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Giannis Antetokounmpo has opened 2022 in style with his second triple-double of the NBA season leading the Milwaukee Bucks to a 136-113 win at home over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday.
In four games since returning from COVID-19 protocols that caused him to miss five games, Antetokounmpo has averaged 33 points, 11.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists.
"I'm just trying to stay aggressive," Antetokounmpo said after his 35 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists helped Milwaukee to a sixth straight win.
"I feel I'm at my best when I'm aggressive, not just for me but the team because I can create open shots."
The two-time MVP's other triple-double this season came on December 12, when he had 20 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds in a victory over the New York Knicks.
New Orleans' Josh Hart narrowly missed a triple-double of his own with 14 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.
Jordan Nwora had 23 points and Jrue Holiday 21 for the Bucks who improved to 25-13, and third spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
Chicago extended their lead in the East after DeMar DeRozan hit a three-pointer at the buzzer for the second straight game to give the Bulls a 120-119 win at the Washington Wizards.
Kyle Kuzma's triple with 3.3 seconds left gave Washington a 119-117 lead, until DeRozan beat the Wizards in the same way he downed the Indiana Pacers on Friday.
"It's amazing, especially doing it on the road," DeRozan said.
"I don't know if I'm dreaming or if it's real right now."
DeRozan finished with 28 points and Zach LaVine had 35 to help the Bulls (24-10) to a seventh straight win, their longest streak since December 2014.
The Brooklyn Nets dropped a game behind Chicago after blowing a 13-point final-quarter lead to lose 120-116 at home to an undermanned Los Angeles Clippers.
Australia's Patty Mills fouled out with 4.47 left in the fourth having contributed 17 points, two assists and one steal.
Brooklyn failed to capitalise on James Harden's seventh triple-double (34 points, 13 assists, 12 rebounds) and Kevin Durant's 28 points and nine rebounds.
"We came here with a (bad) attitude to start, thinking we were just going to walk into a 'W,'" Nets coach Steve Nash said.
In Salt Lake City, it was first versus third in the West with the Golden State Warriors improving their NBA-best record to 27-7 with a come-from-behind 123-116 win against the Utah Jazz.
Aussie Joe Ingles only had two points for Utah (26-9) while Stephen Curry finished with a game-high 28 points, including 6-of-8 from beyond the arc. Curry has now made at least one three-pointer in 158 consecutive games, setting a new NBA record.
Elsewhere, the San Antonio Spurs suffered a 117-116 overtime defeat in Detroit against the Pistons while the Denver Nuggets routed the Houston Rockets 117-91.