NBA regular season

Giannis Antetokounmpo nets 44 as Bucks outlast Spurs


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Giannis Antetokounmpo nets 44 as Bucks outlast Spurs

CRASH THE BOARDS. Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) rebounds during the first quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center.

Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Giannis Antetokounmpo puts the Bucks on his back as they snap a two-game losing streak

Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in 44 points, including the deciding three-point play with 53.3 seconds to play, as the visiting Milwaukee Bucks outlasted the San Antonio Spurs, 125-121, on Thursday, December 4 (Friday, December 5, Manila time), in a wild game that went back and forth in the final minutes.

The contest was the second game of road back-to-backs for the Bucks and they looked sluggish. But Milwaukee had enough left in the tank late to hold off the Spurs and snap a two-game losing streak.

The score was tied heading into the fourth quarter after San Antonio came from 11 points down early in the third. Devin Vassell’s putback dunk with 3:41 to play in the game put the Spurs up by 5 points, but Milwaukee responded with a 9-1 run capped by back-to-back three-pointers by Antetokounmpo.

Victor Wembanyama blocked Damian Lillard’s layup attempt then hit a three-pointer to tie the score again with 1:09 left but Antetokounmpo answered with a dunk and a free throw. San Antonio’s Tre Jones missed a corner three-pointer that would have tied the score with 1.8 seconds left after which Pat Connaughton finished the Spurs with a free throw.

Antetokounmpo also grabbed 14 rebounds and combined with Lillard (25 points, 10 assists) to score 25 of the Bucks’ final 26 points. Khris Middleton added 12 points all in the first half and Malik Beasley had 10 in the win.

Vassell led San Antonio with 34 points, 2 points off his career high, while Wembanyama produced 27 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 blocks on his 20th birthday. Jones had 18 in his first start of the season, Keldon Johnson had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Cedi Osman hit for 13 points.

Milwaukee led by 13 points after Bobby Portis canned a reverse layup at the 5:55 mark of the opening period before the Spurs battled back to within 38-31 at the end of the first quarter.

San Antonio cut its deficit to a point when Vassell hit a floater with 4:57 to play in the second quarter. But Milwaukee held the home team at bay, never surrendering the lead and used a three-pointer by Middleton with 28.6 seconds left to carry a 64-59 edge to the break.

Antetokounmpo led all scorers with 15 points before halftime. Vassell paced San Antonio with 14 points and Jones had 10 in the first half. –

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