Giannis Antetokounmpo is not a laughing matter. His jokes? They could use some help.
Antetokounmpo scored forty points and had a crucial block by Joel Embiid at the end of the game to help the Milwaukee Bucks win 118-116 against the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday night. This was a matchup between two of the top Eastern Conference teams.
Khris Middleton scored 22 points, and Jrue holiday had 18. The Bucks finished in second place in the East with a half-game behind idle Miami.
Milwaukee was still within two points of the lead when Antetokounmpo swat away Embiid’s putback attempt with 1.6 seconds remaining.
Doc Rivers, 76ers coach, said “Spectacular Block”.
Mike Budenholzer, Bucks coach, said that it was a “special block”.
It was amazing.
Antetokounmpo seemed, however, more interested in testing his postgame material, a book called “Dad Jokes”, and opened his postgame conference as this:
Q: What is the name of a cow lying on the ground?
A: Ground beef
Antetokounmpo was amused by the joke that drew only light chuckles among reporters. It was a miss, even if it wasn’t an airball.
However, his game continues to receive rave reviews.
Middleton stated that “we count on him making big plays.” “We don’t expect him making that block, but we’re not surprised if he does.”
Said Holiday, “Giannis just being Giannis. Made a great play that saved the game.
James Harden scored 32 points for the 76ers and grabbed nine rebounds. Embiid rebounded from a slow start to finish with 29 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists. Philadelphia fell 1 1/2 points behind the Heat during the conference.
Harden stated that “Couple made defensive mistakes and they made us pay.”
Antetokounmpo had 14 rebounds, six assists, and three blocks to help the Bucks defend their title as NBA champions.
The Bucks scored 13 points out of the first 17 in the fourth. They were ahead of Middleton’s 3 pointer, which made it 94-93 with nine minute to go. The game was close throughout the remainder of the game, with neither team gaining more than six points.
The 76ers kept the score close every time Milwaukee looked like it was pulling away. Philadelphia was within 117-116 after Embiid’s 3 pointer with 49.8 seconds remaining. Philadelphia had a chance of getting in front after Brook Lopez’s turnover, but Embiid missed a 15-footer after a timeout.
Antetokounmpo fouled on the next possession, and made the first two free throws to make the Bucks lead 118-116 with 13.2 seconds remaining. Harden’s step back 3 was too long after another timeout by the 76ers. Antetokounmpo stopped Embiid from scoring the easy layup that would have tied it. Original ruling by officials was that it was goaltending. However, Antetokounmpo overturned it after a video review.
Antetokounmpo stated, “Just let your instincts play.” “I tried to jump as high and make a play.
The 76ers controlled and won the subsequent jump ball, but they ran out of time to take a shot.
Antetokounmpo & Harden exchanged first-half highlights. Harden, a Bucks star and two time MVP, dunk on Embiid late in quarter one before a thunderous two-handed jam in the second. Harden beat Antetokounmpo by scoring with his signature step-back 3, with 35.7 seconds remaining in the first. He connected with Matisse Thybulle via a beautiful three quarter court pass, setting Thybulle up to score an easy dunk.
BATTLE OF HEAVYWEIGHTS
This game featured two teams who are aiming for the NBA title. After winning the 1971 title, the Bucks ended a long title drought and won their second title. The last championship won by Philadelphia was in 1983. Harden was added by the 76ers at the deadline to increase their chances of winning the fourth title.
Milwaukee is one of the NBA’s most successful teams, having gone 11-4 since the All Star break. It now prepares for the next postseason run. Doc Rivers, Philadelphia coach, said that he doesn’t hear enough about the Bucks when they are mentioned as potential NBA title contenders.
Rivers stated, “I hear everyone but Milwaukee.” Rivers said, “They didn’t chance into winning.”
After Saturday’s 127-102 loss to Memphis, Bucks: Jrue holiday (left ankle soreness), and Serge Ibaka(non-COVID sickness) both returned. Antetokounmpo, who is only 40 points away from surpassing Kareem AbdulJabbar to become the franchise’s all time leading scorer, is now the most valuable player in the franchise’s history. Antetokounmpo is the franchise’s all-time leading scorer with 14,172 career points.
76ers: Bobby Jones, a former Sixer and Hall of Famer, rang the ceremonial Liberty Bell before the contest. Connor Castellani (29-year-old Linwood fan) won 76ers season tickets for next year by hitting a halfcourt shot during a timeout. Antetokounmpo 1:09 into the fourth, Danny Green was given a flagrant 1 foul.
Bucks: At Brooklyn on Thursday night.
Detroit 76ers on Thursday Night