TOO STRONG Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo (right) dunks past Golden State Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, in Milwaukee (January 14 in Manila). AP PHOTO
MILWAUKEE: Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30 points and had his third triple-double of the season to help Milwaukee rout the Golden State Warriors 118-99 on Thursday (Friday in Manila) in Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer’s return from the NBA’s Covid-19 protocols.
Antetokounmpo had 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his 28th career triple-double.
Budenholzer missed four games while in the health and safety protocols, with assistant Darvin Ham taking over as acting head coach. The Bucks went 1-3.
Khris Middleton added 23 points, Bobby Portis 20 and Grayson Allen 15.
Milwaukee never trailed and raced to a 77-38 halftime advantage. Antetokounmpo had 23 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in the first half.
The Bucks were just two points shy of their largest halftime lead in franchise history, a record they set this season. Milwaukee led 77-36 at the half in a 123-92 victory over Orlando on November 22.
Andrew Wiggins led the Warriors with 16 points.
Grizzlies 116, Timberwolves 108
In Memphis, Desmond Bane scored 21 points, Jaren Jackson Jr. added 20 and Memphis pulled away from Minnesota in the final minutes for its 11th straight victory.
Ja Morant had 16 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, and John Konchar added 15 points and a career-best 17 rebounds.
Anthony Edwards led the Timberwolves with 30 points. D’Angelo Russell had 29 points and six assists, and Karl-Anthony Towns added 25 points and nine rebounds.
Thunder 130, Nets 109
In New York, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 33 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, Lu Dort scored 27 points and Oklahoma City beat Brooklyn.
Rookie guard Josh Giddey added 19 points for the Thunder, who jumped on a weary Nets team to snap a five-game losing streak with their first victory in 2022. They hadn’t won since beating New York at home on New Year’s Eve.
But with NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant resting, the Thunder led comfortably for most of the last three quarters and improved to 14-27 at the midpoint of their schedule.
James Harden had 26 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for the Nets, who couldn’t muster enough energy after their 138-112 rout of the East-leading Bulls in Chicago on Wednesday (Thursday). They had Kyrie Irving for that game but not Thursday (Friday), as he remains ineligible to play in New York City while unvaccinated against the coronavirus.
Pelicans 113, Clippers 89
In New Orleans, Brandon Ingram scored 24 points to help New Orleans beat Los Angeles.
Jonas Valanciunas added 18 points and 16 rebounds for the Pelicans. They led throughout and by as many as 28 points en route to their third victory in four games.
Terance Mann scored 15 points, and Marcus Morris had 12 for the Clippers.