Jrue Holiday posts career-high 51 points, Bucks defeats Pacers


INDIANAPOLIS — Jrue Holiday posted a career-high 51 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 38 points in a triple-double and the NBA leaders Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Indiana Pacers 149-136 on Wednesday night.

Antetokounmpo added 17 rebounds and 12 assists to help the Bucks improve to 55-21. The two-time NBA MVP was just under a triple-double at halftime with 20 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. He returned after missing a win in Detroit on Monday night with a sore knee.

Holiday had 18 points in the third quarter as the Bucks hit a season-high 46 points to build a 12-point lead. He was 20 of 30 with three 3-pointers off the field and hit 8 of 10 free throws. His previous best was 40 points in an overtime win against Boston on February 14.

Brook Lopez added 21 points for the Bucks.

Rookie Bennedict Mathurin led Indiana — which played without its top three scorers — with 29 points. Aaron Nesmith had 22 and Jordan Nwora had 18. Jalen Smith fouled early in the fourth with 17. Rookie Andrew Nembhard had 15 points and 15 rebounds.

CHICAGO — LeBron James scored 25 points on his return to the starting lineup and Los Angeles beat Chicago.

James also had seven rebounds and four assists back in 31 minutes in his second game after missing a month with a torn tendon in his right foot. The four-time MVP scored 19 points in his second appearance as a reserve in his 20-year NBA career in a 118-108 loss to Chicago on Sunday.

Los Angeles (38-38) was battling for playoff spot in the Western Conference and started a five-game journey with its fourth win in five games. Anthony Davis had 38 points and 10 rebounds in his hometown and D’Angelo Russell had 17 points.

Nikola Vucevic had 29 points and 12 rebounds for Chicago in its second straight loss.

PHILADELPHIA — Joel Embiid had 25 points and nine rebounds, James Harden added 15 points and 12 assists, and Philadelphia beat Dallas.

Embiid showed his MVP credentials as he drove back the Sixers in the fourth against Luka Doncic and the Mavs. Embiid hit a 3-pointer to equal it at 103 and followed up with a 16-foot down the next time, eventually resulting in the win basket.

Doncic had 24 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving scored 23 points for the Mavericks.

Tyrese Maxey added 22 points to help the 76ers end a three-game losing streak. You have returned from a 1-3 trip.


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Russell Westbrook had a season-high with 36 points, Robert Covington also had a season-high with 27 points and Los Angeles beat Memphis to open a two-game set.

The teams – both understaffed on Wednesday – meet again Friday night in Memphis. Westbrook made five 3-pointers without a miss and had 10 assists. Covington was 9 of 10 from the field and made all seven of his 3-point attempts.

Bones Hyland added 20 points for Los Angeles, including 12 in the fourth quarter when the Clippers pulled away in the final seven minutes.

Ja Morant led the Grizzlies with 36 points and nine assists. Dillon Brooks added 30 points as all five Memphis starters finished in double digits. The Grizzlies had won seven straight games at home and 12 straight games.

SAN ANTONIO — Talen Horton-Tucker posted a career-high 41 points and Utah defeated the Spurs in coach Gregg Popovich’s last game in San Antonio.

Utah grabbed a four-game sled to keep its dwindling playoff hopes alive. But San Antonio (19-57) lost its fifth straight season in its worst season since 1997, the year that saw Tim Duncan pick No. 1 overall.

Popovich has given no indication that he is retiring or even returning for his 28th season. However, annual speculation has heated up, especially as the 74-year-old coach admitted his expected induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this summer after years of refusing to even be nominated. The Spurs have two home games left, but those will be played 73 miles away at the new Moody Center in Austin.

Rookie Malaki Branham led San Antonio by 21 points.

NEW YORK — Immanuel Quickley had 24 points, Quentin Grimes had 23 and New York edged closer to a postseason spot with a winning night that brought Miami closer to the play-in tournament.

The Knicks overcame the loss of Julius Randle to a sprained left ankle to win their second consecutive season and remain firmly in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. They’re 2 1/2 games ahead of Brooklyn, four games ahead of seventh-place Heat.

Gabe Vincent scored 21 points for Miami.

NEW YORK — Cam Johnson had 31 points, Mikal Bridges scored 12 of his 27 in the fourth quarter and Brooklyn rallied to beat Houston.

Johnson and Bridges came into the trade together from Phoenix, who sent Kevin Durant to the Suns. Durant finally made his home debut for Phoenix on Wednesday night.

Nic Claxton added 18 points and 10 rebounds for Brooklyn.

Kevin Porter Jr. had 31 points, nine rebounds and six assists for Houston. The Rockets have lost seven straight games.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Rookie Jalen Williams’ putback with less than a second left lifted Oklahoma City past Detroit.

The pressure was on for the Thunder, who went two games under .500 into the night and held onto the last Western Conference play-in spot. Oklahoma City guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander — the league’s fourth-best scorer at 31.3 points per game — was out for the second straight game with a sprained ankle.

Williams had 27 points, eight rebounds, six assists – and the tip on Josh Giddey’s missed shot in the closing seconds. Lu Dort scored 20 points,

Jaden Ivey had 24 for Detroit. The Pistons have the worst record in the NBA, losing seven straight games and 18 of 19.

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