Antetokounmpo propels Bucks over Doncic, Mavs
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 31 points and had nine rebounds to power the Milwaukee Bucks to a 112-109 victory over Luka Doncic’s Dallas Mavericks in a battle between the two early frontrunners for NBA Most Valuable Player honors.
Two-time MVP winner Antetokounmpo hit 14-of-21 shots from the floor and Khris Middleton finished with 25 points for the host Bucks, who have won seven of their last eight games.
Doncic shot 12-of-24 from the floor for a team-high 28 points after coming off a 34-point performance in a win over Charlotte two nights earlier.
After Milwaukee’s Brook Lopez missed a free throw with one second left, Doncic launched a desperation two-handed three-pointer at the buzzer that hit the backboard and bounced harmlessly away to give Milwaukee the win.
“We just stayed with it,” said Middleton. “They did a good job rebounding off the glass and made some tough shots but we just stayed with it.”
Middleton drained a pair of clutch three-pointers late in the fourth quarter. He also had eight rebounds and six assists. The former second-round draft pick was traded to the Bucks in 2013 from Detroit.
The back-to-back MVP went to work:
31 PTS | 9 REB | 67% FG | 30 MIN pic.twitter.com/WoahDaPuh7
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) January 16, 2021
“Each year is about getting better and finding ways to make my teammates better. That is what they do for me,” said Middleton, who recently donated $100,000 to the employees at Fiserv Forum who lost their jobs because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jrue Holiday had 16 points and Lopez added 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Bucks, who overcame Antetokounmpo’s 1-for-10 shooting from the free throw line.
Doncic also had 13 assists and Tim Hardaway added 22 points for the Mavericks, who had their four-game winning streak snapped.
Last season, Milwaukee was swept by Dallas in two series.