Giannis-less Bucks stun the Suns behind Lillard's big game

<a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Milwaukee;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Milwaukee</a>'s <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Damian Lillard;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Damian Lillard</a>, at right driving against Phoenix's <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Bradley Beal;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Bradley Beal</a>, scored 31 points and added 16 assists in a 140-129 NBA victory over the visiting <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Suns;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Suns</a> (Patrick McDermott)

Damian Lillard delivered with teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo out due to a hamstring injury, scoring 31 points and distributing 16 assists in Milwaukee's 140-129 NBA triumph over Phoenix on Sunday.

Reserve Bobby Portis added 31 points and 10 rebounds for the host Bucks, who improved to 44-24 and tightened their grip on second in the Eastern Conference.

Lillard, the first player in Bucks history with 30 points and 15 assists in the same game, praised Portis and others for stepping up with Greek superstar Antetokounmpo sidelined.

"It was huge," Lillard said. "One of our biggest strengths is our depth. Bobby Portis is a starter on any other team but for our team he knows what his job is.

"Down a guy like Giannis, you know everybody is going to have to step their game up. We've been in this situation a couple of times this year and every time he has come through and delivered.

"I knew I wouldn't have to come out and overdo it. Feed him. Feed everybody else, pick my spots and be aggressive."

Lillard had 14 points and 12 assists in the first half as Milwaukee took an 82-60 half-time edge, the Bucks matching an NBA record held by the Suns and Utah by making 18 first-half 3-pointers.

Portis had 25 first-half points on 10-of-13 shooting, going 5-of-5 from beyond the arc as the Bucks went 24-of-41 from 3-point range overall.

"It's fun after all the work you put in," Portis said. "Just having good teammates and coaches that believe in you. We go through this marathon 82-game season together and try to build great camaraderie and chemistry."

Lillard made 10-of-19 shots from the floor, 7-of-7 free throws and 4-of-8 from 3-point range, including a buzzer-beater from the mid-court logo to give the Bucks a 109-94 lead after three quarters.

"They probably thought with Giannis out, I was going to just try and force it. I just took advantage of what their defense was doing," said Lillard. "When we play that way, we play our best -- and I think I play my best."

Milwaukee's Khris Middleton, who missed 16 games with a sprained left ankle, added 22 points in his return.

Bradley Beal led the Suns with 28 points while Grayson Allen added 25 and Devin Booker netted 23.

- Two epic buzzer-beaters -

Kyrie Irving sank a left-handed 20-foot floater shot at the final buzzer to give Dallas a 107-105 home victory over Denver, snapping the Nuggets' five-game win streak.

Denver's Jamal Murray scored 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, hitting a 3-pointer to cap a 20-4 Nuggets run for a 105-102 lead.

NBA scoring leader Luka Doncic, the Slovenian guard who had 23 of his game-high 37 points in the first half, answered on a 3-pointer and a Murray miss set up Irving's winner.

Irving finished with 24 points, nine assists and seven rebounds as Dallas improved to 39-29, seventh in the Western Conference.

Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic added 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets, who fell to 47-21 and out of a share of the West lead with Oklahoma City.

Bam Adebayo's 30-foot 3-pointer at the final buzzer gave Miami a 104-101 victory at Detroit. Adebayo finished with 20 points and a game-high 17 rebounds.

Miami's Duncan Robinson, who scored a game-high 30 points, became the fastest player in NBA history to make 1,000 3-pointers, hitting the milestone on Sunday in his 343rd contest, seven fewer than Bahamian Buddy Hield's old mark.

Boston's Sam Hauser scored a career-high 30 points on 10-of-13 shooting, all on 3-pointers, before being sidelined by a left ankle sprain in the Celtics' 130-104 victory at Washington.

Jayson Tatum also had 30 points for Boston, who improved the NBA's best record to 53-14 with a fifth consecutive triumph while NBA-worst Washington fell to 11-57.

French rookie Victor Wembanyama had game-highs of 33 points, 16 rebounds and seven blocks plus seven assists to power host San Antonio's 122-115 overtime victory over Brooklyn.

Paolo Banchero scored 29 points to lead host Orlando over Toronto 111-96 while Dejounte Murray's 21 points led Atlanta's 110-93 victory at the Los Angeles Clippers.