By STEVE MEGARGEE
AP Sports Writer
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 50 points and 13 rebounds as the Milwaukee Bucks trounced New Orleans 135-110 on Sunday, handing the Pelicans their eighth straight loss.
Anteotkounmpo’s 50 points were five off the career high he set Jan. 4 in a 123-113 victory over the Washington Wizards. He shot 20 of 26 from the floor, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range, and went 7 of 12 on free-throw attempts.
The Bucks never trailed and won their fourth straight as they opened a four-game homestand. They also reached the 130-point mark for the fifth time in their last seven games.
Jrue Holiday scored 17 and Brook Lopez added 15 for the Bucks, who shot 55.2%.
Antetokounmpo collected 29 points and 10 rebounds in the first half alone, helping the Bucks build a big lead early. This was Antetokounmpo’s 10th game this season with at least 40 points, tying the career high for 40-point games that he set last season.
New Orleans was missing its top three scorers: Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram (toe injury on left foot) and CJ McCollum (sprained right thumb). Jose Alvarado stepped up to lead the Pelicans with 18 points, while Trey Murphy III and Jonas Valanciunas had 16 each.
Antetokounmpo’s sizzling start put the Pelicans in an early hole. The two-time MVP already had 16 points midway through the first quarter. He went 8 of 9 for 18 points in that opening period, nearly matching New Orleans’ scoring total while helping the Bucks build a 37-19 advantage.
Pelicans: Kira Lewis Jr. played for the first time since Jan. 18 and scored 15 points. …. Larry Nance Jr. had a season-high 12 rebounds … The Pelicans were outrebounded 57-38. They had a minus-11 rebound margin Saturday against the Wizards.
Bucks: Antetokounmpo played his 695th career regular-season game to tie Sidney Moncrief for second place on the Bucks’ all-time list. The franchise record is owned by Junior Bridgeman, who played 711 regular-season games in two stints with the Bucks from 1975-84 and 1986-87. … Middleton came off the bench for a fourth straight game as the Bucks continue to monitor the three-time All-Star’s workload in his return from right knee soreness. Middleton has played just 11 games this year, missing time first to recover from offseason wrist surgery and later to deal with his knee issue.
Pelicans: At Denver on Tuesday in the second game of a three-game road swing. The Pelicans have split two home matchups with the Nuggets this season.
Bucks: Host Charlotte on Tuesday. The Bucks won at Charlotte, and a month later lost to them at home.
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