The Milwaukee Bucks continue their winning ways, beating the Portland Trail Blazers 137-129 to make it six wins in a row to move to the top of the Eastern Conference standings at 12-3.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was the star of the show, recording 24 points, 19 rebounds and a career-high 15 assists, for his second triple-double of the season and 16th of his career!
Eric Bledsoe led them in scoring with 30 points and six assists, one of six Bucks players to score in double figures.
Here are the key takeaways from tonight's game:
Giannis turns playmaker
On a night when Giannis struggled shooting the ball, going 9-of-27 from the field and 1-of-7 from the three-point line, he let his playmaking do the talking.
With the Blazers zoning in on him on defence, the Greek Freek dished out a career-high 15 assists, finding wide-open teammates time and time again on his way to a monster triple-double.
In the process, he passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for seventh on the Bucks' all-time assist list and became the first player in franchise history with a 20-15-15 game.
Antetokounmpo reached his triple-double with 6:43 remaining in the third quarter assisting on a Donte DiVincenzo two-pointer.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is the first Bucks player ever to have at least 20 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists in a game. pic.twitter.com/rwNOHDi5VS- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 22, 2019
After leading by as many as 16 points, the Bucks found themselves up by just two points, with 7:07 left in the fourth, before Antetokounmpo found Brook Lopez and Wes Matthews for a pair of threes, then scoring the Bucks' next four points to restore their cushion.
Blazers small ball no match for Bucks
The Bucks took advantage of the Blazers' lack of size, cleaning up on the glass and creating a ton of second-chance opportunities in this one.
Antetokounmpo did the bulk of the damage on the glass with 19 rebounds, but the Bucks had four other players record 5+ boards with Donte DiVincenzo, Sterling Brown, Ersan Ilyasova and Robin Lopez each with six, while Eric Bledsoe, George Hill and Pat Connaughton had four apiece.
The Bucks outrebounded the Blazers by 17 on the night (58-41), including 18-9 on the offensive glass, 10 of those in the first half, including this highlight-reel putback from Connaughton.
😲 PAT SOARS IN FOR THE PUTBACK! 😲- NBA (@NBA) November 22, 2019
📺: 2nd Q on TNT pic.twitter.com/sqVYiE9bdB
The extra effort and energy chasing down loose balls and fighting for boards was done by committee as the Bucks registered their largest half-time total of the season, leading 72-58 at the break.
Portland's frontcourt injury crisis saw them star Anthony Tolliver at centre, with Skal Labissiere coming off the bench, but they were no match for the Bucks.
Labissiere did his best, with an impressive display off the bench, recording 22 points, 12 rebounds and a game-high five blocks.
NATIONAL TV SKAL pic.twitter.com/hWSX0vZMEK- Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) November 22, 2019
Melo finds rhythm in second game
In his second game for the Blazers, Carmelo Anthony looked much more comfortable in the Blazers lineup.
He finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists, shooting 6-of-15 from the field and 3-of-5 from the three-point line.
Melo 3-point celebrations are back 🔥 pic.twitter.com/exmtFmhLrT- SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 22, 2019
While his touch around the rim and from mid-range is still a work in progress, his ability to pull up from beyond the arc and bury catch-and-shoot triples is an encouraging sign for what will most likely be his long-term role playing alongside Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
In Lillard's absence McCollum took the wheel, scoring a game-high 37 points and 10 assists on 15-of-29 from the field and 5-of-10 from deep.