In the first meeting between Giannis Antetokounmpo and Zion Williamson, the Greek Freak turned in a monster performance to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 120-108 win on the road.
Antetokounmpo was at his MVP-best, pouring in a game-high 34 points as the Bucks improved to a league-best 43-7 on the season and 20-4 on the road.
Here are the key takeaways from tonight's game
Giannis flexes his muscles
If we needed any further reminder why Antetokounmpo is the favourite to claim the MVP award for the second-straight season, he continued to show us why tonight.
In just 33 minutes, Antetokounmpo recorded 34 points, 17 rebounds, and six assists on 12-of-17 shooting from the field, making it his 24th 30-point, 10-rebound game of the season.
In the second quarter, Williamson got out on the break with just Antetokounmpo standing between he and the rim, but the Bucks star wasn't entertaining being put on a poster, sending Williamson's shot away with an emphatic rejection.
Giannis denies Zion 🤚#FearTheDeer pic.twitter.com/LIG2embZLK- Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) February 5, 2020
Welcome to the league Zion
In a matchup against the reigning MVP and leader of the NBA's best team, a lot is being asked of Zion, but such is the expectation he commands with his impressive start to his NBA career.
He finished with 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and a steal, shooting 5-of-19 from the field, his lowest mark this season and the first time he's shot under 50 percent in the NBA.
Williamson had flashes of his otherworldly size and athleticism, ripping the ball out of Antetokounmpo's grip with brute force in the fourth quarter, drawing a foul, before hitting both free throws to cut the deficit to 107-100.
GIVE HIM THAT pic.twitter.com/njf3edxcZ0- New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) February 5, 2020
"It's amazing," Antetokounmpo said of his matchup with Williamson.
"I'm happy he's out there, I'm happy he's healthy, I'm happy that he's able to be out there and help his team win, and compete for his team.
"You know it's going to be a duel that's going to be [there] for a lot of years. So it's good playing against him."
Advantage Greek Freak 💪#FearTheDeer pic.twitter.com/1E0Rf9j4r2- Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) February 5, 2020
The Bucks sent multiple defenders in Williamson's direction, using their physicality to make life tough for the 19-year-old. While his shot wasn't dropping, he relentlessly attacked the rim, earning 14 free throws on the night, converting 10 of them.
He went 0-of-3 from the three-point line on the night and is yet to connect on a three-pointer since he buried 4-of-4 in his NBA debut.
All-Star Brandon Ingram led the Pelicans with 32 points and seven rebounds on 12-of-19 shooting from the field.
Bucks dominate third quarter
After trailing 65-62 at the half, the Bucks flipped the game on its head with a huge third-quarter performance, outscoring the Pelicans 42-24.
In the blink of an eye, a three-point deficit was a 19-point lead, with Antetokounmpo taking the reigns, scoring 16 of his 34 points in the third.
Antetkounmpo did the bulk of the damage in the decisive quarter, but he had plenty of help with Wes Matthews knocking down three of his five triples in the quarter.
YES MATTHEWS 🏹#FearTheDeer pic.twitter.com/QSoQzmqMkp- Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) February 5, 2020
He finished with 17 points on 5-of-9 from three, while Eric Bledsoe added 16 points and Borok Lopez 12. Khris Middleton recorded 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in the win.
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