Bucks beat Lakers 115-101; Antetokounmpo, James sit out

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MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Khris Middleton scored 30 points and Brook Lopez added 28 as the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 115-101 on Tuesday night.

Milwaukee played without Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is nursing an injured ankle, while LeBron James sat out for Los Angeles due to a sore groin.

Nikola Mirotic added 23 points for Milwaukee, which improved to an NBA-best 53-18.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had a season-high 35 points for the Lakers, three off his career best. Kyle Kuzma added 17 points. Los Angeles has lost four consecutive games and nine of 10.

Antetokounmpo, a front-runner for the league MVP award, poured in a career-high 52 points in a 130-125 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, but sprained his right ankle in that game after colliding with Joel Embiid on a drive to the basket late in the third quarter. He continued to play, but continuing soreness forced him to sit against the Lakers.

James, who had 33 points in a loss to the Knicks on Sunday, didn't play due to a sore left groin, the same injury that caused him to miss a career-high 17 consecutive games earlier this season.

The Bucks led by 11 after the first quarter, but the Lakers worked their back in the second, eventually tying it at 56 before falling behind 61-58 at the half. Caldwell-Pope had 23 first-half points, helped by 5-for-8 shooting from 3-point range.

Milwaukee took control early in the third quarter, building a double-digit lead on 3-pointers by Lopez, Mirotic and Middleton. The Bucks' lead grew to 23 in the quarter and Milwaukee led 99-84 heading to the fourth.

The Lakers clawed back and cut the lead to five midway through the fourth quarter, before the Bucks pushed the lead to double digits.