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Bucks edge Raptors in battle of top Eastern teams


The Milwaukee Bucks bounced back from a disappointing defeat with a big win in Toronto on Sunday, edging the Raptors 104-99 in a battle of the NBA's top Eastern Conference teams.

The Raptors still own the best record in the league at 21-7, but they suffered a second straight defeat after falling 106-105 to the Brooklyn Nets on Friday.

Malcolm Brogdon's back-to-back three-pointers with 1:07 remaining first tied the score then put the Bucks up 100-97, a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

Brogdon scored 18 points. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 19 and matched his season-high with 19 rebounds for Milwaukee, who fell to the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors on Friday.

Brook Lopez also scored 19 for Milwaukee, who became the first team to beat the Raptors twice this season.

"We came off a tough loss to the Warriors, we knew we needed this one going into this back-to-back," Brogdon said. The Bucks, who improved to 17-8, host Cleveland on Monday.

He said shaking off the loss to Golden State wasn't difficult.

"We're a really good team this year," he said. "We have a lot of confidence in ourselves. We're resilient. We've got a coach that has confidence in us every night win or lose."

Toronto have dropped two straight for the second time this season and have lost three of their last four.

Serge Ibaka scored 22 points and Kawhi Leonard had 20 for the Raptors. But Kyle Lowry went scoreless for the first time this season, missing all five of his shots.

He did produce seven assists, and Toronto coach Nick Nurse said the Raptors didn't play badly offensively.

"We did a lot of things well enough to win the game, but we just didn't score," said Nurse, who admitted to concern over missed shots at the rim and missed open looks from the perimeter.

"That's more the question," he said of solving those shooting woes. "Can we get a little confidence back, get a little pep in our step?"

- Holiday fuels Pelicans -

Jrue Holiday and Julius Randle combined for 65 points to lead the New Orleans Pelicans past the Detroit Pistons 116-108.

Holiday and Randle rose to the occasion after star teammate Anthony Davis was hobbled by a sore hip after a clash with Detroit's Blake Griffin in the first quarter.

Davis returned to the game in the third period but finished with just six points on two-of-seven shooting with nine rebounds, four assists and five blocks.

"He was probably 50 percent," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. "But just having him out there -- defensively I thought he did a great job for us.

Holiday filled the void with 37 points, one shy of his career high. He tied a career-best with six three-pointers. He pulled down five rebounds, handed out five assists and came up with three steals.

Randle added 28 points with six rebounds and five assists.

"Everybody stepped up and played well when we needed them to," Gentry said. "Obviously, Jrue did a fantastic job controlling the game."

Elsewhere, the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Utah Jazz 110-97, avenging a 34-point loss to the Jazz on December 4.

DeMar DeRozan scored 26 points and Rudy Gay had 23 points and 15 rebounds as the Spurs put together two straight wins for the first time since they won four straight from October 27-November 3.

The victory was the 1,210th of coach Gregg Popovich's career, moving him into a tie with Pat Riley for fourth place in NBA history.

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