Middleton scores 19 points to lead Bucks past Pelicans
MILWAUKEE (AP) In their previous meeting in January, the New Orleans Pelicans made a franchise-record 17 3-pointers against the Milwaukee Bucks.
It was a different story on Saturday night, with the Pelicans connecting on just 6 of 29 shots from deep while the Milwaukee Bucks pulled away late for a 103-92 victory.
''We wanted to defend the 3,'' Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd said. ''They had some wide-open looks that they just missed. We got lucky there.''
Ryan Anderson made just 1 of 9 3-pointers after draining six in the first meeting.
''We tried to take him off the line, make him shoot 2s,'' Kidd said. ''Toney Douglas was also one of those guys that hurt us, and we tried to make a conscious effort with him tonight, too.''
Douglas attempted only two 3-pointers, making one. He was 4 of 6 from deep in the earlier meeting.
''We just tried to do a better job going out on the pick and roll and running their 3-point shooters off the line,'' said Khris Middleton, who led the Bucks with 19 points.
Giannis Antetokounmpo added 18 points and Jerryd Bayless 17 for Milwaukee, which put six players in double figures and snapped a six-game losing streak to New Orleans that dated to 2012.
''When you switch a lot as they do, and they've got (Antetokounmpo) out there as a point forward, that takes a lot of the 3-point shooting away,'' New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said.
Anthony Davis had 29 points and 11 rebounds for the Pelicans, who have lost seven of eight. Luke Babbitt added 16 points and nine rebounds, both season highs. He also logged a season-high 38 minutes.
''With so many guys banged up, the load is going to fall somewhere,'' Babbitt said. ''I wanted to be aggressive. It just wasn't enough tonight.''
Milwaukee used a 14-2 run midway through the fourth to build a 15-point margin and gain control of the game.
Milwaukee led 55-52 at the half after New Orleans made just 3 of 19 3-pointers.
After trailing for nearly all the first half, New Orleans grabbed a 69-68 lead midway through the third, but Milwaukee held a 77-71 lead heading to the fourth.
Jrue Holiday, who has a history of injuries, wasn't in the starting lineup after logging nearly 41 minutes in an overtime loss against Memphis on Friday night. ''We just have to be really careful with him,'' Gentry said. Holiday, who played 29 minutes against the Bucks, missed the start of the season while recovering from a pair of surgeries to fix a stress fracture in his right tibia.
Kidd wasn't pleased with his team having to play again on Sunday in New Jersey while dealing with the switch to daylight saving time and traveling into the Eastern time zone. ''I think the league is testing us to see how we can handle back-to-back (games) while losing two hours,'' Kidd said.
Pelicans: Guard Norris Cole missed a third consecutive game with a sore back. ''His back is still just a little bit too tight,'' Gentry said. ''Hopefully, we'll get him back for the last two games on the trip.'' ... Davis was sporting a bandage above his right eye after the first quarter for a minor cut that didn't need stitches.
Bucks: Forward John Henson, who missed his 19th consecutive game with a back injury, returned to practice earlier in the week for the first time in more than a month and could see game action this coming week. ''He's made progress,'' Kidd said. ''Hopefully, Monday he can do some stuff and then Tuesday or Thursday he can go.'' ... Guard O.J. Mayo is out for the rest of the season after breaking his right ankle Thursday morning going down a set of stairs at his home, according to the team. Mayo's injury occurred on the same day that point guard Michael Carter-Williams had season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip.
Pelicans: At Golden State on Monday night.
Bucks: At Brooklyn on Sunday night.