Milwaukee Bucks

This Date in NBA History (March 17): Giannis Antetokounmpo scores career-high 52 points vs. Philadelphia 76ers in 2019 & more

On March 17, 2019, two of the top five teams in the league and two of the top three in the East - the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers - faced-off in an entertaining contest with playoff-like intensity at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.

Eventual MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo went off for his career-high 52 points while also recording 16 rebounds and seven assists in 36 minutes of playing time. It was the first 50-point game of his career and the first Bucks player to do so since Brandon Jennings in 2009.

He became the sixth different player in the previous 35 years to post a statline of 50p/15r/5a.

After a 17-point first half, the Greek Freak erupted for a super-efficient 35-point second half (10-of-13 FG; 14-of-16 FT).

He brought the Bucks to within three points twice in the closing seconds of the game but the Philadelphia 76ers held on to win 130-125, behind a huge night from their best player in Joel Embiid.

The 7-foot center tallied up 40 points, 16 rebounds, six assists, and three steals in 35:39 minutes to provide the fans with a great duel between two great players.

With this performance, Antetokounmpo became the 11th player during the 2018-19 season to score 50 or more, which set a single-season record in NBA history. By the end of the season, the record was extended to 13.

Behind season averages of 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists, in 72 games, he went on to be named KIA NBA MVP for the 2018-19 season. Later, he led the team to their first Conference Finals appearance since 2001, where they lost in six games to the eventual champions in the Toronto Raptors.

Other notable events on March 17:

  • In 1984, the Houston Rockets retired Calvin Murphy's No. 23 jersey. He was only the second player to be honored by the franchise after Rudy Tomjanovich.
  • In 1999, Lenny Wilkens coached his 2,051th game - surpassing Bill Fitch's tally of 2,050 to become the NBA's all-time leader in games coached.
  • In 2010, less than a year after he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Michael Jordan was approved as the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats (now the Hornets). Jordan is a native of Wilmington, North Carolina, just over 200 miles from Charlotte.

Game-winning buzzer-beaters on March 17

Lou Williams vs. Brooklyn Nets in 2019

Andre Iguodala vs. Los Angeles Lakers in 2009

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