MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 43 points and the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Detroit Pistons 125-115 on Monday night to move above the .500 mark for the first time this season.
The reigning two-time MVP scored 30 points by halftime, shot 17 of 24 from the floor overall and finished with nine rebounds.
The Bucks (4-3) have won their last eight regular-season meetings with the Pistons, which represents the longest streak for either team in the history of the series.
Detroit (1-6) played without two of its top three scorers in Blake Griffin and Josh Jackson.
The Pistons opted to rest Griffin and protect his surgically repaired left knee after he played 29 minutes a night earlier in a 122-120 loss to Boston. Jackson has a sprained right ankle.
Jerami Grant and Derrick Rose led the Pistons with 24 points each. Sekou Doumbouya, Wayne Ellington and Svi Mykhailiuk added 13 apiece.
Khris Middleton scored 19 points, Jrue Holiday had 15 and D.J. Augustin 11 for the Bucks. Bryn Forbes and Bobby Portis added 10 each.
Milwaukee went ahead for good midway through the first quarter and led by as much as 18, though Detroit cut the margin to single digits in the fourth quarter.
The Bucks led 118-110 with just over two minutes left when Doumbouya drove into the lane and had his shot blocked by Antetokounmpo. The star forward followed that up with a putback on the other end to give Milwaukee a 10-point edge with 1:39 remaining.
Detroit never threatened again.
Pistons: Detroit coach Dwane Casey is optimistic Jackson will be able to return in time for Wednesday’s game at Milwaukee. “If it was up to him, he’d probably be ready to go again tonight. But take our time, let it get fully healed and try not to cause any further damage,” Casey said. … Killian Hayes headed to the locker room early in the third quarter after he hurt his right leg making a diving attempt to deflect a pass. Casey said Hayes would get an MRI on Tuesday.
Bucks: Milwaukee didn’t have reserve guards Pat Connaughton or Sam Merrill available. Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said Connaughton strained his left groin in practice and Merrill sprained his left ankle while landing on a stanchion during the team’s victory over Chicago on Friday. Budenholzer didn’t have a timeline for when either player might return.
The teams play in Milwaukee again on Wednesday. This is the Pistons’ second straight back-to-back set, as they split two home games with Boston on Friday and Sunday.