By John Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The Milwaukee Bucks are running through competition and leading the Eastern Conference with Giannis Antetokounmpo putting up at least a double-double every time he hit the court in the 2019-20 NBA Regular Season. Monday’s home comeback win against the Utah Jazz was even more special for the Greek Freak and the sellout crowd at the Fiserv Forum, it was flourished with an historic feel.
Michael Jordan and Giannis Antetokounmpo
Only Moses Malone, Carmelo Anthony and Michael Jordan previously finished an NBA match pouring 50 points and taking down at least ten boards without turning the ball over since the league started counting turnovers in 1977-78. Adding his six assists in the mix makes it even more impressive, as Jordan was the only player that went over 50 points, 10 rebounds and five assists without a turnover in NBA history.
“It’s great, it’s a compliment being next to a guy like Michael Jordan, obviously one of the best players to ever play the game, but at the end of the day what I care about is that I was decisive,” said Antetokounmpo, “When you’re decisive you don’t turn the ball over. I was able to get better game-by-game, find my angles, try to be low and not try to play as much upright as I’ve been playing all season and just make the right play.”
The reigning MVP added on his repeat bid with 50 points, 14 boards, six dimes and a couple of steals in 39 minutes of work against the Jazz. His streak of double-doubles is the longest to begin a season since Bill Walton tipped off his 1976-77 campaign with 34 consecutive double-doubles.
“I’m impressed, I’m not going to lie to you,” he mentioned, “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, 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.”
Free throws push
The 24-year-old point forward was 17/31 from the field including 3/8 from three-point range, also made 13 out of his 19 free throws on Monday despite starting with 1/6. Sinking 68% of his charity stripe attempts improved his season average to 59%. Afterwards praised the crowd commenting on his clutch free throws in the comeback victory.
“Once I walked to the free-throw line and I heard the people, our fans, cheering that basically gave me extra motivation, gave extra juice and I’m like, ‘OK, they have my back,’” he pointed out, “I’ve been struggling from the free-throw line but I’ve been working on it a lot so as long as they believe in me I’m going to get it done. That was big for me, that’s why I pointed to the crowd. I’ll be better. That definitely helped me get over the hump.”
No Rudy Gobert
A left ankle sprain held Rudy Gobert out for a second straight game. The path looked clear for Antetokounmpo and indeed was throughout the second half. A fall early in the third quarter seemed scary, but did not prevent him from dominating the paint and posting 32 of his points in the second part of the affair.
“I’ve been falling a lot on my right elbow. I’ve probably got like two bruises,” he said, “Sometimes it bothers me when I shoot, but I try not to make excuses. I’ve just got to do a better job not falling on my elbows and falling on my hands. I felt pain for like two seconds but that was it.”
Photo Credit: Getty Images