NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 24 points and the Milwaukee Bucks used a 45-point third quarter to pull away from the New Orleans Pelicans for a 130-113 victory on Tuesday night.
Khris Middleton had 23 points, Malcolm Brogdon added 18, and Eric Bledsoe and former Pelicans forward Nikola Mirotic each scored 14 for the Bucks. Brook Lopez finished with 13.
Elfrid Payton had his second consecutive triple-double for the Pelicans, finishing with 14 points, a career-high 15 rebounds and 11 assists. He is the first New Orleans player to have a triple-double in consecutive games since Chris Paul in 2008.
Julius Randle scored 23 points and Anthony Davis had 21 points and 12 rebounds.
The Bucks led by eight at halftime and took control in the third quarter. Brogdon scored nine points as Milwaukee began the period on a 28-14 run to take an 84-62 lead midway through the quarter.
Davis scored 17 points in the quarter to help New Orleans cut it to 101-89 going to the fourth, but he did not play afterward. The Pelicans have been holding him from the fourth quarter as part of a minutes restriction imposed in the wake of the All-Star forward’s trade demand in late January.
New Orleans closed within seven points early in the fourth quarter, but Milwaukee scored the next eight points for a 113-98 lead with 7:46 remaining.
The score was tied at 23 at the end of the first quarter and it was tied four more times before Milwaukee went on a 10-2 run and took a 56-48 halftime lead.
New Orleans was just 3 of 27 on 3-pointers in the first half. The Bucks were better, but not by much, making 4 of 18.
Bucks: Milwaukee swept the two meetings this season to win the season series for the first time in the 17 seasons since the Pelicans franchise relocated to New Orleans from Charlotte, North Carolina. The Bucks improved to 3-15 against the Pelicans on the road. Milwaukee increased its lead over Toronto to three games for the best record in the NBA.
Pelicans: G Jrue Holiday (abdominal strain) and F E’Twaun Moore (quad contusion) missed their third consecutive games. Both are scheduled to be evaluated in about a week. F/C Jason Smith played for the first time since being acquired in a trade with Milwaukee on Feb. 7.
Bucks: Mirotic faced the Pelicans for the first time since New Orleans traded him to Milwaukee in February. Mirotic was a significant contributor to the Pelicans’ push into the second round of the playoffs after he was acquired at midseason in a trade with Chicago last season. But he is playing on an expiring contract and New Orleans traded him for Stanley Johnson, Smith and four second-round draft picks. Before the game, Mirotic tweeted, “Special game for me tonight, Pelicans fans were so great to me and my family!!!”
Bucks: Milwaukee visits Miami on Friday.
Pelicans: New Orleans hosts Portland on Friday.