East Notes: Bucks, Damian Lillard, Magic, Celtics


No Giannis Antetokounmpo, no problem for the Bucks in a rematch of two franchises that met in the Finals in 2021.Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA

Somehow, someway, the Bucks did in fact beat the Suns in Milwaukee on Sunday, despite Antetokounmpo being a later scratch with a hamstring issue.

Damian Lillard and Bobby Portis led the way with 31 points apiece. Lillard also collected 16 assists, and Portis had 10 rebounds. 

By the way, that made Lillard the first player in Bucks history with a 30-point, 15-assist outing.

“I just wanted to come out and be in attack mode,” he told reporters. “I didn’t really think to myself I’m going to have to score a bunch of points. I just knew I had to be a problem for the defense.”

  • Antetokounmpo missed just his fourth game of the season. “It’s not an injury, we were just concerned a little bit,” coach Doc Rivers said. “Plus, when you look at the schedule, you have one, two, three, four, five days off. We planted it in him and he had to do it. We’re happy that he decided to do it.”
  • It helped that Khris Middleton returned and scored 22 points in his first game in more than a month. Our Ashish Mathur has more on Middleton right here.


Don’t look now, but the Magic have won eight of 10, capped by Sunday’s blowout win over the Raptors.

“Every game is not going to be high-flying,” coach Jamahl Mosley told reporters. “Our guys are finding ways to win and that’s important in this league. Even when the games aren’t pretty you find ways to win.”

  • The Raptors lead the NBA in fast-break points but the Magic held them to just 16 on Sunday. Orlando also helped Toronto without a field goal for nearly four minutes to start the second half.
  • Said forward Franz Wagner: “I think defensively we’re really good. We have a lot of guys that take a lot of pride in that side of the floor, and we have really smart players, too. That’s always a good combination.”


The Celtics had little trouble with the lowly Wizards on Sunday, despite the fact Boston was without starters Jaylen Brown (ankle), Derrick White (hand) and Kristaps Porzingis (hamstring).

Jayson Tatum did his usual thing with 30 points, and Sam Hauser added a career-high 30 of his own off 10 3-pointers.

“That’s why we have that stay-ready group, frankly, for days like this,” Tatum told reporters. “We can just plug in certain guys in certain positions and moments. And the expectation is that we don’t skip a beat.”

  • Coach Joe Mazzulla on Hauser: “I loved his confidence, I loved his aggressiveness. I loved how guys looked for him. He got his shots within the flow of our execution. And that’s the weapon that he is.”

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