Giannis Antetokounmpo scores 43 points as Milwaukee Bucks blow past Detroit Pistons, 125-115

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 43 points and the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Detroit Pistons 125-115 on Monday night to move above the .500 mark for the first time this season.

The reigning two-time MVP scored 30 points by halftime, shot 17 of 24 from the floor overall and finished with nine rebounds.

Antetokounmpo said he might have gotten a little more room to operate inside because the Bucks (4-3) have shot so well from 3-point range lately. Milwaukee made at least 20 3-pointers in three of its first six games, including 22 in a 126-96 blowout of Chicago on Friday.

“They know that the previous game I’d been finding my teammates for a lot of 3s, finding the shooters,” Antetokounmpo said. “Coming to this game, they probably were like, ‘Don’t let them pick us apart with our passing.’ That’s why there was a lot of space.”

Antetokounmpo’s presence helped the Bucks outscore the Pistons 62-42 in the paint, including a 40-14 edge in the first half.

“Next game we’ve just got to make it harder for him,” said Detroit guard Derrick Rose, who scored 24 points off the bench to match Jerami Grant for the team lead. “Nobody was taking any charges tonight against him. We didn’t make him think.”

The Bucks (4-3) have won their last eight regular-season meetings with the Pistons, which represents the longest streak for either team in the history of the series.

Detroit (1-6) played without two of its top three scorers in Blake Griffin and Josh Jackson.