NBA: Giannis makes history for the Bucks in an overtime win over the Nets
New York, New York - Defending NBA champs the Milwaukee Bucks needed a little extra time to get a big road win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night.
The Bucks beat the Nets 120-119 in overtime for their second win in a row and four wins out of their last five games.
Brooklyn played host with probably the most complete roster they’ve put on the court all season, in a matchup that could be viewed as a playoff preview.
The Nets started out well and set the tone early, owning the first quarter 30-23. They then let the Bucks get into a groove of their own and that lead was cut down to 60-56 at halftime.
The Bucks were totally settled in by the third quarter and ended up enjoying their first lead since the opening stages, but Brooklyn bounced back in the fourth, looking like they were ready to wrap up a well-earned win.
In the last two minutes of regulation, though, the Bucks managed to wipe out a seven-point deficit and forced overtime.
The extra five minutes of play featured five lead changes but after two clutch free throws, it was Milwaukee who finished with the one-point victory.
The player spotlight
During his team’s win, Giannis Antetokounmpo (28) passed NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become Milwaukee's all-time scoring leader, with 14,216 points.
He did it by hitting a three-pointer, his only long-range shot made in the game, which sent things into overtime.
He also drained the two free throws that won the Bucks the game.
Practically taking his team upon his shoulders and leading them to victory, Giannis did very well offensively as he notched his 10th game this season scoring 40 or more points.
He finished the game shooting 14-for-21 from the field for a game-high 44 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists.
The big picture
With their win over the Nets, the Bucks clinched a playoff spot sitting second in the Eastern Conference while Brooklyn is down in the eighth spot, still holding on to one of the play-in seeds for the time being.
The Bucks' ongoing success obviously hinges mainly on Giannis being healthy. He was playing at his usual high level Thursday night, albeit with a sore knee, but head coach Mike Budenholzer put everyone's mind at ease: "I don't think it's anything that we're concerned about, but there's a daily attention and effort that it takes from the sports performance team and him and what he does to be his best."
Giannis has a history of powering through knee injuries, as he showed in last year’s Finals, when he led his team to their first championship in 50 years despite some discomfort.
On Friday night, the Bucks are back at home to host the Clippers while on Saturday night, the Nets will travel down to Atlanta to take on the Hawks.
Cover photo: IMAGO/Agencia EFE