Even without either of their All-Stars on the floor, the Milwaukee Bucks had enough firepower to beat the slumping Washington Wizards.
Jrue Holiday had 24 points and 10 assists to help the Bucks withstand a late comeback attempt and beat the Wizards 114-102 on Thursday night.
Grayson Allen added 21 points and the Bucks never trailed despite playing without Khris Middleton or two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Middleton missed a second straight game with a sore left wrist. Antetokounmpo was out for the second time in three games with a sore right knee.
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Washington was missing Kyle Kuzma for a third straight game due to right knee tendinitis. The Wizards also continue to play without three-time All-Star Bradley Beal, who underwent season-ending surgery on his left wrist last month.
Ish Smith scored 17 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kristaps Porzingis each added 16 for the Wizards.
Pat Connaughton had 16, Brook Lopez 13, Bobby Portis and Serge Ibaka 11 each and George Hill 10 for the Bucks. Portis also had 12 rebounds.
After trailing 94-66 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, the Wizards cut Milwaukee’s lead to 109-101 on Smith’s 3-pointer with 2:12 remaining. Caldwell-Pope sank the first of two free throws to make it 109-102 with 1:56 left.
But Caldwell-Pope missed his next free-throw attempt, Allen sank a 3-pointer 24 seconds later and the Wizards wouldn’t threaten again.
The Bucks (46-27) won for the 10th time in 12 games to move a half-game ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers (45-27) and Boston Celtics (46-28) for second place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Bucks are one game behind the Miami Heat (47-26).
Washington has lost eight of nine.
Wizards: Tomas Satoransky received a flagrant foul in the final minute of the third quarter. Allen was heading up the court when he collided with Satoransky’s outstretched arm and fell backward. Washington has lost its last eight road games. Its last road win was 117-103 at Brooklyn on Feb. 17.
Bucks: Holiday has scored at least 20 points in four of his last five games. … The Bucks led 32-13 at the end of the first quarter. That’s the lowest first-quarter point total the Bucks have allowed all season. … The Bucks have won 10 of their last 11 meetings with the Wizards. They lost 101-94 at Washington on Nov. 7 but have beaten the Wizards two straight times in Milwaukee since. … The Bucks shot 51.9% on Thursday after shooting 61% two nights earlier in a 126-98 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
Wizards: At Detroit on Friday to close a three-game trip. The Wizards will be looking to sweep all four games in their regular-season series with the Pistons.
Bucks: At Memphis on Saturday to start a three-game trip. The Bucks beat the Grizzlies 126-114 in Milwaukee on January 19.