MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 32 points and 13 rebounds and the Milwaukee Bucks surged to a 24-point lead in the second quarter in a 133-86 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.
The 47-point loss was the Thunder’s worst of the season.
Chris Paul scored 18 points for Oklahoma City.
The Bucks had won four in a row and the Thunder had won five straight.
The Bucks built their second-quarter lead behind 14 second-quarter points from Antetokounmpo, seven from Donte Divincenzo, who started in place of Middleton, and back-to-back 3-pointers from Wesley Matthews.
A key moment occurred late in the second period.
With Milwaukee leading, 54-43, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer got a technical foul after approaching a referee during a timeout with 3:43 left in the quarter. That was moments after Eric Bledsoe was called for a charging foul that irked Budenholzer. After that, the Bucks went on a 17-4 run and led 71-47 at halftime.
Milwaukee outrebounded Oklahoma City, 67-36.
The Bucks made a season-high 21 3-pointers. The Thunder were 6 for 35 on 3-pointers.
Thunder: Oklahoma City is one of the top NBA teams statistically in preventing fast-break points partly because it commits relatively few turnovers on offense, coach Billy Donovan said. »If you don’t turn the ball over a lot, it gives you a better chance to get the floor balance,» he said.
Bucks: Middleton’s absence was unexpected. »I think just kind of one of those strange things where, just today he came in, neck was sore,» Budenholzer said a couple of hours before tip-off. »We’ll see how it goes in the next day or so.» Middleton had scored 20 or more points in 11 of his last 12 games. … Former Bucks great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was in attendance, getting a standing ovation when he was introduced midway through the first quarter. … The Bucks are on pace to become the third team in league history to win at least 70 games.
Thunder: Host Oklahoma City on Tuesday night.
Bucks: At Charlotte on Sunday.