NBA regular season

Lillard record debut powers Bucks in thriller over Sixers


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Lillard record debut powers Bucks in thriller over Sixers

DAME TIME. Damian Lillard brings his stellar play to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Rob Ferguson/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters Con

Damian Lillard pours in 39 points in a winning Bucks debut against a Sixers side dealing with the still absent James Harden

Damian Lillard collected 39 points and 8 rebounds to lift the host Milwaukee Bucks to a 118-117 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in the season opener for both teams on Thursday, October 26 (Friday, October 27, Manila time).

Lillard – who set a franchise record for most points in a debut performance – made all 17 of his free throw attempts and added 4 assists in his first game since being acquired from the Portland Trail Blazers on September 27 as part of a three-team trade.

The Bucks trailed by 8 points in the fourth quarter, 94-102, before rallying for the win.

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded 23 points and 13 rebounds while also overcoming foul trouble. 

Ten-time All-Star James Harden did not travel with the 76ers to Milwaukee after returning from a 10-day absence due to what the team called a personal matter.

Brook Lopez added 13 points for the Bucks, who shot 50% from the floor (41-of-82) to make a winner of Adrian Griffin in his head-coaching debut.

Philadelphia’s Tyrese Maxey contributed 31 points and 8 assists and Kelly Oubre Jr. added 27 points off the bench. 

Reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid collected 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists and Tobias Harris had 20 points for the 76ers, who fell short in Nick Nurse’s head-coaching debut with the team.

Philadelphia scored 14 straight points to seize a 102-94 lead before Milwaukee countered by scoring 19 of the next 21 points. 

Lillard drained a three-pointer, sank three straight free throws and converted a three-point play to highlight the run and give the Bucks a 113-104 lead with 2:45 to play.

Maxey drilled a triple and Embiid added a pair of mid-range jumpers to cut the 76ers’ deficit to two points with 1:29 remaining. 

Lillard and Harris each made a triple before the former sank a pair of free throws to give Milwaukee a 118-114 lead with 11.1 seconds to play.

De’Anthony Melton made a three-pointer as time expired to conclude the scoring.

Philadelphia trimmed a 19-point deficit to 94-93 when Harris made a short jumper and a trey early in the fourth quarter. 

Maxey added a pair of free throws to give the 76ers their first lead since 5-3, and Oubre added a three-pointer before his steal led to a dunk.

Maxey added a pair of free throws to cap a 14-0 run, but Lopez and Jae Crowder each sank a 3-pointer and Antetokounmpo made a short hook to forge a tie at 102-102.  –

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