NBA roundup: Giannis leads Bucks over Thunder, 76ers beat Clippers

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NBA roundup: Giannis leads Bucks over Thunder, 76ers beat Clippers
Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30 points and grabbed a season-high 19 rebounds to lead the Bucks over the Oklahoma City Thunder
Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30 points and grabbed a season-high 19 rebounds to lead the Bucks over the Oklahoma City Thunder
AFP
Giannis Antetokounmpo sparked the Milwaukee Bucks over Oklahoma City in a Sunday showdown of NBA contenders while James Harden lost his first meeting with Philadelphia since the 76ers traded him.

Antetokounmpo scored 30 points and grabbed a season-high 19 rebounds to lead Milwaukee over visiting Oklahoma 118-93.

Khris Middleton added his second career triple-double - and first since 2018 - with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for the Bucks, whose defensive effort kept the Thunder to a season-low point production on 37.1 per cent shooting.

"It was cool," Middleton said of his rare feat. "My teammates were knocking down a lot of shots for me. It was a good win against a good team. But we've got to keep building on this for the rest of the season."

Oklahoma City fell to 49-21, tumbling a half-game behind Denver for the Western Conference lead and a half-game ahead of third-place Minnesota.

Milwaukee improved to 46-25, second in the Eastern Conference by three games over Cleveland.

Oklahoma City's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored only 12 points, his second-worst game total of the season. It snapped a 29-game run of at least 20 points a game for the NBA's number two overall scorer, who is just ahead of Antetokounmpo.

"They were firing on all cylinders," Gilgeous-Alexander said. "They have guys who have won a lot in this league. We had a chance to see where we stack up against that. Didn't go our way, how we wanted to perform, but a lot of lessons learned."

The Bucks outscored the Thunder 34-17 in the third quarter to pull away for good and opened the fourth on a 10-3 run to seal Oklahoma City's fate.

"It was our most connected game," Bucks coach Doc Rivers said. "We were so physical. You could see it. Offensively we took what was there instead of forcing it."

Harden, who forced a trade from Philadelphia to the Los Angeles Clippers last November, took a loss in the first meeting between the NBA clubs since the deal.

Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey each scored 24 points to lead the 76ers' 121-107 road victory.

The Sixers, still without injured 2023 NBA Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid, pulled ahead early and stopped a late fightback for the victory.

Harden had 12 points, going 0-of-6 from 3-point range, but the 34-year-old guard - a former MVP and three-time NBA scoring champion - added a game-high 14 assists.

Harden had been unhappy about not being traded in the off-season and was moved as part of a seven-player deal a few days after the campaign began.

Kawhi Leonard and reserve Norman Powell each scored 20 points to lead the Clippers.

The 76ers improved to 39-32, one game behind Indiana for the sixth and last East playoff position outside the play-in games.

The Clippers slid to 44-26, only a half-game ahead of New Orleans for fourth in the West.

New Orleans had 36 points from Zion Williamson, matching his season high, and 23 from C.J. McCollum in a 114-101 victory at Detroit, sending the league-worst Pistons (12-59) to a sixth consecutive defeat.

Williamson made 13-of-14 shots from the floor and 10-of-14 from the free throw line while adding seven rebounds and six assists to dominate.

T-Wolves edge Warriors

At Minnesota, Anthony Edwards scored 23 points, including three free throws in the final 12 seconds, to seal the Timberwolves' 114-110 triumph over visiting Golden State.

The T-Wolves swept the Warriors for the first season since 1997-98.

Stephen Curry led Golden State with 31 points.

Anthony Davis scored 36 points and grabbed 16 rebounds while LeBron James added 26 points and 10 assists to spark the Los Angeles Lakers over visiting Indiana 150-145.

Spencer Dinwiddie added 26 points and Austin Reaves had 25 for the Lakers in their top-scoring effort of the season while Pascal Siakam led the Pacers with 36 points.

At Miami, Bam Adebayo had 15 points and 16 rebounds while Jimmy Butler added 15 points and reserve Haywood Highsmith contributed 18 points as the Heat routed visiting Cleveland 121-84.

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