MILWAUKEE – Without Khris Middleton’s productive return, the Milwaukee Bucks might not have outlasted the Atlanta Hawks.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 30 points and 10 rebounds, Middleton scored 16 points in his return from injury and the Bucks beat the Atlanta Hawks 111-102 on Wednesday for their ninth consecutive victory.
Middleton, who had been out since Nov. 10 with a thigh contusion, didn’t start and played 20 minutes. He helped the Bucks rally after they trailed through three quarters.
“I think guys were trying to pull it together and trying to fight through a little bit of fatigue or (being) banged up,” the All-Star forward said. “We’re still figuring out ways to win ballgames, which is the most important thing.”
Antetokounmpo followed his season-high 50 points on Monday by notching his 18th consecutive double-double. The reigning MVP’s streak of double-doubles is the longest to begin a season since Bill Walton opened with 34 straight in 1976-77.
Antetokounmpo was 5-for-13 from the free-throw line for the Eastern Conference leaders, on their longest winning streak since winning 10 straight in 1985-86.
Ex-Bucks forward Jabari Parker scored a season-high 33 points for the Hawks and added 14 rebounds, also a season high. Trae Young scored 29 points as Atlanta (4-14) dropped its eighth straight.
Celtics 121, Nets 110
In Boston, Kemba Walker returned from a neck injury to score a season-high 39 points — to the delight of the crowd that came to taunt the person he replaced — and the Celtics beat Brooklyn on a night the fans seemed more interested in taunting former Boston guard Kyrie Irving.
Missing one game after leaving the court on a stretcher wearing a neck brace following a head-to-torso collision with Semi Ojeleye, Walker had 13 points in the third quarter, when Boston scored nine straight to turn a one-point deficit into a 91-83 lead.
Lakers 114, Pelicans 110
In New Orleans, Anthony Davis capped a 41-point performance in his return to New Orleans by intercepting Jrue Holiday’s inbound pass with 5 seconds left and making a pair of game-sealing free throws, and Los Angeles extended its winning streak to nine games with a victory over the Pelicans.
A packed-in and energetic crowd booed Davis during introductions and virtually every time he handled the ball, only to see him and new teammate LeBron James take over the fourth quarter.
James had 29 points and 11 assists, scoring 15 points in the final period.
Wizards 140, Suns 132
In Phoenix, Bradley Beal scored 35 points, Thomas Bryant added 23 and Washington held on to beat the Suns.
The Wizards bounced back from a 13-point loss at Denver a night earlier by shooting 57 percent from the field and making 19 of 35 3-pointers.
Washington rookie Rui Hachimura had six points, six rebounds and a pair of blocks.
76ers 97, Kings 91
In Philadelphia, Joel Embiid rebounded from the worst game of his career with 33 points and 16 rebounds to lead the hosts past Sacramento.
Embiid was scoreless Monday night in a 101-96 loss at Toronto.
In Other Games
Raptors 126, Knicks 98
Rockets 117, Heat 108
Clippers 121, Grizzlies 119
Pacers 121, Jazz 102
Hornets 102, Pistons 101
Timberwolves 113, Spurs 101
Magic 116, Cavaliers 104
Trail Blazers 136, Thunder 119
Warriors 104, Bulls 90