NBA: Bucks blast Knicks to tie franchise-best start, Lillard leads Trail Blazers past Timberwolves

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) shoots the ball as New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) defends during the second half at Madison Square Garden on Dec 21, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) - Giannis Antetokounmpo totalled 22 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his third triple-double of the NBA season, and the Milwaukee Bucks never trailed to match the best 30-game start in team history with a 123-102 victory over the hosts New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Saturday (Dec 21) night.

The Bucks won for the 20th time in 21 National Basketball Association games and improved to a league-best 26-4, matching the start by the 1971-72 team who won 63 games with Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson.

Listed as probable due to back soreness, Antetokounmpo produced his 17th career triple-double and first in 23 career games against the Knicks. His latest big game helped the Bucks to their 10th win in the last 11 meetings with New York.

The Knicks took their second straight double-digit loss to an upper-echelon Eastern Conference opponent and dropped to 3-5 under interim coach Mike Miller. Julius Randle led the Knicks with 20 points and Kevin Knox added 19 but New York shot 40.2 per cent, missed 21 of 30 three-point attempts.

In another game, Damian Lillard recorded 29 points and seven assists to help Portland post a 113-106 win over visiting Minnesota.

C.J. McCollum added 26 points, and Kent Bazemore tallied 19 as the Trail Blazers won their fourth straight game and ninth in their past 13. Hassan Whiteside contributed 16 points, 22 rebounds and seven blocked shots, and Skal Labissiere added 11 points and eight rebounds for the Blazers.

Andrew Wiggins had 33 points and three blocks for the Wolves, who lost their 10th straight game. Jeff Teague added 18 points, eight assists and six rebounds off the bench for Minnesota, which was without Karl-Anthony Towns (knee) for the third straight game.

Meanwhile, James Harden drained nine three-pointers while recording 47 points, six rebounds and seven assists to lead Houston to a 139-125 over hosts Phoenix.

Russell Westbrook added 30 points and 10 assists as the Rockets defeated the Suns for the 13th straight time. Houston shot 58.6 per cent from the field, including 19 of 41 from three-point range. Harden hit 15 of 27 shots and was 9 of 19 from behind the arc.

Kelly Oubre Jr scored 26 points for the Suns, who lost their sixth in a row and 14th in their past 18. Devin Booker added 19 points, nine assists and six rebounds. Centre Deandre Ayton (ankle) and point guard Ricky Rubio (illness) sat out for the Suns.

Leonard shines amid jeers as Clippers thump Spurs

Elsewhere, Kawhi Leonard was booed loudly every time he touched the ball but still poured in 26 points, leading six Los Angeles players in double-figure scoring as the visitors routed San Antonio 134-109.

Leonard was traded from the Spurs to Toronto before last season, then signed with the Clippers this past off-season. He added nine assists and seven rebounds. Montrezl Harrell had 21 points, with Lou Williams scoring 20 for the Clippers.

DeMar DeRozan led San Antonio with 24 points (20 in the first half), while Marco Belinelli added 17, LaMarcus Aldridge scored 12, and Dejounte Murray and Derrick White contributed 10 apiece.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.