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Middleton scores 30, leads Bucks past Lakers

Field Level Media Khris Middleton matched his season high with 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and the Milwaukee Bucks padded their lead atop the Eastern Conference with a 115-101 win against the visiting Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday. Playing...

Khris Middleton
Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton (22) passes the ball during the third quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday, March 19, at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. (Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)

Field Level Media

 

Khris Middleton matched his season high with 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and the Milwaukee Bucks padded their lead atop the Eastern Conference with a 115-101 win against the visiting Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.

Playing without leading scorer Giannis Antetokounmpo (ankle) and fellow starter Malcolm Brogdon (foot), the Bucks extended their lead over the second-place Toronto Raptors to three games with 11 left for both teams.

Milwaukee also won its 53rd game of the season, the first time it reached the mark since 1985-86.

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Brook Lopez matched his season high with 28 points, Nikola Mirotic scored 23 while starting in place of Brogdon for a second straight game and Eric Bledsoe finished with 14 points and seven assists for the Bucks.

The Lakers, who played without leading scorer LeBron James (groin), lost their fourth straight game and ninth in the past 10.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope shot 8-for-14 from 3-point range and scored a season-high 35 points off the bench for the Lakers. Kyle Kuzma added 17 points, and Rajon Rondo and Reggie Bullock had 13 points apiece.

The Bucks took a 99-76 lead with 1:17 left in the third quarter and appeared headed for an easy win, but the Lakers came back with a 16-0 run that bridged the third and fourth quarters to get within seven points.

Middleton checked back in and made a short jumper to end the run, but Caldwell-Pope pulled the Lakers within five with his eighth 3-pointer with 6:52 remaining. That's as close as Los Angeles would get, however.

The Bucks led by as many as 13 in the first half before the Lakers cut the deficit to 61-58 with help from 21 second-quarter points from Caldwell-Pope. His 23 first-half points were the most in any half in his six-year NBA career.

The Bucks started the second half with a 6-0 run on two 3-pointers by Lopez. An 8-0 run put Milwaukee back up by double digits before they extended the lead to as many as 23.

The Bucks swept the two-game series against the Lakers in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1980-81 and 1981-82.

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