Giannis Antetokounmpo returns as Bucks defeat Cavaliers

Giannis Antetokounmpo celebrated his 27th birthday by scoring 15 of his game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter as the Milwaukee Bucks held on for a 112-104 win over the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday.

Khris Middleton added 21 points and eight assists for Milwaukee, which has won 10 of its last 11 games. Jrue Holiday had 20 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, while Pat Connaughton added 12 points off the bench.

Antetokounmpo returned after missing two games with a right calf injury and grabbed 12 rebounds in 27 minutes. Bobby Portis had 10 points and tied his career high with 16 rebounds.

Jarrett Allen had 25 points and nine rebounds to lead Cleveland. Lauri Markkanen tallied 20 points and seven rebounds, Kevin Love scored 15 points. Evan Mobley had 12, and Darius finished with 10 points and nine assists.

The Cavaliers opened the contest by missing their first seven shots but tied the game at 24 at the end of the first quarter.

Antetokounmpo was held scoreless before scoring four points in the first minute of the second quarter. The Bucks extended their lead to 11 points with 3:57 left in the half and held a 56-50 advantage at the break.

Cleveland forward Lamar Stevens hit back-to-back 3-pointers during a 12-3 run to cut the deficit to 68-64 with 5:41 left in the third quarter.

Milwaukee took a 10-point lead into the final period, but the Cavaliers responded with seven straight points to pull within 88-85.

Garland hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 107-100 with 2:28 remaining, before Antetokounmpo scored the Bucks’ final five points to seal the victory.