By Adrian Stewart Co
Giannis Antetokounmpo made a triumphant return from injury as Milwaukee Bucks escaped with a 117-114 victory over Brooklyn Nets in the 2020-2021 NBA Season on Sunday (Monday in the Philippines) at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Antetokounmpo returned from his sprained ankle injury to finish with 49 points, including four three-point conversions, as the Bucks stayed at third in the Eastern Conference with 40-24 slate.
Khris Middleton added 26 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, while Jrue Holiday and Bryn Forbes also hit double-figures in scoring with 18 and 12, respectively, for Milwaukee.
Trailing 90-96 at the onset of the fourth period, the Bucks leaned on six straight points by Middleton and consecutive baskets from Holiday and Antetokounmpo to take a 108-101 edge.
The Nets kept it close at 107-110 following baskets from Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin but the Bucks answered with a triple from Pat Connaughton and inside hits from Antetokounmpo to widen the lead to 117-112.
A layup by Kyrie Irving pulled Brooklyn to within 114-117 and they even had a chance to send the game into overtime but Durant misfired his last second triple attempt.
Durant finished the game with double-double 42 points and 10 rebounds, while Kyrie Irving added 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists as the Nets dropped to second in the East with 43-22 slate.
Landry Shamet and Griffin tallied 17 and 15 markers, respectively, while DeAndre Jordan had double-double 11 rebounds and 10 points for Brooklyn.
The Nets and the Bucks will face each other anew for the third and final time this season on Tuesday night (Wednesday in the Philippines) still at the same venue.
MILWAUKEE 117 – G. Antetokounmpo 49, Middleton 26, Holiday 18, Forbes 12, Lopez 4, Tucker 3, Connaughton 3, Teague 2, DiVincenzo 0.
BROOKLYN 114 – Durant 42, Irving 20, Shamet 17, Griffin 15, Jordan 10, Green 7, Harris 5, A. Johnson 2, T. Johnson 0, James 0, Brown 0.
Quarterscores: 28-37, 62-59, 90-90, 117-114./ASC, WDJ