LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 35 points propelled the Milwaukee Bucks to a 13th straight NBA victory on Wednesday, a hard-fought 127-103 win over the Pistons in Detroit.
Antetokounmpo, the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player, powered through an often testy encounter, pulling down six rebounds and handing out nine assists as the Bucks continued their domination of the Pistons and improved their league-leading record to 19-3.
Milwaukee, whose eight wins over Detroit last season included a first-round playoff sweep, has now notched two wins this season over the Pistons.
The Bucks led by 11 at halftime, and by 20 after three quarters as the Pistons proved unable to mount a challenge.
Khris Middleton added 17 points for Milwaukee and Eric Bledsoe chipped in 15.
Andre Drummond led Detroit with 23 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists.
Antetokounmpo and Detroit’s Blake Griffin clashed early and often.
Midway through the second quarter, Griffin elbowed Antetokounmpo in the face and teammates hurried to intervene as the two exchanged words.
Antetokounmpo answered in the third with a monster block of Griffin’s layup attempt, and less than a minute later when he hit the court after a foul, Griffin angered the Bucks by stepping over Antetokounmpo’s legs.
The tough-guy posturing didn’t help the Pistons and the Bucks emerged with their longest winning streak since 1973.
In Boston, the Celtics defeated the Miami Heat 112-93, handing the Heat their first defeat of a three-game road trip that had included wins over the Brooklyn Nets and Toronto Raptors.
Miami was without coach Erik Spoelstra, who returned to Florida on Wednesday for the birth of his second son.
The Heat led by as many as 11 points early in the second quarter, but Boston closed the half on a 28-9 scoring run to take a 52-44 lead at halftime and never trailed in the second half.
Jaylen Brown scored 31 points and Kemba Walker added 28 for the Celtics, who outscored Miami 26-11 at the free throw line.
Jimmy Butler led the heat with a season-high 37 points. That included a career-high of six three-pointers.
© Agence France-Presse