MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Bucks played without Giannis Antetokounmpo and won again.
Jrue Holiday led the way.
Holiday had 28 points and 14 assists to help the Bucks get past the Indiana Pacers 140-113 for the seventh straight time on Monday night.
Milwaukee played without an antetokoumpo due to a sprained left knee, but the bucks still shot 61.5% (24 of 39) out of the 3-point range and 56.4% overall.
“If someone like our best player doesn’t play tonight, we’ll lock ourselves in,” said Holiday. “Everyone has to do a little more. It’s proof of the team we have. ”
Coach Mike Budenholzer was unsure of Antetokounmpo’s status for Wednesday’s game against Boston. Budenholzer said he thinks the reigning two-time NBA MVP was injured in a 120-113 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.
“We hope it will be shorter rather than longer, but we’ll see how those first 48 to 72 hours go and we’ll know more then,” said Budenholzer before the game on Monday.
With Antetokounmpo off the line-up, Pat Connaughton made his first start to the season, collecting 20 points and nine rebounds while shooting 6 of 7 from 3-point range. Khris Middleton had 25 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
The bucks also played without reserve striker PJ Tucker due to a sprained left ankle. Tucker played 12 minutes and was goalless in his second game on Monday since winning a deal with Houston last week.
“We’ll see how he’s doing overnight and how he feels and looks tomorrow,” said Budenholzer.
Indiana wasn’t nearly at full strength either.
The Pacers missed Malcolm Brogdon (sore lower back) and Myles Turner (sprained left ankle) and they were left without TJ Warren, who has not played since December 29 because of a stress fracture in his left foot.
“I don’t think it’s serious,” said Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren of Brogdon and Turner’s injuries. “I would expect you again very soon.”
Even without Antetokounmpo, the bucks did short work with the Pacers. Urlaub posted season highs on both points and assists.
Indiana’s Doug McDermott opened the game with a 3-pointer, but the bucks scored the next 19 points and stayed in command the rest of the way.
“I just thought that our general willingness and aggressiveness to start the game wasn’t there tonight for various reasons,” said Bjorkgren.
The Bucks went out of the 3-point range 9/10 in the first 9½ minutes and led by 48-26 at the end of the first quarter. That 48-point breakout was the fifth highest score the bucks have ever recorded in a single quarter.
“It’s contagious,” said Holiday. “The ball has energy. As you increase the pace and see the ball go through the hoop, the hoop grows and gets bigger. From then on I feel like the pressure is falling off your shoulders, the weight is falling and you just let it go and let it shoot. ”
Indiana received 22 points from Domantas Sabonis, 21 from Jeremy Lamb, 20 from McDermott, and 19 from Caris LeVert.
Pacers: While Jrue Holiday had arguably his best game of the season, his brothers on Indiana’s squad struggled. Justin Holiday scored consecutive 3-point hits in overtime in a 109-106 win in Miami on Sunday in overtime but only scored three points and shot 1 out of 10 on Monday (all 3-point attempts). Aaron Holiday was goalless in 17 minutes, shooting 0 for 7.
Dollar: Connaughton started for the 13th time in 322 regular season games. … The bucks led 83-60 and reached their highest score in the first half of the season. … The Bucks are 9-0 against opponents of the Central Division.
Pacers: Detroit hosted Wednesday for only their third home competition in their last 13 games.
Dollar: hosted Boston on Wednesday in the first of two consecutive games with the Celtics. The bucks haven’t faced the Celtics since losing 122-121 at the Boston opener.