MILWAUKEE (AP) – Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 49 points, Khris Middleton had 26 points and 11 rebounds, and theedged Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets 117-114 on Sunday.
Antetokounmpo also had eight rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots. He went 21 for 36 from the field, helpingovercome a terrific performance by Durant.
The(40-24) won for the third time in four games to pull within 2 1/2 games of the Nets (43-22) in the three-way battle for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia is on top at 42-21 heading into its matchup with San Antonio on Sunday night.
hosts Brooklyn again on Tuesday night.
Durant had 42 points and 10 rebounds for the Nets, but he missed a difficult fadeaway 3-pointer at the buzzer. Kyrie Irving scored 20 points, and Landry Shamet finished with 17.
Antetokounmpo finished three points shy of his career high, set against Philadelphia in March 2019.
A slick move by Antetokounmpo gave thea 117-112 lead, and Irving answered with a layup. But Durant and Khris Middleton traded 3-point misses before the final attempt by Durant.
Jrue Holiday had 18 points for, and Bryn Forbes finished with 12.
Antetokounmpo scored the’ first 16 points of the third quarter, and his personal streak stopped when he passed to Forbes for a 3-pointer. He had 18 points in the third, and the game was tied at 90 heading to the fourth.
is “a great rehearsal” for a possible playoff matchup. Nash said he didn’t think the Nets would be keeping any secrets in the two games. “We’re still growing,” Nash said. “We’re still learning. We’re trying to get there, let alone start hiding things.”
: Antetokounmpo was cleared to play and started after spraining his right ankle in the opening minute of the ’ loss at Houston on Thursday. He missed the ’ 108-98 win in Chicago on Friday. “They’ve put him through quite a bit of testing and work,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Giannis is very familiar with his body and these type of injuries. At some point you pass the test, you feel good, you go.” … Donte DiVincenzo returned after missing the Bulls game because of right big toe soreness. … Forward Bobby Portis, who posted double-doubles in the previous two games, was sidelined with a stomach illness.
Theand Nets conclude their two-game series in on Tuesday.
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