MILWAUKEE – Playing without Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks came away with another win.
It was run by Jrue Holiday.
Holiday had 28 points and 14 assists on Monday night to help the Bucks pass the Indiana Pacers 140-113 for their seventh straight win.
Milwaukee played without Antetokoumpo due to a sprained left knee, but the Bucks still scored 61.5% (24 of 39) from a 3-point range and 56.4% overall.
“When someone like our best player doesn’t play that night, we kind of lock ourselves in,” Holiday said. “Everyone has to do a little more. That is proof for the team we have. ”
Coach Mike Budenholzer was unsure about Antetokounmpo’s status for Wednesday’s game against Boston. Budenholzer said he thinks the ruling double NBA MVP was injured during the 120-113 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.
“We hope it will be shorter than longer, but we’ll see how these first 48 to 72 hours go by and then we’ll know more,” Budenholzer said before Monday’s game.
Having knocked Antetokounmpo out of the squad, Pat Connaughton started his first start of the season and collected 20 points and nine rebounds while shooting 6 of 7 from a 3 point range. Khris Middleton had 25 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
The Bucks also played without reserve striker PJ Tucker for a sprained left wrist. Tucker played 12 minutes and was goalless Monday in his second game since being acquired at the Houston store last week.
“We’ll see how it will be overnight and how it will feel and look tomorrow,” Budenholzer said.
Indiana wasn’t close to full force either.
The Pacers missed Malcolm Brogdon (inflamed lower back) and Myles Turner (left wrist sprain) and were left without TJ Warren, who has not played since Dec. 29 due to a stress fracture on his left foot.
“I don’t think it’s serious,” Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren said of Brogdon and Turner’s injuries. “I would expect them very soon.”
Even without Antetokounmpo, Bucks briefly worked for the Pacers. Holiday recorded the peak of the season in both points and assists.
Indiana, Doug McDermott opened the game with a three-pointer, but Bucks scored the next 19 points and remained in command the rest of the way.
“I just thought that our overall willingness and our aggressiveness to start the game tonight were not present for a number of different reasons,” Bjorkgren said.
The Bucks passed 9 of 10 out of a 3-point range in the first 9 minutes and led 48-26 by the end of the first quarter. That 48-point loss was the fifth highest point the Bucks ever recorded in a single quarter.
“It’s contagious,” Holiday said. “The ball has energy. By pushing the pace and watching the ball go through the hoop, the hoop just grows and gets bigger. Hence I feel like the pressure is falling off your shoulders, the weight is dropping and you just let it go and it bursts. ”
Indiana got 22 points from Domantas Sabonis, 21 from Jeremy Lamb, 20 from McDermott and 19 from Caris LeVert.
Pacers: While Jrue Holiday had probably his best game of the season, his brothers from Indiana’s roster struggled hard. Justin Holiday hit consecutive three-pointers in overtime in a 109-106 win in Miami on Sunday, but scored just three points on Monday and shot 1 of 10 (all attempts for 3 points). Aaron Holiday scored in the 17th minute and scored 0 for 7.
Bucks: Connaughton started for the 13th time in 322 regular seasons of his career. … The Bucks led 83-60 and scored the most points in the first half of the season. … The Bucks are 9-0 against enemies from the Central Division.
Pacers: On Wednesday, host Detroit for only the third home game in the last 13 games.
Bucks: They host Boston in the first of two consecutive games with the Celtics on Wednesday. The Bucks have not faced the Celtics since losing 122-121 in Boston in their season opener.