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Bucks rout Pacers for 7th straight victory; reportedly signing DeMarcus Cousins
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Bucks rout Pacers for 7th straight victory; reportedly signing DeMarcus Cousins

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Milwaukee Bucks reportedly collected a victory off the court on Sunday, then went out and cruised to their seventh straight win on the hardwood.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 26 points and 13 rebounds and the Bucks routed the Indiana Pacers 118-100.

Prior to the game, several outlets reported Milwaukee is signing four-time All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins to fill a void in the frontcourt.

ESPN cited sources in reporting Cousins, 31, will sign a non-guaranteed deal to join the defending NBA champions. Teams must guarantee contracts for the balance of the season by Jan. 7.

The Bucks haven’t officially announced the move, but following the victory against the Pacers, both Antetokounmpo and coach Mike Budenholzer spoke of the team’s need to have another big with Brook Lopez sidelined.

“Obviously Brook is a big part of what we do, can’t wait for him to get back healthy, but at the end of the day, without Brook, we don’t have another big,” Antetokounmpo said. “I feel like it’s a lot of load on me and Bobby (Portis) to be those bigs all the time on the court, so just adding another guy, that’ll be nice.”

Added Budenholzer: “We’re playing Giannis and Bobby, really as our two bigs right now, so I think when you look at the depth chart and look at how we’re subbing and everything, depth at the big position is something that we could use.”

Cousins played parts of the 2020-21 season with the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers, including some significant stretches of good play in the Clippers’ run to the Western Conference finals.

Cousins has averaged 20.4 points and 10.6 rebounds in his 10-year NBA career, which includes two significant lower-leg injuries in recent years — a torn ACL and an Achilles tear. In addition to his All-Star Game appearances, he’s been a two All-NBA second-team selection (2015 and 2016).

Cousins played seven years with the Sacramento Kings until a trade to New Orleans in 2017, and signed successive free agent deals with Golden State, Houston, the Clippers and now the Bucks.

Against Indiana, Milwaukee led by five at halftime and pulled away with a 39-27 third quarter. Guard Jrue Holiday scored 11 of his 23 points in the quarter.

“We’re playing together and everybody is contributing,” Holiday said. “It’s been fun.”

Much like the surging Bucks, who improved to 13-8, Holiday has been hot in averaging 19.7 points in the past four victories. He also had nine assists and seven rebounds against Indiana.

“Being able to go through the things we went through last year was huge,” Holiday said of winning the NBA title. “We know we can make a run at any time.”

Portis scored 15 points, Khris Middleton and Pat Connaughton each had 14, and Indianapolis native George Hill added 13 for the Bucks.

“We didn’t have enough in the tank tonight,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “We just had a very difficult night.”

Caris LeVert led the Pacers with a season-high 23 points. Malcolm Brogdon had 16.

“They’re the champions,” Pacers’ Justin Holiday said. “It’s going to be a tough game against them every time.”

In the paint

The Bucks extended their series winning streak against Pacers to six games ... Antetokounmpo has led the team in scoring in 17 games and in rebounding in 16 games. ... After a season-high 12 assists Friday night in a home win over Toronto, Brogdon had just two. ... Domantas Sabonis scored a season-low four points on 1-for-8 shooting for Indiana.

Milwaukee 26 26 39 27 — 118

Indiana 26 21 27 26 — 100

MILWAUKEE — G.Antetokounmpo 10-15 6-10 26, Middleton 6-13 1-1 14, Portis 5-10 4-4 15, Allen 3-5 0-0 8, Jr.Holiday 11-21 0-0 23, Kalaitzakis 0-0 0-0 0, Nwora 0-2 0-0 0, Mamukelashvili 1-1 0-0 2, Hood 1-4 0-0 3, Connaughton 6-11 1-1 14, Hill 3-8 6-6 13, Robinson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 46-90 18-22 118.

INDIANA — Ju.Holiday 4-11 0-0 10, Sabonis 1-8 2-3 4, Turner 1-4 0-0 2, Brogdon 5-12 4-4 16, LeVert 9-13 1-2 23, Craig 1-3 0-0 3, Duarte 4-10 0-0 10, Jackson 2-4 0-0 4, Martin 3-6 1-2 7, Bitadze 0-1 0-0 0, Lamb 0-4 0-0 0, Brissett 3-5 1-2 8, McConnell 4-9 2-2 10, Wanamaker 1-2 1-1 3. Totals 38-92 12-16 100.

3-point goals — M 8-35 (Allen 2-4, Hood 1-2, Portis 1-3, Hill 1-5, Middleton 1-5, Connaughton 1-6, Jr.Holiday 1-7, G.Antetokounmpo 0-2), I 12-45 (LeVert 4-5, Duarte 2-6, Brogdon 2-8, Ju.Holiday 2-8, Craig 1-2, Brissett 1-3, McConnell 0-2, Sabonis 0-2, Lamb 0-3, Turner 0-3). Rebounds — M 52 (G.Antetokounmpo 13), I 45 (Sabonis 10). Assists — M 27 (Jr.Holiday 9), I 21 (Sabonis 5). Total fouls — M 14, I 21. Att. — 13,130.

 

 

 

 

 

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