On Thursday night, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 50 points for the third time since the beginning of January, and his Milwaukee Bucks team rallied to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 106-105.
Antetokounmpo made 21 of 39 field goal attempts and pulled down 19 rebounds. Khris Middleton scored 16 points in reserve for Milwaukee despite playing only a small role in the final period. Jrue Holiday, a new All-Star selection, had 12 points and eight assists.
Los Angeles was paced by Norman Powell, who came off the bench to score 26 points on 9-for-16 shooting. Both Paul George and Marcus Morris Sr. scored 16 points, and Kawhi Leonard added 17 points and 11 rebounds. Both of Ivica Zubac’s double-double (12 points and 13 boards) came through his efforts. Powell has now scored 26 or more points in two straight games while serving as a bench player.
Milwaukee’s 15 first-quarter points were two more than its previous low for a single quarter this season, and the Bucks found themselves in a nine-point hole after the first period. However, the Bucks finished the first quarter on a 6-0 run that they expanded into a 16-1 surge in the second quarter, tying the game at 25.
But even so, the Bucks fell behind by as many as 21 points in the third period. Their deficit was reduced to single digits by the end of the third, and then Antetokounmpo scored 20 points in the final quarter to seal the deal.
Although effective, Antetokounmpo’s play almost lost Milwaukee the lead in the waning seconds. With 15 seconds remaining and the Bucks holding a one-point lead, the star threw the ball out of bounds, giving Los Angeles a chance to tie the game. However, Leonard’s potential game-winning jumper at the buzzer sailed harmlessly into the stands.
The Bucks have won six in a row and will finish their four-game homestand against the Miami Heat on Saturday night. After dropping their last two games, the Clippers continue their Eastern Conference road trip against the New York Knicks on Saturday night.