Giannis the giant
Rising Bucks star outshines LeBron as big guns fall on day of upsets
|MILWAUKEE BUCKS||CLEVELAND CAVALIERS|
Giannis Antetokounmpo led a night of upsets in the NBA yesterday morning (Singapore time) with 34 points as the Milwaukee Bucks stunned LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Antetokounmpo, 21, also grabbed 12 rebounds and contributed five assists as a Cavs side featuring both James and Kyrie Irving failed to fire.
The Greek international was ably supported by Jabari Parker (18 points) and Michael Beasley (17) as the Bucks improved to 8-8 for the season.
The Cavs loss saw the champions fall to 13-3.
James finished with 22 points to lead the scoring for the Cavs, ahead of Irving with 20 points at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
But the star of the night was Antetokounmpo, who became one of the highest paid players in the NBA earlier this year when he inked a US$100 million ($142.6m) four-year deal worth around US$25m a season.
Last season, the giant forward averaged 16.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.4 blocks in 80 games.
So far this season, Antetokounmpo is averaging 22 points per game, suggesting the Bucks were wise to invest in the 2.11m-tall son of Nigerian immigrants who was born in Athens in 1994.
"We were moving the ball and we didn't stop moving the ball," he said.
"Our pace was great, we rebounded the ball well and we moved the ball in the offensive end."
James said the Cavs have been caught napping.
"We let our guard down a little bit," the 31-year-old said.
"They pushed up the tempo and we didn't get stops.
"I came out of the game when we were up 10 and we let them go on a quick run to end the quarter. From that point on, they got into a rhythm and they're a rhythm team."
DAY OF SHOCKS
The Bucks' upset win was the biggest shock of the day as various in-form teams ended up losing to unheralded opposition.
San Antonio's nine-game winning streak came to an abrupt halt when the Western Conference giants crashed to a 95-83 defeat by the Orlando Magic.
Serge Ibaka scored 18 points while Nikola Vucevic added 12 points and 10 rebounds as the Magic silenced the Spurs fans at the AT&T Center.
The victory ended a four-game losing streak for Orlando, who improved to 7-11 with the win. San Antonio slipped to 14-4 after the loss.
In New Orleans, Anthony Davis maintained his prolific start to the season with 41 points as the Pelicans dismantled the Los Angeles Lakers 105-88.
Davis also plucked 16 rebounds as the Pelicans snapped a two-game losing streak with their fifth straight home victory at the Smoothie King Center.
The win saw the Pelicans improve to 7-12 while the Lakers fell to 9-10. - AFP.
- Utah Jazz 120 Houston Rockets 101
- Brooklyn Nets 127 Los Angeles Clippers 122 (OT)
- Charlotte Hornets 89 Detroit Pistons 112.