Dec. 20 (UPI) — Reigning NBA MVP and Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 34 points and had 11 rebounds and seven assists to lead his team to a win over LeBron James‘ Los Angeles Lakers in a clash of the league’s two best clubs.
Antetokounmpo’s effort overcame a James triple-double and a game-high 36 points from Anthony Davis in the 111-104 triumph Thursday at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. The win pushed the Bucks’ record to an NBA-best 25-4 while the Lakers dropped to 24-5.
“It’s great that we are the No. 1 team in the NBA right now, but we might see them at the end of the season,” Antetokounmpo told reporters. “Nobody is going to remember this regular season game.”
The Bucks bench outscored Los Angeles’ bench 34-4 in the win, leading to the Lakers’ second consecutive loss.
”We continue to build chemistry, we continue to build camaraderie,” James said. ”Pretty much every time anyone does anything, we pretty much do it together on the road. Just kind of have that bunker mentality, that brotherhood when we hit the road.”
Veteran guard George Hill paced the Bucks with 10 points in the first quarter to lead his team to a 23-17 advantage. Antetokounmpo poured in 11 second-quarter points to push the Bucks to a 65-46 halftime lead. The Lakers responded by outscoring Milwaukee 58-46 in the second half, but could not completely close the gap.
James logged 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in the loss and Davis 10 rebounds and five assists, in addition to his 36 points.
”I wasn’t the No. 1 pick. [Davis] was, LeBron was,” Antetokounmpo said after the game, referring to the top selections of the 2012 and 2003 NBA Drafts. ”I wasn’t supposed to be here. I wasn’t supposed to go up against these two beasts. So I’m just happy that I’m here and happy that I’m going through the process and I always want to be better, do better for my team and that’s what gives me joy.”