Cavaliers top night of shocks

Milwaukee forward Giannis Antetokounmpo going up for a basket between Cleveland forward Kevin Love (left) and guard J.R. Smith, while guard Kyrie Irving provides cover. The Bucks upset the Cavaliers 118-101.
Milwaukee forward Giannis Antetokounmpo going up for a basket between Cleveland forward Kevin Love (left) and guard J.R. Smith, while guard Kyrie Irving provides cover. The Bucks upset the Cavaliers 118-101.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Bucks stun champs on Antetokounmpo's 34 points; Spurs and Clippers also slump

MILWAUKEE (Wisconsin) • Giannis Antetokounmpo led a night of upsets in the National Basketball Association (NBA) on Tuesday night with 34 points, as the Milwaukee Bucks stunned LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 118-101.

The Greek international also grabbed 12 rebounds and contributed five assists, as a Cavs side featuring both James and Kyrie Irving failed to fire.

Antetokounmpo was ably supported by Jabari Parker (18 points) and Michael Beasley (17), as the Bucks scored a win which improves their season to 8-8.

The Cavs' loss saw the champions fall to 13-3 for the season. James finished with 22 points to lead the scoring for the Cavs, ahead of Irving with 20 points at the BMO Harris Bradley Centre.

But the star of the night was Antetokounmpo, who became one of the highest-paid players in the NBA earlier this year when he inked a US$100 million (S$142.6 million) four-year deal worth around US$25 million a season.

Last season, the giant forward averaged 16.9 points, 7.7 rebounds. 4.3 assists and 1.4 blocks in 80 games.

So far this season, Antetokounmpo is averaging 22 points per game, suggesting that the Bucks were wise to invest in him.

"We were moving the ball and we didn't stop moving the ball," he said.

"Our pace was great, we rebounded the ball well and we moved the ball in the offensive end."

James, on the other hand, said the Cavs have been caught napping.

"We let our guard down a little bit," he said.

"They pushed up the tempo and we didn't get stops. I came out of the game when we were up 10 and we let them go on a quick run to end the quarter. From that point on they got into a rhythm and they're a rhythm team."

While the Bucks' upset win was the biggest shock of the day, various in-form teams also ended up losing to unheralded opposition.

San Antonio's nine-game winning streak came to an abrupt halt, when the Western Conference giants crashed to a 95-83 defeat by the Orlando Magic.

Serge Ibaka scored 18 points, while Nikola Vucevic added 12 points and 10 rebounds as the Magic silenced the Spurs fans at the AT&T Centre.

The victory ended a four-game losing streak for Orlando, who improved to 7-11 with the win. San Antonio slipped to 14-4 after the loss.

The Spurs saw any chance of victory slip away in the fourth quarter when they missed seven straight shots in a point-less 4min 10sec spell.

It was also Orlando's first win over San Antonio in 11 meetings dating back to 2010.

Spurs star Kawhi Leonard led the scoring for the home side with 21 points, with LaMarcus Aldridge adding 16 points and Manu Ginobili chipping in with 13.

In New York, the Los Angeles Clippers fell to 14-5 against the Brooklyn Nets, with the underdogs improving their record to 5-12 after a wild 127-122 win in double overtime.

Sean Kilpatrick was the hero for the Nets, finishing with a career-high 38 points - 31 of them coming after the third quarter - as Brooklyn reeled in the Clippers who at one stage had led by 18 points.

A stormy contest saw Clippers coach Doc Rivers ejected after an angry outburst at referee crew chief Ken Mauer. Rivers needed to be restrained by players before leaving the court in disgust.

The Cavs are currently top of the Eastern Conference standings, while the Spurs and the Clippers are second and third respectively in the Western Conference, behind the Golden State Warriors (16-2).

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2016, with the headline 'Cavaliers top night of shocks'. Print Edition | Subscribe