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Bucks breeze past Cavs to continue franchise best start

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Agence France-Presse

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 29 points as the Milwaukee Bucks won their 18th straight game with a 125-108 victory over the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday.

The Bucks dominated inside and out as they continued their franchise best start and moved within just two victories of equalling their all-time longest winning streak.

Milwaukee’s 24-3 start is the best in the 52-year history of the organization. Their next two games though are against two top teams in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks. The longest winning streak is 20 games set by the 1970-71 Bucks.

Khris Middleton finished with 24 points and a half dozen Bucks scored in double figures.

Milwaukee jumped out to an 18-point halftime lead and extended it to as many as 28 points in the third quarter on the way to their 18th straight win.

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer sat Antetokounmpo with the game in hand. The reigning league MVP finished with just 24 minutes, that’s seven minutes below his season average.

He posted his 11th consecutive game with at least 24 points and a field-goal shooting percentage above 50 percent.

Hapless Cleveland dropped its 15th game over the last 17, a skid dating back to November 12.

Cleveland got just 50 points from its starting five, led by Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love each with 12 points.

Elsewhere, Jimmy Butler scored 27 points as the Miami Heat recorded a 122-118 overtime victory over the Dallas Mavericks in a game that saw Luka Doncic injure his ankle in the first quarter.

X-rays were negative for Doncic, who did not return to the game after stepping on the foot of Miami guard Kendrick Nunn while driving to the basket. He remained on the floor for several moments before hobbling off to the locker room.

Doncic, who was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2018-19, entered the game averaging team-leading totals in points (30.4), rebounds (9.9) and assists (9.3) this season.

His streak of 20 consecutive games with at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists ended due to the injury.

After Jalen Brunson’s three-pointer gave Dallas a 118-114 lead in overtime, Miami grabbed the lead back with a Tyler Herro three pointer and a Bam Adebayo dunk.

Butler made a pair of free throws with five seconds remaining, and Brunson bungled a three-point attempt to end the contest.

Herro finished with 19 points and Adebayo collected a triple-double with 18 points, 11 boards and 10 assists for the Heat, who bounced back after losing 113-110 to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

In Toronto, Pascal Siakam scored 30 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, and the Toronto Raptors defeated the visiting Brooklyn Nets 110-102.

Toronto led by as many as 16 points during the first half and took a seven-point lead into the fourth quarter as they improved to 17-8 on the season in front of a crowd of 19,800 at Scotiabank Arena.

The Raptors have won 16 of their past 17 meetings with the Nets, including nine in a row at home.

Siakam added three steals and three blocks while hitting three of from beyond the arc.

Norman Powell, who fouled out with just over a minute left in the fourth, added 25 points, Kyle Lowry and Marc Gasol each scored 17, and Serge Ibaka came off the bench to score 12.

Spencer Dinwiddie had 24 points and eight assists for the Nets, Garrett Temple had 16 points and Taurean Prince had 14 points and 10 rebounds.