For the second consecutive game the Milwaukee Bucks were forced to play without all-star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. For the second straight game the Bucks found a way to win without him. Shabazz Muhammad scored 22 points off the bench and guard Eric Bledsoe scored 20 points in the 102-86 win over the Magic Monday night.
Milwaukee struggled to gain separation from the Magic until the end of the third quarter, and finally was able to pull away in the fourth.
Khris Middleton and Jabari Parker also reached double-figures in scoring with 18 and 16 points, respectively.
This marked the last time that Milwaukee will ever play a regular season game at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, with a new arena set to open next season.
The win moves the Bucks temporarily into sixth place in the Eastern Conference with one game remaining in the regular season. Milwaukee plays Philadelphia on Wednesday night on the road, where a win would clinch the No. 6 seed in the playoffs and means the Bucks would retain their first round draft pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Thanks to key efforts from reserves Shabazz Muhammad, Tony Snell, and Brandon Jennings, the Milwaukee Bucks were able to survive against the Chicago Bulls without all-star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Muhammad scored 21 points in 20 minutes, Snell was a perfect 6-of-6 shooting for 18 points, and Jennings added in 16 points and five assists in the win. Milwaukee overcame a sluggish start and foul trouble to guard Eric Bledsoe in order to take the victory. Bledsoe finished with 13 points in just 20 minutes of action.
Chicago was led by Denzel Valentine with 20 points on the evening. The Bulls did race out to a 34-24 lead after the first quarter, but Milwaukee tied things up before the first half was over, entering halftime at 61-61.
Bucks forward Jabari Parker started his first game of this season due to the absence of Antetokounmpo. He played 30 minutes for the second consecutive game, which is the most he has appeared in a game this season. Parker finished with six points due to a rough shooting night. He was 3-of-10 from the floor.
Milwaukee’s win moves the Bucks to within a half game of the Miami Heat for seventh place in the Eastern Conference. The Bucks are back in action on Sunday afternoon at home against the San Antonio Spurs.