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Antetokounmpo injury scare as Bucks roll to 12th straight win

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks dribbles against Patrick Williams #44 of the Chicago Bulls. Photo: Michael Reaves / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Giannis Antetokounmpo suffered an injury scare on Thursday as the Milwaukee Bucks cruised to a 12th straight victory with a 112-100 win over the Chicago Bulls.

Bucks superstar Antetokounmpo left the game in Chicago in the second quarter, shortly after suffering a heavy collision with the padded pillar behind the basket as he chased down a block.

An initial injury report from the Bucks said the player had suffered a sprained right wrist.

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said the early reports of Antetokounmpo’s injury were “hopeful.”

“The X-ray was clean. And he’s got a sprain,” Budenholzer said. 

“I think we’ll see how he feels tomorrow, see how he feels the next few days and continue to evaluate it.”

Antetokounmpo is due to captain the Eastern Conference line-up in Sunday’s All-Star Game against the LeBron James-led Western Conference.

Antetokounmpo’s injury took the shine off another polished performance by Milwaukee, who are second in the Eastern Conference behind leaders Boston with a 42-17 record.

With Antetokounmpo making an early exit, it was left to Milwaukee’s Brook Lopez to provide the offensive thrust for the Bucks.

Lopez finished with 33 points, seven rebounds and two assists while Jevon Carter impressed with 22 points, six rebounds and six assists.

The defeat was another setback for Chicago. 

The Bulls have now lost six straight games and have fallen outside the play-in places in the Eastern Conference at 26-33.

Clippers down Suns

The Bulls offense was blunted by the injury absence of DeMar DeRozan, who also missed Wednesday’s game against the Indiana Pacers with a thigh injury.

It is not clear if DeRozan will be fit to play in the All-Star game, where he is among the Eastern Conference reserves.

In DeRozan’s absence, Nikola Vucevic led the Bulls scoring, with 22 points and 16 rebounds, while Zach LaVine finished with 18 points.

Elsewhere on Thursday, the Phoenix Suns’ new superstar recruit Kevin Durant was courtside to watch as his team suffered a 116-107 home defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Durant had been formally presented to fans in Phoenix at a news conference earlier Thursday, where he declared that the franchise was poised to end its long wait for an NBA championship.

“I think we got all the pieces to be successful,” Durant said. 

Those expectations were given a reality check, however, by a balanced Clippers offense that saw Paul George and Terance Mann score 26 points apiece.

Kawhi Leonard added 16 points while Ivica Zubac and Eric Gordon each finished with 13 points.

Josh Okogie led Phoenix, scoring 24 points on a night where point guard Chris Paul was restricted to five points by the Clippers’ defense. 

The Clippers moved into the fourth spot in the Western Conference with a win that left them with a 33-28 record. The Suns are fifth at 32-28.

In Thursday’s other game, the Washington Wizards staged a dramatic late fightback to stun the Minnesota Timberwolves 114-106 on the road.

The Wizards’ Bradley Beal scored 30-plus points for the third time in four games, finishing with 35 points, six rebounds and five assists.

The Timberwolves led by 20 points in the first quarter and looked on course for victory after leading by 18 points with just over two minutes remaining in the third quarter.

But Washington outscored Minnesota 38-19 in the fourth quarter to take the lead for the first time and closed out a victory.

Anthony Edwards was the pick of the Minnesota offense with 34 points while Kyle Anderson added 18 and Rudy Gobert 17.

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