MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 49 points, Khris Middleton had 26 points and 11 rebounds, and the Milwaukee Bucks edged Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets 117-114 on Sunday.
Antetokounmpo also had eight rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots. He went 21 for 36 from the field, helping Milwaukee overcome a terrific performance by Durant.
The Bucks (40-24) won for the third time in four games to pull within 2 1/2 games of the Nets (43-22) in the three-way battle for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia is on top at 42-21 heading into its matchup with San Antonio on Sunday night.
Milwaukee hosts Brooklyn again on Tuesday night.
Durant had 42 points and 10 rebounds for the Nets, but he missed a difficult fadeaway 3-pointer at the buzzer. Kyrie Irving scored 20 points, and Landry Shamet finished with 17.
Antetokounmpo finished three points shy of his career high, set against Philadelphia in March 2019.
A slick move by Antetokounmpo gave the Bucks a 117-112 lead, and Irving answered with a layup. But Durant and Khris Middleton traded 3-point misses before the final attempt by Durant.
Jrue Holiday had 18 points for Milwaukee, and Bryn Forbes finished with 12.
Antetokounmpo scored the Bucks’ first 16 points of the third quarter, and his personal streak stopped when he passed to Forbes for a 3-pointer. He had 18 points in the third, and the game was tied at 90 heading to the fourth.
Durant lifted the Nets with 13 points in the quarter, including three 3-pointers.