Khris Middleton scored 26 points and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Dallas Mavericks 102-95 on Thursday night with the superstar for each team sidelined because of COVID-19.
The Bucks were without two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo for the fifth consecutive game because of health and safety protocols.
Luka Doncic sat for the first time for that reason. The Mavericks had been hopeful their 22-year-old sensation could return against the reigning NBA champions after missing five games with left ankle soreness. Instead, Doncic is one of seven Dallas players out for COVID-19 reasons.
Doncic backup Jalen Brunson scored 19 points, again leading the Mavericks in the two-time All-Star's absence.
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Jrue Holiday scored 24 points and DeMarcus Cousins had a season-high 22 points and eight rebounds as the Bucks improved to 3-2 since Antetokounmpo entered the protocols.
While Middleton was 8 of 14 from the field, made all eight free throws and had seven assists in his second game back for Milwaukee after missing three with a left knee injury, the Mavericks were without their second-leading scorer in Kristaps Porzingis.
The oft-injured, 7-foot-3 Latvian missed a second consecutive game with a right toe injury and has been sidelined for nine games with three different injuries this season. Porzingis also had back and knee issues.
The Mavericks have six players on 10-day contracts under the COVID-19 allowance after adding four since beating Minnesota without three of their top four scorers Tuesday.
Dallas couldn't do it again.
Five of the short-notice additions played against the Bucks, who are without another double-figure scorer in Bobby Portis Jr. and made their first move under the COVID-19 guidelines Thursday by signing Javin DeLaurier. He didn't play.
Marquese Chriss led the Dallas replacements with 13 points before fouling out, while all five starters scored in double figures. But the Mavericks shot 27% from 3-point distance, with Dorian Finney-Smith and Frank Ntilinkina combining to go 4 of 19.
Milwaukee didn't have any other scorers in double figures, but Pat Connaughton scored seven of his nine points in the fourth quarter.
Porzingis was listed as questionable and went through his pregame warmup routine before getting ruled out. Dallas coach Jason Kidd said the toe injury is improving. ... Mavericks F Eugene Omoruyi had surgery on his right big toe and is unlikely to return this season. The undrafted rookie from Oregon saw limited action in four games. ... This was Kidd's first meeting with Milwaukee as a head coach since the Bucks fired him midseason in 2017-18.
Both teams are part of the Christmas Day lineup Saturday.
Milwaukee: At home against Boston, looking to keep the Celtics from clinching the season series. Boston won the first two meetings at home.
Dallas: At Utah in the final game of the day. The Mavericks lost both in a two-game set at the Jazz last season.