Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 36 points, Brook Lopez added 21, and the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks clinched a playoff spot by beating the Phoenix Suns 116-104 on Tuesday night to become the first team to have 50 wins this season.
The Bucks pulled away late for their 21st win in 23 games and are the first to secure a postseason berth. The Suns have dropped three straight.
The Suns trailed by nine points at halftime but cut the deficit to 85-84 heading to the fourth after Devin Booker hit a mid-range jumper at the third-quarter buzzer.
Cam Payne hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put the Suns up 90-87, their first lead of the second half. The game stayed tight for the next several minutes, but the Bucks took the lead for good when Pat Connaughton hit a corner 3 for a 100-97 advantage with 6:30 remaining.
Antetokounmpo added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Lopez shot 10 of 14 from the field and added 10 rebounds. The Bucks closed the game on a 24-9 run.
Booker led the Suns with 30 points on 13-of-27 shooting. Deandre Ayton had 19 points and eight rebounds despite playing just 26 minutes because of foul trouble.
The Bucks led 57-48 at halftime. Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 20 points, while Booker and Ayton had 10 for the Suns. Phoenix shot just 39.2% from the field in the first half.
Suns forward Torrey Craig lost a tooth in the third quarter after taking an inadvertent elbow from Antetokounmpo. He lay on the floor for a few seconds before finding his tooth on the ground, which he picked up and took to the bench.
He returned to the game in the fourth quarter.
Latest on Sportstar
- WTC Final 2023: Virat Kohli batting vs Australia - key stats, records
- NBA Finals: 3 takeaways from Game 2 as Miami Heat levels series
- Australia’s Hazlewood eases fears over long-term fitness
- Benzema’s Real exit ‘surprise to everyone’, says Ancelotti
- French Open: Jabeur ‘not so far’ from her best after injury-plagued season