Giannis Antetokounmpo drops career-high 64 points over Pacers, then tensions rise over game ball
In the aftermath of the National Basketball Association's in-season tournament, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks exacted their vengeance on the Indiana Pacers.
Antetokounmpo scored 64 points to lead the Bucks beat the Pacers 140-126. That was a Bucks franchise record, breaking Michael Redd's 2006 mark of 57, and was the league's first 60-point game this season.
In the season tournament semifinals in Las Vegas last week, the Pacers defeated the Bucks. Antetokounmpo got 14 rebounds, hit 20-of-28 from the field, and broke his career high with 24 free-throw attempts.
He scored 26 points in the fourth quarter and came back in to make a layup, two free throws, and a late dunk to shut out the Pacers after they went on a little run late after Antetokounmpo and the starters appeared to be done.
Antetokounmpo set two of the Bucks' top three single-game scoring records in 2023. His third career 50-point game against the Pacers came Wednesday.
Damian Lillard, who has the last two 60-point games in the league with Portland, had 21 points and five assists for Milwaukee on Wednesday. Khris Middleton scored 11, rebounded 9, and assisted 7.
Tyrese Haliburton led the Pacers with 22 points and seven assists on 8-of-16 shooting, and Myles Turner had 22 points and nine rebounds. These two were the only Pacers starters to score double figures.
Bobby Portis ejected during game, then tensions rise reportedly over game ball late
Several conflicts arose throughout Antetokounmpo's career night. First, Bucks forward Bobby Portis was tossed for defending Antetokounmpo in the fourth quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, Pacers forward Aaron Nesmith grabbed Antetokounmpo and threw him to the ground in the lane. After Nesmith fell for a shot fake, the move seemed unintentional.
However, Portis charged in to push Nesmith before Antetokounmpo could separate. That caused a minor fight that separated the players. Thanasis, Antetokounmpo's younger brother, lost it on the bench and was restrained.
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