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Bucks overcome big deficit to beat Timberwolves

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Tyus Jones (1) defends against Milwaukee Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon (13) during the second quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center on Thursday, Dec. 28. (Jeff Hanisch / USA TODAY Sports)1 / 2
Milwaukee Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe (left) and Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler (right) battle for control of the ball during the first quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center on Thursday, Dec. 28. (Jeff Hanisch / USA TODAY Sports)2 / 2

MILWAUKEE—Eric Bledsoe hit a 3-pointer with 2:25 left to give the Bucks their first lead of the night, and Milwaukee held on for a 102-96 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves Thursday night, Dec. 28, at the Bradley Center.

Bledsoe scored 26 points, and Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Bucks, who shot 54.7 percent from the floor and overcame a 20-point deficit in the second half.

The Timberwolves were hitting at a 57.7 percent clip through three quarters but went 2 of 10 from beyond the arc and 4 of 19 overall in the final quarter. They wound up at 47.9 percent on field-goal attempts for the game.

Karl-Anthony Towns led Minnesota (22-14) with 22 points. Andrew Wiggins and Jimmy Butler finished with 21 and 20, respectively, as the Timberwolves' five-game winning streak came to an end.

Four Milwaukee turnovers sparked the Timberwolves to a 17-6 lead just four minutes into the contest, and the Bucks (18-15) were down 26-16 after one quarter.

Bledsoe and Khris Middleton took over for a 90-second stretch early in the second quarter. They combined for three steals and eight points as Milwaukee made it a 35-30 game before the Timberwolves recovered and went into halftime up 56-46.

Minnesota pushed the lead to 20 with 7:13 left in the third quarter before the Bucks showed signs of life, getting 10 each from John Henson and Bledsoe to make it a 84-75 Timberwolves lead heading into the final quarter.

A 10-2 Milwaukee run to open the fourth got the Bucks within a point after Matthew Dellavedova fed Malcolm Brogdon for a layup with 8:43 to play. Dellavedova found Middleton open for a corner 3-pointer to tie the game at 88 with seven minutes left.

Towns knocked down a 3-point shot with 4:19 left, putting the Timberwolves back up by three, but Milwaukee outscored Minnesota 10-3 the rest of the way, with Bledsoe accounting for six points and a pair of assists during that stretch.

NOTES: Minnesota PG Jeff Teague will miss two to four weeks because of a sprained MCL in his left knee, the team announced Thursday. With Teague out, Tyus Jones moved into the starting lineup against Milwaukee and finished with six points on 2-of-5 shooting in 35 minutes. ... Milwaukee has scored 100 points or more in 16 consecutive games. ... The teams split the season series a year ago, but Milwaukee has won six of the past seven meetings, including four in a row at the Bradley Center.

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