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Friday, December 20, 2019

Giannis Antetokounmpo unleashes 3-pointer to lead Bucks past Lakers in showdown of NBA's best

MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo caught a pass along the wing, saw that Anthony Davis was sinking far off him and the Greek Freak squared up from 28 feet. His 3-pointer darted through the air and rippled through the net, marking his career-high fifth triple of the night.

As he ran back down the court past the TNT broadcast desk, Antetokounmpo gave a wink. Before he got to the Milwaukee bench, Antetokounmpo raised his hands, made a circle out of his long, outstretched fingers and lowered his hands on each side of his head.
In the presence of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers — who entered the game with a 24-4 record matching Milwaukee for the league's best — the reigning MVP pronounced himself the new king. With 34 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, Antetokounmpo led an all-around impressive team effort as the Bucks knocked off the Lakers 111-104 in front of a raucous, sold-out Fiserv Forum crowd on Thursday night.

Antetokounmpo battled foul trouble throughout the second half but was otherwise fantastic. He impacted the game on both ends with his ferocity and athleticism while showcasing his newfound proficiency from 3-point range as he went 5-of-8 from downtown.
For all the years and all the time's people have wondered what would happen if Antetokounmpo developed a jump shot, the Greek Freak provided a clear answer.

As impressive as Antetokounmpo was, he didn't win the game alone. The Bucks, coming off a loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday that snapped their 18-game win streak, focused on tightening up their defense over the past two days and the results were obvious.

Wesley Matthews was stalwart against James, helping to hold him to 21 points on 8-of-19 shooting. James' new running mate, Davis, was slow to get going but heated up to score 28 of his 36 points after halftime. Brook Lopez was an anchor inside, racking up four steals and rejecting three shots. As a team, the Bucks finished with 14 steals and were able to turn 19 total Lakers turnovers into 15 points.

On offense, George Hill was a flamethrower off the bench, pouring in 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-5 on 3-pointers. Khris Middleton added 15 points, Matthews finished with 13 — including a critical, deep 3-pointer to help hold off a Lakers run with Antetokounmpo and Middleton sidelined by fouls — and Lopez chipped in 10.

The Bucks led for most of the game and never trailed in the second half to rack up their second statement home victory against a Los Angeles team this month.

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