NBA: Giannis Antetokounmpo stars as Bucks stun Cavaliers

Milwaukee Bucks' forward Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece chases a loose ball in the first half of their NBA game at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Nov 29, 2016.
Milwaukee Bucks' forward Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece chases a loose ball in the first half of their NBA game at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Nov 29, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Giannis Antetokounmpo exploded for 34 points as the Milwaukee Bucks blew away the reigning National Basketball Association champions Cleveland Cavaliers 118-101 on Tuesday in a stunning upset.

Antetokounmpo, 21, also grabbed 12 rebounds and contributed five assists as a Cavaliers side featuring both LeBron James and Kyrie Irving struggled to find their best form.

Greek international 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.

It was a sweet victory for former Cavs player Matthew Dellavedova, a key back-up in last year's championship-winning team, who joined the Bucks in the close season in order to secure a starting spot.

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$142.5 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 the Bucks were wise to invest in the 6ft 11in son of Nigerian immigrants who was born in Athens in 1994.