MILWAUKEE — More than halfway through the regular season, the Milwaukee Bucks haven’t had much of a chance to show how well they can play at full strength.
The Bucks’ three biggest stars — two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, three-time All-Star Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday — have played together in just five of Milwaukee’s 45 games.
That situation has led to some adversity. Since starting the season with nine straight wins, the Bucks have gone 20-16.
“There’s been nights where we haven’t played as good as we need to,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Some nights, it’s both ends. Other nights it’s one or the other. So we’re very much a work in progress. But I think we continue to be confident with the group and excited about where we’re going.”
The Bucks hope to have a couple of key pieces back soon.
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Budenholzer said Antetokounmpo “did pretty much everything” at the Bucks’ Thursday practice as they prepare for Saturday’s game at Cleveland. Antetokounmpo has missed the Bucks’ last four games with left knee soreness.
Middleton had a scheduled day off Thursday but has been working out with the Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks’ NBA G League affiliate.
BULLS 126, PISTONS 108: With Victor Wembanyama sitting courtside and watching some of the players he’ll go up against next season, Zach LaVine scored 30 points and Chicago never trailed in a victory over Detroit at the NBA Paris Game. DeMar DeRozan added 26 points for the Bulls, and Nikola Vucevic finished with 16 points, 15 rebounds and six assists. Killian Hayes, the only French player on either roster, scored only four points for Detroit, but had a game-high eight assists.
CELTICS 121, WARRIOS 118 (OT): Jayson Tatum scored 34 points with a career-high 19 rebounds to help the Celtics pull away from Golden State in an NBA Finals rematch and beat the Warriors in Boston. Jaylen Brown had 16 points and nine rebounds. He made a 3-pointer with 18 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime. Horford had 20 points, 10 boards and three blocked shots for the Celtics.
TIMBERWOLVES 128, RAPTORS 126: D’Angelo Russell scored 16 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, Anthony Edwards had 23 and host Minnesota rallied to beat Toronto. Kyle Anderson added 20 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota, which was down Rudy Gobert and Austin Rivers and playing the second game of a back-to-back after a fourth-quarter collapse a night earlier in Denver.