(Gary Dineen/Getty Images)
Giannis' Triple-Double Too Much for Lakers
They call him “Greek Freak,” and it was truly a freak show in Milwaukee Monday, as Giannis Antetokounmpo ignited for his first career triple-double to power the Bucks’ victory over the Lakers.
The 21-year-old went off for 27 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists to lead a Milwaukee offense that executed on nearly every level.
The Bucks (24-33) shot 51.2 percent, while scoring 58 points in the paint and 32 more on fast-breaks. The home team also handed out 32 assists and led by as many as 28 points in its wire-to-wire victory.
“I didn’t think we competed live we’ve been competing,” head coach Byron Scott said. “I didn’t think our energy level was high at all. All the little things that we talked about (for) trying to defend this team, we just didn’t do a good job.”
Antetokounmpo was in rhythm from the very start, scoring a dozen points in the first quarter alone.
In the following period, Jordan Clarkson caught fire and knocked down three straight 3-pointers, adding a four-point play a minute later to cut the deficit to two.
However, the Lakers (11-47) were in for a painful experience after halftime, as the Bucks outscored them, 36-17, in the third quarter.
Milwaukee opened the frame on a 16-5 run and didn’t let up. While Los Angeles shot just 3-of-15, its hosts went 14-of-22, which included a crowd-combusting, off-the-backboard alley-oop from Khris Middleton to Antetokounmpo.
Though the Lakers sat their starters in the fourth quarter, the reserves put together an admirable effort by doubling Milwaukee’s 18 points in the last period. Nick Young led the charge by going off for 16 points in the fourth, though L.A. never truly posed a threat to the final result.
While the Lakers — who shot just 36.8 percent — enjoyed sizable advantages on 3-pointers (12-5) and free throws (33-15), the Bucks were simply cooking. All five Milwaukee starters, plus two reserves, finished in double figures.
But Antetokounmpo stood above them all by shooting 12-of-17, while providing some defensive highlights as well with four blocks and three steals.
“He has the potential to (be a great player),” Kobe Bryant said. “He has the physical tools (and) intelligence. Now it’s just a matter of him believing in himself and going after it. But he has the talent to be a great player.”
Mamba On the Move
Though Bryant — who scored 15 points but went 3-of-12 — couldn’t get his shot on track, he nonetheless continued to check off a couple career milestones.
Four minutes into the game, a loose board bounced its way over to him, giving Bryant his 7,000th rebound, which places him just outside of the NBA’s top 100.
Then, right before halftime, he put his footwork on display by losing his defender for a step-back 3-pointer, which tied him with Rashard Lewis for the 11th-most triples in league history (1,787).
He also left a strong final impression on the night’s star.
“He’s one of my roles models and I always watched him when I was younger,” Antetokounmpo said. “It feels great (for Bryant) to acknowledge the things I did today.”
Larry Nance Jr. played only 10 minutes due to a sore knee that cost him 10 of the last 15 games. He said the limited playing time was largely precautionary. … Miles Plumlee led Milwaukee’s dunk parade with six slams of his own. … A sold-out crowd of 18,717 was on hand for Bryant’s final game in Wisconsin.
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