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Bucks' long-range barrage buries Heat, Clippers bounce back

By AFP - Dec 30,2020 - Last updated at Dec 30,2020

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks drives against KZ Okpala #4 of the Miami Heat during the second quarter at American Airlines Arena on Tuesday in Miami, Florida (AFP photo)

LOS ANGELES — The Milwaukee Bucks set an NBA record for three-pointers in a game, draining 29 from beyond the arc in a 144-97 blowout win over the Miami Heat on Tuesday.

The Heat, who stunned the top-seeded Bucks in the second round of the 2020 Eastern Conference play-offs en route to the NBA Finals, never got a look in, trailing by as many as 51 in a game Milwaukee led all the way.

Sam Merrill drilled the record-breaking 28th three-pointer of the game, surpassing the 27 set by the Houston Rockets against the Phoenix Suns on April 7, 2019.

Jrue Holiday had six three-pointers on the way to 24 points. Khris Middleton, who led the Bucks with 25 points, made four of five from three-point range.

Starting guard Donte DiVincenzo's 17 points included five three-pointers, and Brook Lopez had three treys on the way to 14 points.

Two-time reigning Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo was the only Bucks starter not to make a three-pointer, coming up empty on two attempts in a nine-point performance.

His brother Thanasis Antetokounmpo drained one three-pointer for the family on the way to five points off the bench for the Bucks, who simply steamrolled a Heat team that was without injured forward Jimmy Butler.

"Honestly, [we] just played hard," Holiday said. "We know the Heat way and how they're going to come out and play no matter who's playing.

"So we just wanted to take that approach."

It was a bounce-back win for the Bucks, who were blown out 130-110 by the Knicks in New York on Sunday.

"Last game in New York, we didn't show what we wanted to show," Holiday said.

They left no doubt in this one, leading by as many as 24 points on the way to a 46-26 first-quarter lead and never let up.

"Some nights, the basketball golds are with you a little bit, and it was probably one of those nights for us," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.

"But I liked our defence, too. I think the energy on both ends of the court feeds and builds on each other and good things will happen."

The Bucks' previous record for three-pointers in a game was 22, against the Sacramento Kings on November 4, 2018.

The most the Heat had given up before was 24.

"It looked like they had been thinking about this game for 80 days," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, whose team will get a chance to avenge the embarrassing defeat when they host the Bucks again on Wednesday.

The Los Angeles Clippers also rebounded from a big defeat.

Two days after a 124-73 loss to the Dallas Mavericks the Clippers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 124-101.

Lou Williams scored 20 points off the bench to lead seven Clippers players who scored in double figures.

"We knew coming tonight we had to do better," said Clippers centre Serge Ibaka, who scored 16 points. "We had to be aggressive, just play team basketball."

The Philadelphia 76ers, coming off a lopsided loss to Cleveland, beat the Toronto Raptors 100-93.

Centre Joel Embiid, who sat out Sunday's 24-point loss to the Cavaliers with a tight back, led the Sixers with 29 points and 16 rebounds.


Randle leads Knicks 


Elsewhere, Julius Randle posted a triple-double of 28 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the New York Knicks to a 95-86 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

But Russell Westbrook's triple-double of 21 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists — his third in as many appearances in the young season — again went for nothing as his Washington Wizards fell 115-107 to the Chicago Bulls.

Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 23 points, and Wendell Carter Jr. added a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds as Chicago notched their first win of the season.

Denver centre Nikola Jokic also had a triple-double in a losing effort, his 26 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists not enough in the Nuggets' 125-115 loss to the Sacramento Kings — who were led by the 24 points of De'Aaron Fox.

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