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Middleton scores 34, Bucks hold off Kings minus Giannis

January 23, 2022 GMT
Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton, right, shoots against Sacramento Kings center Richaun Holmes during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Milwaukee. The Bucks won 133-127. (AP Photo/Jon Durr)
Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton, right, shoots against Sacramento Kings center Richaun Holmes during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Milwaukee. The Bucks won 133-127. (AP Photo/Jon Durr)
Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton, right, shoots against Sacramento Kings center Richaun Holmes during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Milwaukee. The Bucks won 133-127. (AP Photo/Jon Durr)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Khris Middleton scored 34 points and Jrue Holiday added 26 to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 133-127 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night, making up for the absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The two-time MVP sat out with right knee soreness one night after scoring 30 points in a defensive struggle against Chicago. The defending NBA champions (30-19) won their third straight game and second in two nights.

Middleton sank a clutch 3-pointer with 1:09 left after the Kings (18-30), who trailed by as many as 15, rallied within three points. After Harrison Barnes converted a layup for the Kings, Holiday threw down a left-handed dunk to give Milwaukee a 126-120 lead with 47.6 seconds remaining.

Donte DiVincenzo added 20 points for the Bucks, who made 21 of 42 3-point attempts one night after shooting 19.4% from behind the arc.

Barnes paced Sacramento with 29 points, and Tyrese Haliburton had 24.

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SUNS 113, PACERS 103

PHOENIX (AP) — Mikal Bridges tied a season high with 23 points, Bismack Biyombo matched his career best with 21 and Phoenix won its sixth straight game by beating Indiana.

Biyombo also grabbed 13 rebounds as the Suns improved their NBA-best record to 36-9, shaking off a tough night for leading scorer Devin Booker. He had just 11 points on 5-of-23 shooting, including 0 for 6 from 3-point range.

Chris Paul added 18 points and 16 assists to help Phoenix equal its best start through 45 games.

The short-handed Pacers were coming off impressive back-to-back wins against the Lakers and Warriors but couldn’t keep the momentum going. Chris Duarte and Lance Stephenson both scored 17 points.

CAVALIERS 94, THUNDER 87

CLEVELAND (AP) — Darius Garland had 23 points and 11 assists, and rookie Evan Mobley added 15 points and a season-high 17 rebounds to lift Cleveland over Oklahoma City.

Jarrett Allen added 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who have won six of seven.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander paced the Thunder across the board with 29 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Kenrich Williams scored 12 points and Luguentz Dort had 10 before being ejected for elbowing Kevin Love in the head.

Cleveland lost forward Lauri Markkanen to a sprained right ankle in the second quarter.

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