Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 54 points lead Bucks over fading Clippers


Los Angeles Clippers' Kawhi Leonard knocks the ball from Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard knocks the ball from Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo throughout the very first half on Thursday in Milwaukee. ( Morry Gash/ Associated Press)

The Buck didn’t stop at the three-point line.

He didn’t stop at the free-throw line, either.

Again and once again, Giannis Antetokounmpo utilized his dribble to bulldoze through, or past, Clippers protectors and into the paint, his size and 54 points conquering every challenge Thursday in a 106-105 Milwaukee resurgence— including what had actually when been a 21- point Clippers lead.

Built like the Parthenon and provided unlimited freedom to bring the ball upcourt, the much better to collect a head of steam for among his drives, Antetokounmpo appeared unstoppable when it mattered, his 20 points outscoring all the Clippers integrated in the 4th quarter, 20-18

” We understood Greek was going to rating,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue stated, “I didn’t understand he was going to rating 54.”

But the Clippers didn’t be up to 29-26 and directly missed out on an unusual chance to beat a winning group due to the fact that of Antetokounmpo alone. Under pressure by the defense of Bucks guards Jrue Holiday and Wesley Matthews, who avoided switches in order to adhere to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers’ offense shot simply eight-for-25 in the 4th quarter and didn’t rating at all in the last 3 minutes, 51 seconds, a strangely comparable outcome to the last time Leonard and George dealt with the Bucks here 2 years earlier and the offense once again failed when seclusion plays stopped working to create points in the last minutes.

After a career-high 11 successive video games with a minimum of 24 points, Leonard missed out on 2 shots in the video game’s last 18 seconds with an opportunity to win.

Leonard initially attempted dealing with Holiday, the recently called All-Star reserve, however his fadeaway jumper misfired. Prior to the Clippers might nasty, Antetokounmpo tossed the ball out of bounds. Paid for another opportunity, Leonard once again managed the ball one on one. He attempted separating versus Matthews, however was cornered and his dive shot once again missed out on as 4 colleagues seen on the court’s opposite as time ended.

” A great deal of simple shots we missed out on,” Leonard stated. “Give credit to them, they played remarkable defense.”

Leonard made 7 of his 26 shots, shooting one for 8 in the 4th quarter, for 17 points. George, called an All-Star reserve prior to tipoff, had 16 points on six-of-16 shooting, however made one of his 5 shots in the last quarter. Norman Powell, on the other hand, didn’t conjecture in the last 4: 17 in spite of a team-high 26 points.

” I informed [Leonard], I informed P, I indicate, the shots he’s missing out on, those are the ones that he deal with,” Powell stated. “I’ve seen him make those numerous times, that’s why I’m not truly tripping if I get the ball or not, guy.

” … I’ve seen him make that from the corner fading, midrange to send us to the [2019 Eastern Conference] finals. You’ve simply got to live and pass away with those things like that however those men understand they’re going to change next time they’re in that scenario, I believe it’s going to be a various outcome.”

Clippers' Norman Powell drives between Milwaukee Bucks' Jevon Carter and Giannis Antetokounmpo during the second half.

Clippers’ Norman Powell drives in between Milwaukee Bucks’ Jevon Carter and Giannis Antetokounmpo throughout the 2nd half on Thursday in Milwaukee. ( Morry Gash/ Associated Press)

Lue likewise stated he was great with the shots taken late since when Milwaukee (35-17) didn’t double-team the group’s stars, it didn’t produce an opening for the ball to swing to Powell on the other side, permitting him to assault his protector liquidating.

” Kawhi, I like his match every night,” Lue stated. “If we can publish Kawhi, get him to his areas, I like that.”

Victorious 2 days previously when getting rid of a 19- point deficit, the Clippers led by 15 in the very first quarter by stopping Antetokounmpo’s very first efforts to get to the rim, and 21 in the 3rd quarter. When Milwaukee pulled inefficient center Brook Lopez– the Bucks were outscored by 32 points in his 23 minutes– and got Holiday going offensively in the 3rd quarter after Holiday’s one-for-nine shooting start, the video game slanted towards Milwaukee and Antetokounmpo, a most important gamer of the routine season and NBA Finals, kept running downhill towards the rim.

Of his 54 points, 30 were scored in the paint, on 65% shooting. Foul difficulty on beginning center Ivica Zubac required the Clippers– who do not have a backup huge male in their rotation, one week prior to the trade due date– into a little lineup rather of enabling the Clippers to mirror their 7-footer’s minutes with Antetokounmpo’s. Zubac, handed the hardest task of the night to blunt Antetokounmpo’s brute-force offense, fouled out with 1: 47 staying.

” We did what we were expected to,” George stated, “all the method up till the last couple minutes.”

But this video game exposed as much about the chess match in between 2 title competitors as it did about the method the Clippers see their rotation one week prior to the trade due date.

Lue has actually stated he chooses a nine-man rotation. With Marcus Morris Sr. going back to the beginning lineup after a four-game lack due to the fact that of a bruised rib, guard Luke Kennard returned to the bench and did not play in a coach’s choice linked to Lue’s avoidance of three-guard lineups he as soon as utilized to include off the bench. In current weeks, he has actually acknowledged the protective imperfections of playing 3 little reserve guards together is illogical, therefore while Powell and Reggie Jackson saw time versus the Bucks, Kennard viewed as Lue’s nine-man rotation went as deep as Robert Covington, the 6-foot-8 forward. Even Covington played just 6 minutes, consisting of none in the 2nd half.

Still unanswered is John Wall’s function moving on, upon his go back to action. Wall has actually missed out on the last 11 video games with a stomach injury and stated Thursday early morning’s shootaround was the very first time he had actually played full-court because the Jan. 13 injury; Wall stated he does not have a target return date. In his lack Jackson has actually restored his worth as a guard Lue rely on closing video games, which he did Thursday along with 2 days prior to in Chicago.

This story initially appeared in Los Angeles Times

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