoffs but Budenholzer was unclear on whether Middleton would be available prior to the postseason.

"We'll learn more going forward," Budenholzer said. "So, I couldn't say tonight."

Budenholzer paid credit to his players to earning the Eastern Conference's top seed with an NBA-best record of 58-22.

"It's a credit to the players," Budenholzer said. "The players have really stepped up.

"They've embraced the challenge night-in and night-out in this league is hard. There is great opposition. I think we want to be our best night-in night-out.

"To have the best record is something that matters. It is important. Now we get to take a breath, I have no idea what we'll do Friday and Sunday. We'll take a breath. The guys have earned it."

The Bucks take on the Memphis Grizzlies and the Toronto Raptors in their final two regular season games on Friday and Sunday.

Kyrie Irving led the Dallas Mavericks' second-half rally from a 13 point third-quarter deficit to boost their play-in hopes with a 123-119 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.

Irving scored 25 of his 31 points in the second half as the Mavs claimed an important win to improve to 38-42, having trailed 71-60 at half-time at American Airlines Center.

The win sees the Mavs draw level with the 10th-placed Oklahoma City Thunder in the fourth and final play-in tournament spot in the West with two games to play. OKC have the tiebreaker edge.

Dallas play the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs in their final two games, while the Thunder take on the Utah Jazz and the Memphis Grizzlies.

Mavs point guard Irving shot 12-of-23 from the field with six-of-10 from beyond the arc along with four rebounds, eight assists and two steals.

Luka Doncic was outstanding on Dallas' backcourt too, with 29 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, while Tim Hardaway Jr scored 24 points including five triples.

Irving led Dallas' third-quarter 12-0 run, flipping the game on its head, ending their own three-game losing skid.

De'Aaron Fox scored 28 points with eight assists for the Kings, with Domantas Sabonis recording a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. All five Kings starter scored double-digit points.

Sacramento also had a season-high 22 offensive rebounds, recording 30-14 second chance points.

Clippers claim crunch win over Lakers

The Los Angeles Clippers claimed a critical 125-118 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in the race to avoid the play-in tournament, while extending their recent winning run in the Battle of LA to 11-0.

Norman Powell scored a team-high 27 points off the bench, while Kawhi Leonard added 25 points and seven rebounds. The Lakers, playing the second game of a back-to-back, had LeBron James score 33 points with eight rebounds and seven assists.

The Clippers snapped their two-game losing run and ended the Lakers' four-game winning streak, improving to a 42-38 record to sit fifth ahead of the Golden State Warriors (42-38).

The Lakers are 41-39 in seventh alongside the New Orleans Pelicans (41-39), who won 138-131 over the Memphis Grizzlies despite Jaren Jackson Jr's 40 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.

Bucks and Celtics clinch No.1 and No.2 seeds

The Milwaukee Bucks were without Giannis Antetokounmpo and lost Khris Middleton midgame both due to knee soreness but triumphed 105-92 over the Chicago Bulls to secure the East's number one seed.

The Bucks flexed their muscle without the star duo with Bobby Portis scoring 27 points with 13 rebounds, Brook Lopez adding 26 points and seven rebounds and Jrue Holiday contributing 20 points with eight rebounds and 15 assists.

Milwaukee have locked in top spot with a 58-22 record, while the Boston Celtics won 97-93 over the Toronto Raptors to confirm the East's number two seed with a 55-25 record.

Malcolm Brogdon came off the bench to score 29 points from 35 minutes, while Jaylen Brown managed 25 points and 11 rebounds with Jayson Tatum out with a bruised left hip.

The NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks produced a statement win ahead of the playoffs led by Giannis Antetokounmpo as they defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 117-104 on Sunday.

Antetokounmpo scored 33 points with 14 rebounds, six assists and three blocks, bringing up his 31st 30-point double-double this season, as they improved to 56-22 at Fiserv Forum.

The win moves Milwaukee closer to clinching the Eastern Conference, with the Boston Celtics (54-24) in the second spot ahead of the 76ers (51-27) in third with four games to play.

Boston, who routed the Bucks 140-99 three nights ago, have the head-to-head tiebreaker on Milwaukee.

The Bucks shot at 57.5 per cent from the field, led by Antetokounmpo's 13-of-17 shooting, while Khris Middleton started strong for 19 points. Brook Lopez, Jrue Holiday and Bobby Portis contributed 21, 18 and 18 points respectively.

Middleton's hot start fuelled the Bucks' 41-26 first-quarter lead and they never looked back, with the 76ers closing to within four points in the third period, before the Bucks pulled away again as Antetokounmpo scored the final seven points of that quarter.

MVP candidate Joel Embiid scored 28 points on 11-of-25 shooting from the field with nine rebounds and five assists.

Tyrese Maxey added a team-high 29 points with six-of-seven from beyond the arc. James Harden was contained to 11 points with six assists.

Thompson spurns game-winning attempt

Klay Thompson missed two game-winning three-point attempts in the final five seconds as the fast-finishing Golden State Warriors lost 112-110 to the Denver Nuggets without Nikola Jokic.

The Warriors had rallied from nine points down in the final two minutes to earn Thompson a three-point shot for victory from Stephen Curry's pass, but his initial attempt rimmed out, before a follow-up was blocked by Aaron Gordon.

Michael Porter Jr (29 points and 11 rebounds) and Jamal Murray (26 points and eight assists) impressed in Jokic's absence.

Thompson and Curry finished with 25 and 21 points each, with the former making five-of-16 from three-point range as Golden State shot nine-of-42 from beyond the arc as a team. Golden State fall to sixth with a 41-38 record with the Los Angeles Lakers right behind them.

LeBron matches Kidd for triple-doubles

Anthony Davis scored 40 points and LeBron James recorded a triple-double as the Lakers claimed their third straight win to boost their playoff hopes, downing the Houston Rockets 134-109.

James finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists to draw level wit Jason Kidd in fourth overall (107) for most triple-doubles in NBA history. Russell Westbrook (198) has the most, ahead of Oscar Robertson (181) and Magic Johnson (138).

Davis scored 27 of his 40 points in the first half, with the Lakers improving their record to 40-38 to sit seventh in the West with four games to go. The fifth-placed Los Angeles Clippers (41-38) lost to the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday, with the two LA sides to meet on Wednesday.

Nikola Jokic recorded his 28th triple-double of the season as the Western Conference-leading Denver Nuggets rediscovered some form with a 108-102 road victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday.

The Nuggets had lost five of their past six games, but improved to 48-24 with the triumph, maintaining a sizeable buffer at the top of the West from the second-placed Sacramento Kings (43-27).

Serbian center Jokic starred with 22 points on nine-of-12 shooting with 17 rebounds and 10 assists, while Michael Porter scored a team-high 28 points with five-of-nine three-point attempts.

Jamal Murray added 25 points, nailing all four of his attempts from beyond the arc, and he posted 20 of his haul in the opening quarter as Denver got a fast start to lead 33-21 at the first break.

The Nuggets were coasting to victory with a 91-71 lead at three-quarter time before the Nets rallied in the fourth, with Porter settling the game with one of his five triples.

The defeat dents Brooklyn's aspirations to claim a top-six seed in the Eastern Conference, falling to 39-32, marginally ahead of the seventh-placed Miami Heat (39-34).

Mikal Bridges top scored for the home side with 23 points on eight-of-18 shooting from the field, while Nic Claxton chipped in 19 points and eight rebounds.

Giannis records triple-double in Bucks win

The Milwaukee Bucks stormed past the Toronto Raptors 118-111 on a 29-16 fourth-quarter charge as Giannis Antetokounmpo brought up his 33d career triple-double.

Antetokounmpo finished with 22 points on 100 per cent shooting from the field with 13 rebounds and 10 assists, while Brook Lopez added a team-high 26 points with Khris Middleton scoring 20.

Lopez scored 17 of his 26 points in the final period, including the first eight of the quarter, with the Bucks going on a game-changing 15-2 run. The NBA-best Bucks are now 51-20.

SGA leads OKC past Suns

Shai Gilgeous-Alezander scored 40 points, came up clutch down the stretch and garnered M-V-P chants as the Oklahoma City Thunder boosted their play-in hopes with a 124-120 win over the Phoenix Suns.

Gilgeous-Thunder hit two free throws with 10 seconds left to hold off the Suns, who had Devin Booker score 46 points, including 30 in the second half, having led 69-57 at half-time. Chris Paul scored 14 points with 13 assists.

OKC (35-36) have four wins from their past five games to stay in the play-in hunt, thanks in large part to Gilgeous-Alexander's perfect 11-of-11 free throws in the second half, while Luguentz Dort added 20 points.

Mike Budenholzer hailed a "really special" game from Khris Middleton and described a scuffle that marred the closing moments as "unfortunate" as the Milwaukee Bucks won 133-124 against the Sacramento Kings.

Three-time All-Star Middleton's 31 points were a season-high, shooting nine-of-15 from the field and adding nine assists. He was the perfect sidekick for Giannis Antetokounmpo, who ended up scoring 46 points on 19-of-28 shooting, with 12 rebounds and four assists.

It was Antetokounmpo's sixth game this season with at least 45 points, while no other player has more than Luka Doncic and Joel Embiid's four.

Sacramento's Domantas Sabonis had 23 points, 17 rebounds and 15 assists, completing his 10th triple-double of the season.

The game's final stages saw tensions boil over as Sacramento's Trey Lyles and Milwaukee's Brook Lopez were ejected after an ugly melee.

That set-to broke out with 15.4 seconds remaining, sparked by a shove on Antetokounmpo by Lyles, with Lopez stepping in and squaring up to the Kings man, leading to a mass grappling match at courtside.

Budenholzer said that moment was "just unfortunate" as he preferred to look at the positives from a fine road win.

"I think it was a great game, a lot of good things happened," Budenholzer said. "I was so impressed by Sacramento and the way they played, and it was good for our guys to fight back in the second half. I'm really not going to say anything about what did or didn't happen. To me, it was unfortunate."

At one point in the game, Lopez needed patching up as blood flowed from a wound on his face. He and the Bucks came back strongly after trailing 49-33 to get the win, improving their NBA-leading record to 49-19 for the season.

While Antetokounmpo was excellent on his return from a three-game hand injury lay-off, Budenholzer saved his highest praise for Middleton.

"Khris was really special," the Bucks coach said. "He had a stretch in the third quarter, he had a stretch in the fourth quarter. Down the stretch the ball was in his hands; the execution, the decision-making, the shot-making was high level, and it's good to see. We've just got to continue to grow, the execution down the stretch was good.

"I think the first half was not our best and down the stretch with the ball in his hands, we do that a lot, and it's like falling into a good old habit. And he and Jrue [Holiday] and Giannis were good. Everybody played together and executed and Khris sometimes is that guy that's at the point of it."

Lopez and Sabonis fought a running battle that Budenholzer likened to a prize fight.

"We were just talking in the locker room. It was like a 15-round heavyweight boxing match," the coach said in his post-game press conference.

"Sabonis was incredibly impressive and I feel the same way about Brook. They're just two great players going at each other. His best stuff against Brook's best stuff. The whole game was a match-up to watch, Brook and Sabonis going against each other, and I think everybody got their money's worth.

Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer feels it was the right time to increase Khris Middleton's playing time as he scored a joint season-high 24 points in their 134-123 win over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday.

Middleton retuned to the starting line-up for the first time since December 15, having 11 assists to go with his 24 points on five-of-nine shooting from the field with 13-of-14 from the free-throw line.

The Bucks wing played a joint season-high 31 minutes, marking the first time he has exceeded 30 minutes on court since December, having had an injury-interrupted season.

Middleton missed the first 20 games of the season with a wrist injury, before being sidelined with a knee problem in December and January. His increase in minutes came after putting together a run of games and coincided with Jrue Holiday (sore neck) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (non-COVID-19 illness) being out.

"It felt like it was the right time for [Middleton] to get up to the 30-minute plateau, with Jrue and Giannis not playing," Budenholzer told reporters.

"Just a lot of things. Eleven assists, being a playmaker and doing a little bit of everything, he set a good tone for us early.

"We were fortunate to have him come off the bench for us for a good long stretch, and he’s going to continue to do those things where he's always been, in our starting lineup."

Middleton is averaging 21.8 minutes per game this season, with 13.2 points well down on his 20.4 average in the Bucks' title-winning 2020-21 season where he also averaged 6.0 rebounds and 5.4 assists.

The Bucks showcased their depth of offensive options despite missing their All-Star duo, as Brook Lopez top-scored with 26 points, while Jevon Carter added 24 and Jae Crowder contributed 15 off the bench.

Crowder only joined the Bucks last month from the Phoenix Suns, having agreed to sit out the 2022-23 season until a trade was found. Tuesday's game was his seventh game for Milwaukee, recording his best yet points return.

"It was good for him," Budenholzer said. "That's a silver lining to a couple of guys not playing, he got to play a lot of minutes, he got a good rhythm, he made some shots, he got to the free-throw line.

"Defensively he's locked in. He's doing everything we ask. He's got an edge on the defensive end."

The Bucks lead the NBA with a 47-18 record, having won 18 of their past 19 games.

Khris Middleton is unconcerned by his bench role after his best game of 2023 during the Milwaukee Bucks' win over the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday.

The small forward posted 18 points, three rebounds and three assists to help his side pull away in the third quarter en route to a 124-115 victory.

Having struggled with soreness in his right knee that led him to missing 18 games, the three-time All-Star has worked his way back in recent weeks.

After delivering the best performance of his latest comeback spell, Middleton stressed he remains untroubled by performing a role that requires him to come off the sidelines.

"I started my career coming off the bench, so it doesn't really bother me at all," he said. "I've been on the bench before, not playing games.

"Sometimes, [I am] coming in [the] first quarter, [the] second quarter or not until the second half. I just know I have to stay ready and have to be loose.

"Right now, I'm trying to be as aggressive as I can. I know it sounds simple, but that's just the mindset I'm trying to come up with, especially with my limited minutes.

"Hopefully as my minutes keep going [up], I keep the same mindset, because it's been working."

Middleton featured for 20 minutes as team-mate Giannis Antetokounmpo guided the Bucks to victory with 34 points and 18 rebounds.

They next play the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday and then the Miami Heat two days later in a double home stand.

The Splash Brothers found their range as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 64 points including 10 three-pointers in the Golden State Warriors' 129-117 win over the Toronto Raptors on Friday.

Curry top scored with 35 points on 13-of-21 shooting from the field, making four-of-eight from beyond the arc, with seven rebounds, 11 assists and two steals at Chase Center.

Thompson finished with 29 points but nailed six-of-14 three-point attempts, along with eight rebounds.

Donte DiVincenzo made another strong impression off the bench, playing 33 minutes for 12 points with two-of-five three-pointers and 11 assists.

As a team, Golden State shot at 55.6 per cent from the field (50-of-90), while they had 40 assists compared to Toronto's 24.

The win improves the Warriors' home record to 19-6, while they nudge over .500 with a 25-24 overall record to move up seventh in the Western Conference.

Raptors guard Fred VanVleet scored a team-high 28 points on five-of-10 three-point shooting with 10 assists, while Scottie Barnes chipped in with 24 points.

Giannis dominates as Middleton comeback continues

Giannis Antetokounmpo held off another Indiana Pacers' late charge as the Milwaukee Bucks won 141-131 fuelled by the Greek's 41 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.

Antetokounmpo made five-of-eight free-throws in the final four minutes as the Bucks held on. Jrue Holiday contributed 20 points with nine rebounds and nine assists.

Khris Middleton continued his gradual return to full fitness, scoring 17 points in 15 minutes off the bench, while Myles Turner top scored for Indiana with 24 points.

SGA racks them up again for OKC

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander recorded his fourth straight 30-point game as the Oklahoma City Thunder down the Cleveland Cavaliers 112-100 after scores were locked at three-quarter time.

Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 35 points, with eight assists and five rebounds for OKC, who won for the sixth time in eight games to improve to 24-25.

The Cavs were without Donovan Mitchell due to a groin injury, with Darius Garland starring for them with 31 points and 13 assists.

Meanwhile, Ja Morant recorded his fourth triple-double of the season with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in the Memphis Grizzlies' 111-100 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Giannis Antetokounmpo declared "the band is back together" after he made an impressive return in the Milwaukee Bucks' 150-130 victory over the Detroit Pistons.

Antetokounmpo had missed five games due to a sore left knee but scored 20 of his 29 points in the first quarter of his comeback at Little Caesars Arena on Monday.

Khris Middleton was also back in the line-up for the first time since last month following a knee injury of his own as the third-placed Bucks moved to 30-17 in the Eastern Conference.

Greek superstar Antetokounmpo said: "The band is back together" and added: "'I was trying to be aggressive and some shots fell."

Milwaukee scored an incredible 49 points in the first quarter, only two short of the NBA record, with Antetokounmpo taking centre stage.

Bucks head coach Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer was impressed with the way Antetokounmpo was able to hit the ground running.

"It was impressive to come out and play the way he did," Budenholzer said. "He did a little bit of everything, just like the whole group that in that [first] quarter."

Pistons head coach Dwane Casey feared the Bucks could come out firing.

"The first quarter is what I was afraid would happen," Casey said. "A championship-calibre team came in and put their stamp on the game at the beginning.

"We didn't respond, and that's how you give up a 49-point first quarter. I liked our fight after that, but this is a 48-minute game."

Khris Middleton exited the Milwaukee Bucks' shock 97-92 loss to the Houston Rockets with a left ankle sprain on Sunday.

The 31-year-old All-Star left the game after playing only six minutes where he did not register anything on his statistics line and missed two three-point attempts.

Middleton appeared to roll his ankle during a defensive possession in the first quarter, which left him hobbling before checking out shortly after. He attempted to return in the second quarter but only lasted 90 seconds, before being ruled out.

Jalen Green starred with 30 points for the Rockets, who claimed only their eighth win of the season. Bucks power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was kept to 16 points, although he brought up his 15,000th career point.

The Milwaukee small forward was playing only his fifth game of the season for the 2021 NBA champions, having been beset by injuries to begin the 2022-23 campaign.

Middleton suffered a playoff-ending Grade 2 MCL sprain against the Chicago Bulls last season, before undergoing offseason wrist surgery, forcing him to miss the Bucks' opening 20 games.

The 2021 NBA champion was averaging 13.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 5.8 assists in his four games prior to Sunday's injury.

Khris Middleton was happy to get minutes under his belt despite defeat after he played his first game since April for the Milwaukee Bucks against the Los Angeles Lakers.

A rampant pair of performances from Anthony Davis and LeBron James – who scored 44 points and passed Magic Johnson on the all-time NBA assists list respectively – saw the visitors downed 133-129.

But even with the loss, it marked a major landmark for the Bucks as they welcomed back forward Middleton to their line-up, having seen him sidelined since April's playoffs.

With 17 points and seven assists, the 31-year-old kept himself busy throughout, and expressed his delight at getting back on the floor with the rest of his team-mates.

"It felt really good to be back out there with the guys competing, playing," he said. "[I've got] a range of emotions.

"[I've] been through a lot these last couple months - happy, sad, anxious, nervous. To finally get out there and play and get a lot of those nerves past me, it felt pretty good."

The Bucks head to the Charlotte Hornets as part of a back-to-back on Saturday, but head coach Mike Budenholzer suggested Middleton will not be played again so quickly in succession.

"To have Khris back is huge for us," he added. "[It is] pretty impressive how seamlessly he got back into the game, [at] both ends of the court.

"We talk a lot about how Khris, he's just a basketball player. He's a smart player [who] just understands the game. [He is] not overly reliant on athleticism or things like that.

"For him to come back and be able to catch a good rhythm – he's got to keep working but a big step for us tonight to get Khris Middleton back."

Page 1 of 5
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.