MILWAUKEE (AP) — John Henson scored 21 points, Michael Carter-Williams had seven points and eight assists in his Milwaukee debut, and the Bucks built a big early lead against the point guard’s former team in a 104-88 win Wednesday night over the Philadelphia 76ers.
Khris Middleton added 19 points for Milwaukee, which led by as many as 29.
Jason Richardson scored 16 for the 76ers, who lost their fifth straight game.
Carter-Williams went from one of the NBA’s worst teams to a surprising upstart vying for the playoffs. The 6-foot-6 floor general broke down defenders and used his long arms to guard on the perimeter.
The addition of Carter-Williams also moved Jerryd Bayless back to his regular role as a spark off the bench.
Bayless and Henson were instrumental reserves in a 32-point second quarter that ended with the Bucks leading 61-32 at halftime.
Philadelphia looked lost early in its final stop on a three-game road trip before rallying late at a listless Bradley Center. Fans were lulled by a sloppy game that was never close after the opening minutes.
The Sixers couldn’t recover from a first quarter in which they shot 5 of 20 and committed nine turnovers.
Philadelphia started a backcourt of Isaiah Canaan and Richardson in facing its former point guard, with the duo combining for eight assists — matching Carter-Williams’ total through three quarters.
Carter-Williams, returning from a six-game absence for a strained right foot, didn’t play in the fourth quarter. The Bucks acquired him at the trade deadline in part for his heady play and potential as a distributor.
He must have made coach and former NBA point guard Jason Kidd proud when he drove past taller defenders into the lane before curling a pass to the corner to Middleton. His open teammate hit a 3-pointer for a 69-44 lead with about 6:40 left in the third quarter.
Carter-Williams showed flashes of emotion. He shouted “Let’s go!” and pumped his arms after his second dunk of the first quarter.
He and rangy 6-foot-11 forward Giannis Antetokounmpo each had two steals in the opening 6-plus minutes to set the early defensive tone for Milwaukee.
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