With the LA ClippersAntetokounmpo was defended in full scramble mode, leaving the color as wide open as a runway. He was cleared for launch, and the two-time reigning MVP threw off a massive slam that made him gallop for joy with a smile the size of Lake Michigan.
Antetokounmpos thunderous immersion was the exclamation point at the end of a brilliant performance that saw the Bucks star drop 36 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks on the Clippers to lead the Bucks to one Win 105-100 on Sunday at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.
Even more impressive than this elite statistic was the way Antetokounmpo put the Clippers away and closed a seven-point deficit by outperforming LA 17-10 in the final 8 minutes and 30 seconds. He added two blocks of type NBA Defensive Player of the Year Ivica Zubac on a dunk attempt on the edge and got a piece of one Kawhi Leonard Fadeaway from behind on a help game.
Giannis Antetokounmpo denies Ivica Zubac’s attempt at dunking with a huge block.
“It was an individual pride,” said Antetokounmpo of joining the teammate Khris Middleton in taking over the Clippers all-star duo from Leonard and Paul George. “It’s pride. It’s an ego thing. Personally, I love it when I walk the track.
“I feel great,” added Antetokounmpo. “When you go up against the best in the world and you try to stop and they try to meet you to win the game, that is when greatness develops.”
The Clippers (24-12) came to this meeting against Antetokounmpo and the Bucks to show that they have improved since last season when they lost both meetings to the Bucks, including an embarrassing 119-91 defeat in Milwaukee December 6th. 2019.
Instead, in the final minutes of Sunday, the Clippers saw Milwaukee beat them in the same way they strive to win games. The best player of the bucks competed like the MVP he has on the track. The top two two-way players, Antetokounmpo and Middleton, took on the challenge of defending the opposing team’s stars and were given stops to win the game.
In the fourth quarter, Leonard and George shot together 3:15 for a total of six points. After Leonard (25 points, 9 rebounds) hit 4:01 on a 13-foot jumper, he and George missed the Clippers’ last nine shots over the final 3:23.
In the last three possessions of the Clippers, where they left three points or less behind, they passed only one missed 3-point attempt by Leonard and George, which ended with 16 points, 7 assists and 7 rebounds, but only 2 for-were 10 in 3-point attempts.
If the Clippers were at their best this season, they’ve moved the ball like a pinball machine, missing good strokes for even better strokes. But with losses against title contenders in the Brooklyn networks and now Milwaukee, the Clippers couldn’t come down the track, relying on their two stars to try to create and bring opposing stars together in crunch time.
“As a team, I don’t have the feeling we’re there yet,” said Leonard, who continues to be positive about the Clippers building, which is going where they want to be. “We’re looking for games on the sidelines. I feel like our pace has slowed down a lot.
“But you have to do them credit. They locked themselves in and adjusted to us, and they got hold of when they needed it. Just so we can get better, I have the feeling we have to take a better step, open the ground, just get. ” I felt like we were stagnating a bit. “
This wasn’t the only area where the clippers couldn’t get traction. They were surpassed in transition points with 22-2 and only went seven times to the line, while the bucks shot 22 free throws.
“I just have to keep being aggressive to get the color,” said Leonard. “Besides me and PG, we have to keep attacking. I feel like we come down a lot, it’s a pass, a shot or we just shoot from the pick and roll. We have a good ball movement. I think we I grab that color on, me and PG, and then the shots go off. But we get better. “
Giannis Antetokounmpo shows no mercy on the edge with a one-hand jam.
Leonard watched during the game Jrue Holiday went to Antetokounmpo, who returned it to a cutting holiday that passed out Pat Connaughtonswinging the ball to Middleton who eventually found Antetokounmpo open to that powerful drive and slam that gave the Bucks a 103-100 lead by 10.3 seconds and sent the MVP into a joyous celebration.
It was the kind of ball movement the Clippers make when their offense is flowing. In the following game, George went to Leonard, who started a 27-foot competition 3 with a 7.3 second lead and missed.
After the game, Clippers coach Ty Lue asked several questions about what went wrong and what his team learned from that defeat.
“We just lost the game, that’s it,” said Lue, who will try to get his team back on track Boston Celtics on Tuesday. “We shot 44 3s, only made 14, and I thought we had a lot of good looks that we didn’t do. Defensively, I thought we were pretty good outside of the transition. But we lost the game. OK.
“All of these people are acting like they do all over the world.”
Antetokounmpo’s world is doing pretty well right now. The Bucks (21-13) have bounced back from a five-game slide with a five-game winning streak. And the last win came against Leonard, who helped that Toronto Raptors eliminate Antetokounmpo and the dollars in the Eastern Conference finals two seasons ago.
“When we lost five, a lot of people panicked,” said Antetokounmpo. “Now the five of us win and nobody’s talking about it. That’s how it goes.
“To be able to get out, get out … that’s what matters. This is important … it’s not over yet. We’re not done yet. We could lose seven games again, 10 Hopefully not. I don’t want to publish it in the universe. [But] There is no panic. “