Gianni’s 47 points fuel Bucks over Lakers

Friday, November 19th, 2021 00:00 |
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks dunks during the first half of a game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Fiserv Forum on November 17, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo/AFP

Los Angeles, Thursday

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 47 points and Khris Middleton grabbed a slice of Milwaukee franchise history as the NBA champion Bucks beat the Los Angeles Lakers 109-102 on Wednesday.

Antetokounmpo out-muscled a Lakers lineup still missing injured superstar LeBron James, along with Trevor Ariza and Kendrick Nunn.

He set a tone with 17 points in the first quarter and combined with Middleton late to thwart a Lakers rally bid.

“I wanted to be the aggressor out there,” said Antetokounmpo, whose points total was his highest since he posted 50 in the Bucks’ championship-clinching victory over the Phoenix Suns in game six of last season’s NBA Finals.

“I wanted to initiate the contact, get in the paint, make the right play and just play with an edge out there,” added the two-time league MVP, who added nine rebounds and three assists with one steal and one blocked shot.

With 29 seconds remaining, he sealed the game with two free throws.

The Lakers had rallied from an 11-point first-half deficit and led 87-86 with 9:29 left to play.

Middleton, playing in his first game since October 30 after completing Covid-19 protocols, combined with Antetokounmpo on nine straight Bucks points that put Milwaukee up 95-91.

Middleton’s 16 points included a brace of three-pointers in the fourth quarter that gave Milwaukee the lead for good and tied him with Ray Allen for most in Bucks history with 1,051.

“That’s a very, very special place to be,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.

Talen-Horton Tucker led the Lakers with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Anthony Davis, nursing a sore hip in the final period, scored 18 points and Russell Westbrook added 19 points and 15 assists for Los Angeles.

The Brooklyn Nets bounced back from a lopsided 117-99 loss to the Golden State Warriors with a 109-99 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Barclays Center. - AFP

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