NBA regular season

Giannis Antetokounmpo buries 44 as Bucks nip Nets in OT

Giannis Antetokounmpo buries 44 as Bucks nip Nets in OT

SHOWDOWN. Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo dribbles against Nets guard Kyrie Irving.

Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

MVP contender Giannis Antetokounmpo does it all as the Bucks escape the Nets by a point in an overtime thriller

Giannis Antetokounmpo unloaded 44 points, hit the tying three-pointer with 18.7 seconds left in regulation, and sank the tiebreaking free throws with three seconds left in overtime as the Milwaukee Bucks outlasted the Brooklyn Nets, 120-119, in New York on Thursday night, March 31 (Friday, April 1, Manila time).

Antetokounmpo helped the Bucks erase a 108-99 deficit over the final 3:52 of regulation and forged a 110-all deadlock with a step-back three-pointer over Kevin Durant. 

The Bucks let a 117-113 lead slip away in overtime and trailed 119-118 after Durant sank three foul shots with 8.7 seconds remaining.

After Milwaukee called a timeout, Antetokounmpo drove the lane and was fouled by Nic Claxton just before Durant could make the block. Antetokounmpo then cleanly sank the two free throws, and the game ended when Durant’s trhee-pointer rimmed out with 1.1 seconds remaining.

Antetokounmpo made 14-of-21 shots and his lone three-pointer of the game moved him past Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar atop Milwaukee’s all-time scoring list. He also added 14 rebounds and 6 assists to help Milwaukee (48-28) win for the 12th time in 15 games.

Jrue Holiday added 19 points and Khris Middleton contributed 16 for Milwaukee, which shot 44.9% and survived 22 turnovers. Middleton was ejected for a flagrant two foul call on Brooklyn’s Bruce Brown with 5:05 remaining.

Durant collected 26 points and 11 assists for the Nets (40-37), who lost for the third time in four meetings with Milwaukee this season. Kyrie Irving added 25 and Brown contributed 23 as Brooklyn shot 46.4% and hit 18 three-pointers.

The Bucks took an 87-86 lead into the fourth on Antetokounmpo’s dunk with 14.9 seconds remaining and held a 96-92 lead when Holiday hit an 8-footer with 8:12 remaining.

The Nets roared back with a 16-3 run and held a 108-99 lead on Durant’s alley-oop dunk with 3:52 remaining.

The Bucks took the lead with 4:34 remaining in overtime on Holiday’s tip-in and held a 117-113 lead on a jumper by Bobby Portis with 3:10 left. After Antetokounmpo missed two free throws with 1:39 remaining, Brooklyn’s Goran Dragic missed a potential tying three with 1:15 left.

The Bucks had another chance to ice it, but Antetokounmpo missed a 21-footer with 20.2 seconds left and Matthews fouled Durant in the corner, setting up the game-ending sequence. –