Man, it’s been a great week to be an NBA fan. After already witnessing a 71-point game from Donovan Mitchell, we were then treated to an “I’m back” game from Klay Thompson, who dropped 54 points of his own on the same day. Both of those performances came in wild comeback victories that took a total of three overtime periods between them.
I thought things might calm down for a day or two, but two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo decided he wanted to join in on the action as he helped the Milwaukee Bucks put away the Washington Wizards in an important 123-113 victory.
Antetokounmpo, who sat out the Bucks’ previous game, which was a 118-95 loss to the same Wizards squad, reminded all of us of how big a difference maker he is. From early on, he set the tone while attacking the rim.
He used both offense and defense to have his way with the Wizards, and they simply had no answer for him. There’s still no scarier sight for defenders than watching Antetokounmpo running full-speed at the rim, except maybe when Zion Williamson does it.
Antetokounmpo was all up in his bag of tricks, using spin moves, reverse layups, and whatever else he wanted to use at the moment to get buckets.
The Greek Freak also distributed the ball well, ensuring that his teammates got involved in the action regularly. Whether it was finding slashers, or drawing multiple defenders before kicking out for an open three, Antetokounmpo was ready to dish out a big pass.
The end result wasn’t just a victory, but also a dominant performance. Antetokounmpo finished the game with 55 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and two steals while turning over the ball five times. He shot 20 of 33 from the field and 15 of 16 from the free throw lines in a performance reminiscent of how he helped the Bucks close out Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals.
This is the version of Antetokounmpo that will be sorely needed as the Bucks continue to battle for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference. They’re currently third with a 24-13 record and are only one and a half games out of first place. They’re in a tight fight with the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers for the top four spots. The Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers aren’t far behind in fifth and sixth place either.