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Giannis, Bucks silence Wolves

GIANNIS Antetokounmpo puts on a show to lift the Milwaukee Bucks to a 112-107 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA regular season. | JORDAN JOHNSON/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES (AFP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 33 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as the Milwaukee Bucks roared out of the National Basketball Association All-Star break with a 112-107 victory over Western Conference leaders Minnesota on Friday.

Damian Lillard drilled a step-back basket with 10.3 seconds remaining to seal the win, the Bucks holding off a frantic Minnesota rally that saw the Timberwolves slice a 17-point deficit to four on Anthony Edwards’s three-pointer with 1:58 left to play.

Antetokounmpo grabbed two offensive rebounds and made three free throws to push the lead back to seven.

Two more clutch three-pointers from Edwards kept the Timberwolves in with a chance, but Antetokounmpo found Jae Crowder for a layup and Lillard delivered the dagger with 9.2 seconds left to play.

“That’s what Dame does,” Antetokounmpo said.

“We’ve just got to get out of his way and just let him be great. He thrives with those moments.”

Edwards finished with 28 points, Karl-Anthony Towns scored 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds and Rudy Gobert added 12 points and 19 rebounds for the Timberwolves.

But ultimately, Minnesota couldn’t overcome a disastrous third quarter in which the Bucks outscored them, 36-13.

Antetokounmpo was displeased with the Bucks’ own sloppy spell early in the fourth.

“But we kept our composure,” he said.

The same couldn’t be said for the Miami Heat and the Pelicans in New Orleans, where the Heat triumphed 106-95 in a roller coaster of a contest that saw four players ejected after a brawl early in the fourth quarter.

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