Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 49 points in a memorable duel with Kevin Durant, who had 42 points, on Sunday.
The Milwaukee Bucks edged the visiting Brooklyn Nets 117-114.
The two-time defending NBA MVP sparked the hosts with 21-for-36 shooting from the field, including 4 of 8 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Durant was 16-for-33 and knocked down 7 of 13 3-point attempts.
The Bucks improved to 40-24.
With the loss, the Nets slipped to 43-22 in coach Steve Nash’s first season at the helm.
The playoff-bound teams were tied 90-90 entering the fourth quarter of the marquee matchup.
Durant helped make that happen with a 13-point third quarter.
So did Antetokounmpo.
He put the Bucks’ first 16 points of the third quarter on the board and led all scorers with 18 points in the 12-minute period.
Giannis Antetokounmpo lets game come to him
For Giannis Antetokounmpo, it was a satisfying performance, according to The Associated Press’ game recap.
“I’ve been working on a jump shot my whole life,” Antetokounmpo said afterward. “I know eventually one day it’s all going to click.”
He added: “Tonight that picture I created, that’s who I want to be moving forward. It doesn’t matter if I score 49 points. I don’t care about that. What I care about is how I slowed down, how I was able to find my teammates. How if I missed one, missed a second one, missed a third one and still be able to come down and shoot another one. This is what I believe I can be.”
Giannis insists he wasn’t trying to match buckets with KD
Interestingly enough, Giannis Antetokounmpo claimed he wasn’t trying to keep pace with prolific scorer Kevin Durant.
“I was not going back and forth with KD,” Antetokounmpo was quoted as saying by AP. “There’s nobody in this world who can go back and forth with him. He’s one of the greatest players to ever play this game.”
Did you know?
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a career-high 52 points on March 17, 2019, against the Philadelphia 76ers.