Milwaukee Bucks of America sensation, Giannis Adetokunbo (Antetokounmpo) was again forced into the penumbra, as he played second fiddle behind James Harden in a clash of National Basketball Association (NBA) stars, BSNSports.com.ng reports.
Against all expectations of the reining NBA most valuable player and best defensive performer coming out on top, it was Harden that came out on the winning side in a titanic battle with Antetokounmpo, as Brooklyn Nets edged out The Bucks 125-123.
The Nets’ new signing continued his flying start to his career in Brooklyn by pouring in 34 points, handing out 12 assists and grabbing six rebounds to lead Brooklyn, but Antetokounmpo was similarly impressive to keep the Bucks in contention right to the end.
Barely 72 hours after enduring a nightmare night at the free zone with The Bucks, the two-time reigning NBA MVP – a title he took off Harden in 2019 – finished with 34 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists as Milwaukee looked to make eight wins in their last nine games.
However, it was Harden and the Nets who emerged victorious as Kevin Durant – another former NBA MVP who enjoyed a fine night – hit a three-pointer to put Brooklyn back in front with 37 seconds left, and Bucks small forward Khris Middleton then missed with two three-point attempts in the dying moments as the Nets held on.
Brooklyn’s fourth successive win sees them close the gap to second-placed Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference, where Orlando’s poor form continued as they slumped to a sixth consecutive loss after going down 91-84 to the New York Knicks.
Elsewhere in the NBA, Western Conference leaders, Los Angeles Lakers were beaten for only the fourth time this season, after Golden State Warriors staged a remarkable comeback at Staples Center.
The Lakers looked to be cruising after opening up a 19-point lead in the first quarter, but Golden State rallied to claim a 115-113 victory after outscoring their opponents 34-21 in the final quarter.
Minnesota Timberwolves, who prop up the Western Conference, suffered a ninth defeat in 10 games as they were beaten 108-97 by the Atlanta Hawks despite a 31-point haul by D’Angelo Russell.
Damian Lillard also produced an impressive individual performance only to finish on the losing side as his 35 points, six assists and three rebounds were not enough to prevent the Portland Trail Blazers suffering a 125-104 defeat to the San Antonio Spurs.
Memphis Grizzlies continued their rise up the Western Conference with a fifth successive win, beating stuttering Phoenix Suns 108-104, while improving Toronto Raptors defeated Dallas Mavericks 116-93 to make it three wins in three.
Zach LaVine led Chicago with a game-high 33 points as Chicago Bulls defeated Houston Rockets 125-120, while Miami Heat beat Detroit Pistons 113-107.