Giannis Antetokounmpo refused to let his Milwaukee Bucks lose to the Sacramento Kings on Monday, pulling them back from an early deficit and carrying them to a 133-124 away win.
After missing the last three games with a hand injury, Antetokounmpo started like a house on fire, scoring 15 points in the first quarter.
Despite his early exploits, the Kings led by five points at quartertime and went into the second half 49-33 after a 17-6 start.
From that point on, the Bucks responded with a 50-29 run and took the lead as Antetokounmpo posted a colorful statistic of 40 points, 10 rebounds and three assists through the end of the third quarter.
In a hugely entertaining fourth period, teams combined for 80 points, with Khris Middleton scoring 14 of his 31 points in his best game of the season.
The three-time All-Star’s 31 points was a season high, shooting nine of 15 from the field and adding nine assists.
He was the perfect sidekick for Antetokounmpo, who ended up scoring 46 points on 19-of-28 shooting with 12 rebounds and four assists. It was his sixth game this season with at least 45 points, while no other player has more than Luka Doncic and Joel Embiid’s four.
The win is the Bucks’ 20th from their last 22 games and improved their championship-leading record to 49-19 while the 40-27 West Kings fell to third place, passed by the 41-26 Memphis Grizzlies.
Warriors ride Klay’s 30-point half
Golden State Warriors sniper Klay Thompson delivered another memorable performance as he propelled his team to a 123-112 home win over the Phoenix Suns.
Thompson had 18 points in the first quarter and reached halftime on 33 on 12-of-18 shooting, hitting eight of his 12 three-point attempts.
He would go down to five points in the second half as Jordan Poole caught up with the doldrums on the stretch with 20 points (eight of 16) and six assists from the bench.
Devin Booker was strong for the Suns with 32 points in 12-of-20 shooting while Deandre Ayton accumulated 27 points (13-of-19) and 12 rebounds in the loss.
The result puts the Warriors (36-33) 1.5 games behind the fourth-placed Suns (37-31).
Edwards and ‘Slow-Mo’ put on a show
Anthony Edwards looked like a franchise superstar as his Minnesota Timberwolves overcame a 41-point performance by Trae Young to defeat the Atlanta Hawks 136-115.
The former top draft pick shot 12 of 25 from the field and posted a team-high with 32 points, eight rebounds, five assists, two blocks and a steal. He was spectacularly supported by Kyle “Slow-Mo” Anderson with 14 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds for his second triple-double of the season.
Young was great for the Hawks, shooting 15 of 25 from the field and adding seven assists, but assists De’Andre Hunter and Dejounte Murray combined to shoot 11 of 32.
Minnesota (35-34) is now just a game behind sixth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers (36-33).