MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a season-high 47 points in defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 109–102, to finally win at home since their season opener on Oct. 19; improving the defending champions’ record to 7–8.
Bucks Khris Middleton added 16 points, from 4 of 12 shooting, in his first game back after having missed eight games due to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus that causes the disease COVID-19.
Middleton’s second three-point shot with 8:43 remaining in the game cushioned their last lead change, and also tied Ray Allen for the most three-pointers made, 1,051, in Bucks franchise history.
“It’s good to have Khris back.” Said Antetokounmpo, “It’s good to win. “It’s good to play good basketball and compete offensively and defensively. “We have to get back on track and build out of this.”
Antetokounmpo established dominance inside, and also made shots from all over the court.
Statistically, Antetokounmpo shot an incredible 78 percent, 18 of 23 total with 3 of 4 three-pointers, and was 8 of 11 from the free-throw line. He also added nine rebounds, three assists, and a block.
“I wanted to be the aggressor out there,” Antetokounmpo said. “I wanted to initiate the contact, get in the paint, make the right play, and just play with an edge out there. I put myself in good position offensively, and put my teammates in a good offensive position also.”
Bucks Bobby Portis scored 17 points and had five rebounds; while Pat Connaughton came off of the bench contributing 16 points.
The two teams won the past two NBA championships, but both have struggled due to injuries so far in the first month of the season.
The Lakers hope to have LeBron James return Friday from an abdominal strain injury. They have a record of 3–5 without their superstar.
“It’s a part of the game,” said Anthony Davis, “Same thing with the team we just played. They’ve been hit with injuries as well. It kind of goes with the league, the business of the game. You go out there and put your body on the line every night, God forbid, something is going to happen in the course of a season.”
Davis scored 18 points and had nine rebounds and two blocks.
Talen Horton-Tucker led the Lakers with 25 points following a career-high 28 against the Bulls on Monday.
Russell Westbrook also contributed with 19 points and 15 assists for his eighth double-double this season.
The Lakers rallied back from a 12 point deficit throughout the third quarter; which included a 9–0 run to take a lead of 79–78 with 3:12 remaining in the quarter.
Lakers would keep it close and take their last lead with Malik Monk’s 9-foot floater with 9:29 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Antetokounmpo and company maintained solid control from then on to close out a 109–102 victory.
Up next for the Lakers is the second of a five-game road trip at Boston on Friday.
And the Bucks host Oklahoma City on Friday.