Before Saturday afternoon’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Bucks were 9-2 and flying high due to a win against Golden State Thursday night. By looking at the roster, most people would not consider the Clippers a good team, but they are very scrappy. In 2 games against Los Angeles last year, Milwaukee mega-star, Giannis Antetokounmpo, averaged 19.0 points per game, 5.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists. The 19.0 points were his lowest average against any team last season. Going into Saturday, the Clippers were just coming off a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers even though they played very well that game. The Bucks knew they had to come ready to play, especially Giannis because the Clippers were only allowing 11.4 points per game by starting power forwards on the year.
*Insert your own fast-forward noise here*
After a relatively uneventful first half by Antetokounmpo, he started to heat up in the third quarter. After three he had 15 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block. However, Milwaukee found themselves down, 89-84, going into the fourth. This is where things got fun and interesting for Bucks fans. Giannis started the final quarter by getting to the free throw line and knocking down 1 of 2. The two teams traded baskets and then, with 9:25 left in the quarter, Giannis made one of the best plays of the game. The Clippers had a fastbreak lead by forward, Montrezl Harrell as he attempted to throw an alley-oop to guard, Tyrone Wallace. Instead of an easy dunk to finish the play Antetokounmpo came out of nowhere, leaped from the free throw line and denied the pass mid-air. In one play he showed off his out-of-this-world athleticism and hustle. On the very next possession after stopping the alley-oop, Giannis was able to get fouled and score from the charity stripe. With 5:42 left in the game, the All-Star came out of the game with Milwaukee down, 107-101. Once he re-entered after a couple of minutes, he immediately dunked over two Clipper defenders to get the offense rolling. With 2 minutes left, the Bucks still couldn’t get a lead and they found themselves down, 114-111. The final two minutes were full of action. Los Angeles rookie guard, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, nailed an open three, but Malcolm Brogdon responded with a dunk set up by a Giannis screen. Then, with 1 minute remaining, Antetokounmpo finished an alley-oop that put Milwaukee down 3. With 21.2 seconds, Los Angeles put up a shot that Giannis rebounded, and the Bucks were able to tie the game at 119 thanks to an incredible Eric Bledsoe step-back three. Clipper forward, Danilo Gallinari, tried to hit a last second shot but Antetokounmpo’s defense on him was too much and the game went into overtime. At the end of regulation, Giannis had 23 points, 15 rebounds, and 4 assists. The extra period started with a beautiful pass by Bledsoe that turned dunk by “The Greek Freak.” After that play, it took Milwaukee nearly 3 more minutes to score but they were able to keep it tied at 124 with 2 minutes left. The Clippers regained the lead but then Giannis made another spectacular play. He blocked a Los Angeles shot, grabbed the ball, and then went coast-to-coast while finishing the play with a dunk all in less than 10 seconds. This bucket tied the game at 126 with 1 minute left. Unfortunately, with 0.3 seconds left in the game, Lou Williams, swished a very challenging floater that allowed the Clippers to win the game, 128-126.
Antetokounmpo’s final stat line read, 27 points, 18 rebounds (during this game he passed Jack Sikma for 8th on the Bucks all-time rebounding list), 4 assists, 5 steals, and 2 blocks. The “stat stuffer” was at it again and left his mark in Los Angeles. Milwaukee’s next game is tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. (CT) against the Denver Nuggets.