Antetokounmpo scores 41 points, Bucks beat Pacers 141-131.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — When the Milwaukee Bucks  needed a steadying presence Friday  night at Indiana, Giannis Antetokounmpo  provided it — even from the free-throw line.

The Eastern Conference All-Star captain  finished with  41 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and made  five of  eight  free throws  during the  final  four  minutes to  help Bucks fend off Indiana’s  second- half rally for a 141-131 victory.

“We had  a good rhythm and  were  able to  just  hang on  in the  second  half,” Bucks  coach Mike Budenholzer said. “These  road wins are  pretty  sweet and there  were  some  real  positive things,  especially  in the first  half.”

Jrue Holiday  added 23  points and  nine assists for Milwaukee, Khris Middelton  added 17  despite  playing  just 15 minutes.

Budenholzer even  liked Antetokounmpo’s  form on his  late  free throws  as the Central Division- leading Bucks  won their  third straight, this one in  front of a  surprisingly  friendly  road crowd.

This time, though, the 33- point first- half deficit  was  simply too much. Myles Turner led the Pacers with 24  points and Buddy Hield  added 22 as Indiana  lost for the  ninth time in 10 games.

“The  starts  we’ve been getting off to  have been atrocious,” T.J. McConnell  said after  finishing with 19  points and  nine assists. “It  was the pace. When we get out and run and play with pace,  we’re  pretty good. When we  can’t get a stop,  you see what  happened  in the first  half.’

Milwaukee took  control  quickly with a balanced attack and  incredible  3- point shooting. The Bucks’  ninth  3 capped a 15- 3 run  to close  the first  quarter and gave them a 45-30 lead. The  charge  continued  through  the second  quarter  as the margin  expanded to 85- 52  in the  final minute of the  half.



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