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Giannis Antetokounmpo's gaudy triple-double leads Bucks past Blazers, Carmelo Anthony

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 11/22/2019 Ben Steele, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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The Milwaukee Bucks looked happy to be back home.

After a brutal travel schedule to start the season, the Bucks returned to Fiserv Forum on Thursday night and put together a 137-129 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Bucks won at Atlanta on Wednesday, finishing off a stretch of 10 road matchups in the first 14 games of the season. Milwaukee's victory over Portland started a slate of 12 of the next 15 games at Fiserv Forum.

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It looked like the Bucks were going to roll after a scorching hot start. Milwaukee sank its first seven shots, including three 3-pointers, in the first three minutes to take a 17-6 lead and prompt a timeout from Blazers coach Terry Stotts.

BOX SCORE:  BUCKS 137, TRAIL BLAZERS 129

The Bucks (12-3) were sharing the ball, registering six assists on those seven shots with all five starters scoring. Portland, however, bounced back with a 12-2 run that caused Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer to use a timeout of his own.

Milwaukee found the gas pedal again, taking a 37-27 lead at the end of the first quarter and then extending the advantage to 16 points in the second.

The Blazers were playing short-handed, without star guard Damian Lillard (back spasms) and frontcourt players Zach Collins (left shoulder) and Hassan Whiteside (right hip).

The Bucks took advantage of Portland's lack of size by pounding the offensive glass. Milwaukee had 10 offensive rebounds in the first half, including a highlight play when Pat Connaughton skied for a one-handed putback dunk. The Bucks had 16 second-chance points in the first half.

Giannis Antetokounmpo nearly had a triple-double before halftime, notching 11 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe continued his strong play with 14 points in the first two quarters. Connaughton added 11 points off the bench.

"I couldn't get going offensively," Antetokounmpo said. "Shots weren't falling and they were showing a lot of crowds. I tried to find my teammates and they were in the right spots. They were able to knock down shots and to roll hard. I just did half of the work and my teammates did the rest."

a man playing a game of basketball: Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded the first 20-15-15 game in Bucks franchise history. © Jeff Hanisch, USA TODAY Sports Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded the first 20-15-15 game in Bucks franchise history.

Antetokounmpo got his triple-double midway through the third quarter, but the Blazers kept hanging around, getting within 94-88 at the 4:33 mark.

The Bucks responded with an 8-0 run, kick-started by a layup from Connaughton.  Milwaukee headed into the fourth quarter with a 107-98 lead.

When the Blazers were threatening midway through the fourth quarter, Bucks center Brook Lopez had the answers.

Portland's Skal Labissiere hit a midrange jumper to cut the deficit to 114-110, but Lopez sank a deep 3-pointer from the left wing. After C.J. McCollum responded with five straight points, Lopez sank a 3 from the right side for a 120-115 lead.

The Bucks were able to cruise to the victory from there, with Antetokounmpo checking out with 15 seconds remaining.

Antetokounmpo finished with a career-high 15 assists to go along with his 24 points and 19 rebounds. Bledsoe had 30 points and six assists. Connaughton added a season-high 18.

The Blazers had six players score in double figures, led by McCollum's 35 points. In his second game with Portland, Carmelo Anthony chipped in 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists on 6-of-15-shooting.

"He’s getting his sea legs after having that year off," McCollum said about Anthony. "Getting used to that movement, getting used to how the game is flowing."

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Giannis Antetokounmpo's gaudy triple-double leads Bucks past Blazers, Carmelo Anthony

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