Greek Freak flawless in 50-point romp

It took two opposition players in Utah's Donovan Mitchell and Royce O'Neale, and a foul, to stop Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo from driving to the basket in this play. The Bucks forward put in a dominant shift, scoring 50 in their 122-118 victory
It took two opposition players in Utah's Donovan Mitchell and Royce O'Neale, and a foul, to stop Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo from driving to the basket in this play. The Bucks forward put in a dominant shift, scoring 50 in their 122-118 victory. The Eastern Conference leaders have won eight in a row. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

MILWAUKEE • Giannis Antetokounmpo had one of his most dominant games in the National Basketball Association (NBA) on Monday night, and the Milwaukee Bucks needed every bit of it.

The "Greek Freak" scored a season-high 50 points and had 14 rebounds for his 17th consecutive double-double, to help his team rally in the second half to beat the Utah Jazz 122-118 for their eighth straight win.

"We threw everybody at him. We threw double teams and he made plays out of the post," said Jazz guard Mike Conley. "I was proud of the way we defended. We tried rebounding and tried to box him out, but he was too tall, too long."

Wesley Matthews had 19 points and Eric Bledsoe added 13 for the Eastern Conference leaders (14-3), who last lost on Nov 8, also against Utah.

Bojan Bogdanovic led the Jazz (11-6) with 24 points and Donovan Mitchell scored 20.

Antetokounmpo's streak of double-doubles is the longest to begin a season since Bill Walton opened with 34 straight in 1976-77.

The forward, who had 32 points in the second half, played 38 minutes and committed no turnovers.

"I'm impressed, I'm not going to lie to you," said the league's reigning Most Valuable Player.

"Great game and all that. My second 50-point game of my career. Doing it with zero turnovers and all that, that's great.

"I see that they made 21 threes (the Bucks had 13), and as a team we were still able to be in the game and still win the game. At the end of the day, all that matters is a win."

Milwaukee trailed 57-48 at the half, going just three of 17 from three-point range, but pulled even with a 10-0 run midway through the third quarter.

Antetokounmpo's three-pointer from the top of the key tied it at 74-74 with 5min 28sec left in the period.

He then sparked a 12-0 run to give the Bucks a 92-83 advantage early in the fourth quarter.

"The third quarter stood out, where we played well on both ends," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "We had enough stops. More importantly, against a good team, we were able to make some shots. I was really pleased."

In San Antonio, four-time NBA MVP LeBron James scored 33 points and handed out 14 assists to help the Los Angeles Lakers to a 114-104 victory over the Spurs.

He made 13 of 24 shots from the floor, including four of seven from three-point range, and his 12 points in the fourth quarter helped the Lakers improve to 7-1 on the road.

"He was unbelievable," said Lakers coach Frank Vogel, who used the same word over and over again.

"I'm gonna need a thesaurus or something. He just dominated the action."

With also their eighth straight win, the Lakers improved to an NBA-best 15-2 to pace the Western Conference, while the Spurs dropped to 6-12.

ASSOCIATED PRESS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 27, 2019, with the headline 'Greek Freak flawless in 50-point romp'. Print Edition | Subscribe