Antetokounmpo-led Bucks aiming for 5-0 start
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Giannis Antetokounmpo is now linked to Wilt Chamberlain for their fast starts.
With four straight games of at least 25 points and 15 rebounds, Antetokounmpo joined Chamberlain (1965-66 with the Philadelphia 76ers) on a small list of players to start that quickly.
Antetokounmpo's association with Chamberlain is among the reasons why Milwaukee remains unbeaten heading into Friday's visit to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
On Wednesday, he totaled 32 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists for his 10th career triple-double as Milwaukee improved to 4-0 with a 123-108 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
"He impressed me with something new nightly," said Bucks center Brook Lopez, who competed against Antetokounmpo while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets before becoming his teammate this season. "Every game, I just step back for a second as a fan and I'm like, 'Wow, I can't believe, I just saw that.' "
In his first four games, Antetokounmpo is averaging 28.5 points and 16.5 rebounds to go along with 6.8 assists while also shooting 47.4 percent. By comparison, Chamberlain averaged 39 points and 25.3 rebounds through the first four games but unlike Antetokounmpo, his team dropped the fourth game.
Chamberlain's streak ended in the fifth game when he totaled 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Going back to last season, Antetokounmpo has 10 games with at least 25 points and 15 rebounds and the Bucks are 9-1. In his career when he reaches those marks, the Bucks are 9-4.
Milwaukee is 4-0 for the third time in team history. The Bucks began 4-0 in 2001-02 when they were coming off an appearance in the Eastern Conference finals and in 1971-72 when they won their first seven games en route to a 63-19 season.
Antetokounmpo's 66 rebounds are the most in team history through the first four games, six more than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1972-73.
Besides Antetokounmpo matching Chamberlain, others are contributing to the fast start under first-year coach Mike Budenholzer.
Khris Middleton scored 25 Wednesday and is averaging 24.3 points while Lopez added 21 on a night when the Bucks went from allowing 64 points in the first half to holding the 76ers 44 in the second half, including 17 in the third quarter.
"We've got to have our defense there no matter what we are doing on the other end," Budenholzer said after the Bucks set season lows for points allowed in a half and in a quarter. "When you do that, you can keep a lead and maybe build a lead."
The last time the Bucks raced out of the gate with four straight wins, they ran into the Timberwolves and took a 14-point loss. At the time, the Timberwolves were also unbeaten but this time they are 2-3.
Minnesota is facing an unbeaten opponent for the second straight game.
The Wolves are hoping Friday goes better than Wednesday, when they could not stop Kawhi Leonard and were handed a 112-105 loss at Toronto. Leonard torched the Wolves for 35 and Minnesota trailed by as many as 17 while allowing 51.7 percent shooting.
The Wolves could not keep pace with Leonard defensively and offensively. Jimmy Butler led Minnesota with 23 but Karl Anthony-Towns was held to 14 on 5-of-17 shooting. Towns has one 20-point game so far and is shooting 42.6 percent.
"This is an anomaly to me," Towns said. "This is something that won't happen usually. I go into the gym, work hard, I know what I put into my craft. When it comes to the next game, I'll be ready to go."
Andrew Wiggins did not play Wednesday with a right quad contusion and missed his second career game. He was injured in Monday's win over Indiana and is listed as questionable.
If Wiggins sits out again, rookie Josh Okogie would likely start at forward. He played 24 minutes Monday and finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds in 27 minutes Wednesday.
The Wolves are 2-0 at home and trying to win their first three home games for the first time since 2012-13 and sixth time overall
Milwaukee has won six of the last eight meetings with Minnesota. Last season, the Bucks rallied from 20 points down to get a 102-96 home win on Dec. 28 while the Wolves held Milwaukee to 37.6 percent from the floor and posted a 108-89 on Feb. 1.
Updated October 25, 2018