Bucks cruise past Hawks without injured Antetokounmpo

Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton (24) leaves the court as center Robin Lopez (42) and Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins converse after an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 27, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)
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ATLANTA (AP) -- Khris Middleton scored 23 points, Ersan Ilyasova had season highs of 18 points and 17 rebounds and the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks overcame Giannis Antetokunmpo's absence to beat the Atlanta Hawks 112-86.

Antetokunmpo, the league MVP last season and second-leading scorer this season, sat out because of back soreness. He watched from the bench as his teammates helped Milwaukee improve to 28-5 overall and 13-3 on the road.  

Coach Mike Budenholzer ruled out Antetokounmpo, last season's NBA MVP and the second-leading scorer this season, before league-leading Milwaukee faced the Hawks.

Ersan Ilyasova started in Antetokounmpo's spot. It was too early to tell if Antetokounmpo also will sit out Saturday at Orlando.

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young left the game with a right ankle sprain late in the second quarter and did not return against Milwaukee.

Young was helped off the floor and was unable to put much weight on his leg. He was dribbling in the lane when his right ankle gave way and he fell to the floor.

Young ranks fourth in the NBA with a 29-point scoring average. He scored 12 points against the Bucks. The Hawks lost their ninth straight to drop to a league-worst 6-26.