LeBron James Triple-Double Not Enough to Hold Off Milwaukee Bucks

The Greek Freak crowned himself after hitting his fifth three against the Lakers last night as the Bucks secured their reign as the league’s best with a 111-104 victory.

The highly-anticipated battle of the NBA’s two supreme teams was set to determine the top spot in the league so far with both teams stepping onto the glass at a record of 24-4.

However, Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee, overcoming a triple-double from LeBron James and hitting 34 points, to edge the win and live up to his current MVP title.  

James put up 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in his 37 minutes on court, but it was the second half to his duo, Anthony Davis, who hit a game-high 36 points, adding ten rebounds and five assists. After a loss to the Indiana Pacers earlier this week, the Lakers vow not to lose any more consecutive games this season, a pact they should have put in place before they got pipped to the post on the leader board. 

However, Antetokounmpo spoke out after the clash saying it was nothing special and that a re-match further down the line will become the more memorable fixture. Despite the 25-year-old’s modest outlook, he spun a different web on the court, crowing himself to a roaring crowd after splashing his fifth three. Milwaukee’s destructive forward finished with all-round team-highs, adding 11 rebounds and seven assists to his 34 points. 

The Bucks kept control of the court early on as they recovered from a defeat by the Dallas Mavericks which had ended an 18-game winning streak. They held the Lakers to just 17 points in the first, a season-low for one of the best offensive teams in the league, and closed off their supply lines, forcing Davis and James to shoot. The Bucks dogged defence paid off as Davis went 0-for-6 from three and James shot at under 50%. 

LA did find an outlet in Danny Green who hit seven of the team’s 12 threes throughout the night, wrapping up the game with 21 points and another champion performance. But to add insult to their poor shooting injury, Alex Caruso, Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley all failed to make a shot beyond the arc. 

One takeaway from yesterday’s showdown has to be the ease with which Antetokounmpo is knocking down threes and the distance from which he’s taking them. If he maintains this consistency, you might as well stand down because there will be no stopping him. But if we’re being picky, Antetokounmpo has to watch his fouls as he got into trouble yet again in the third, something he can’t afford to play within such a crucial game.  

Taking a closer look at LeBron’s game, despite his triple-double achievement, his stats didn’t really do the King justice. In his time on the court, the Lakers finished at -14 compared to the Bucks, yet they outscored them by seven in the time James spent on the bench. LA brought a late run and closed the 19-point deficit but the slow start and sloppy 19 turnovers cost them the game. 

A surprising star also rose from the bench for the Bucks in the shape of George Hill as he became their second-leading scorer behind Antetokounmpo with 21 points on 7-for-12 on shooting, including 3-of-5 from distance. 

With many predicting these two teams could meet at the play-off finals, was last night a preview of games to come? The Bucks now stand five games ahead at the top of the Eastern Conference whilst the Lakers remain the top of the West. 

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