spot_img
29.6 C
Philippines
Thursday, May 23, 2024

Antetokounmpo scores 64 points in Bucks’ victory

- Advertisement -

Los Angeles—Giannis Antetokounmpo erupted for a career-high 64 points as the Milwaukee Bucks avenged last week’s in-season tournament exit to the Indiana Pacers with an ill-tempered 140-126 victory on Wednesday.

Former NBA Most Valuable Player Antetokounmpo was in scintillating form, shooting 20-of-28 from the field with 14 rebounds, three assists and four steals as the clash between the two highest-scoring teams in the NBA lived up to its billing.

Milwaukee were dumped out of the in-season tournament semi-finals in Las Vegas last week by the Pacers and were clearly determined to avoid a repeat of that loss before their home crowd at the Fiserv Forum.

The simmering tension between the teams boiled over in the fourth quarter when Indiana’s Aaron Nesmith wrapped an arm around Antetokounmpo’s neck as he drove for the basket.

Milwaukee’s Bobby Portis flew in to defend his team-mate before being dragged away in an ugly melee that involved officials and coaching staff from both benches.

The acrimony flared again after the final buzzer, with Antetokounmpo and other Milwaukee players racing off the court to confront members of the Pacers team.

Antetokounmpo, whose 64 points marked a franchise record, later re-emerged back onto the court to remonstrate with Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton.

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said the post-game fracas was triggered over a misunderstanding about the game-ball, snaffled by the Pacers after their Congolese rookie Oscar Tshiebwe scored his first NBA point off the bench. AFP

“We were not thinking about Giannis’s franchise record so we grabbed the ball and a couple of minutes later several of their players ended up in our hallway,” Carlisle said.

“There was a big fracas, melee whatever. I don’t think any punches landed but our general manager got an elbow in the ribs from one of their players.

“Unfortunate situation. It didn’t need to escalate to that.

“Third time we’ve played these guys in the past two to three weeks so things are heated and I understand all that. But for it to come into the hallway -– it didn’t need to happen that way.”

Wemby rally falls short

Elsewhere, Anthony Davis scored 37 points as the Los Angeles Lakers held off a dazzling late rally led by French prodigy Victor Wembanyama to edge past the San Antonio Spurs 122-119.

The Lakers, missing LeBron James after Tuesday’s defeat in Phoenix, looked to be cruising after leading for almost the entire game and opening up a 20-point advantage early in the fourth quarter at San Antonio’s Frost Bank Center.

But a stunning fightback by the home team -– who erupted for 45 points in the final quarter -– left the Lakers clinging on towards the end of regulation before they eventually scraped home.

Number one draft pick Wembanyama, denied his much-hoped-for match-up with James, excelled down the stretch with 14 points including two back-to-back three-pointers and a free throw that helped San Antonio get to within one point with 22 seconds remaining.

The San Antonio rally fell just short however, with Davis nailing four straight free throws to give the Lakers a five-point cushion in the closing seconds, effectively sealing the game.

Wembanyama, who arrived in the NBA this season being hailed as a once-in-a-generation talent, finished with 30 points, 13 rebounds, three steals and six blocks, earning admiration from Lakers linchpin Davis.

“Obviously there’s a lot of pressure on him, No.1 pick,” said Davis.

“But he can play. He’s been struggling a little bit but he showed up tonight… he’s one of them ones -– a generational talent. It was fun going against him tonight.”

Wembanyama received offensive support from Keldon Johnson with 28 points, while Malaki Branham added 19 points as San Antonio fell to a franchise record-extending 18th straight defeat.

The Lakers improved to 15-10 to remain in fifth place in the Western Conference.

In other games, reigning MVP Joel Embiid bagged 41 points in Philadelphia’s 129-111 drubbing of the hapless Detroit Pistons (2-2-22).

In Phoenix, Devin Booker had 34 points and Kevin Durant 27 but were unable to prevent the Suns from falling 116-112 to the Brooklyn Nets.

LATEST NEWS

Popular Articles