Mon, Nov 20, 2023 9:00 PM
By NOAH TRISTER, AP Sports Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo described it as “random basketball” — which is ironic since so many of his points came from the same area of the court.
Antetokounmpo scored 42 points on 20-of-23 shooting, and the Milwaukee Bucks won their fifth consecutive game, 142-129 over the Washington Wizards on Monday night. Almost all of Antetokounmpo's field goals came from close to the rim on the type of shooting night the NBA hadn't seen in over 40 years.
“Left block, right block, transition, rim run, off the dribble,” said Antetokounmpo, who also had 13 rebounds and eight assists. “Roll, pop — just play random basketball. I think it's harder to guard, harder for them to load up.”
Antetokounmpo shot 87.0% from the field, the highest mark in a game by a player with at least 20 attempts since Mike Woodson of the Kansas City Kings went 22 of 24 (91.7%) in a 48-point effort against the Houston Rockets on Feb. 20, 1983.
“Unstoppable,” Bucks coach Adrian Griffin said. “He literally is unstoppable.”
Antetokounmpo wasn't so sure about that.
“I wish it was easy,” he said. “I wish I could come in and score 42 every game, but it's hard. You've got to work extremely hard to get comfortable, to get in your rhythm, to get to your spot, to playmake for yourself, to playmake for your teammates. It's hard.”
Washington (2-11) dropped its sixth straight, but not without putting up a decent fight against the star-studded Bucks. The Wizards led by a point in the fourth after Corey Kispert’s layup with 10:02 remaining, but Antetokounmpo scored at the other end to start a 15-3 run by Milwaukee.
The Bucks (10-4) have rebounded from a pedestrian start to join Boston and Philadelphia among the elite teams in the Eastern Conference. This wasn’t a terribly inspiring defensive performance — Washington shot 55% from the field — but Milwaukee kept the Wizards at arm’s length after the Bucks made their decisive run in the fourth.
“I didn't like much about our defense,” Griffin said. “Until the end, and we were able to start stringing some stops. It was tough.”
Jordan Poole scored 30 points for Washington, and Kyle Kuzma added 22 points and 13 assists. The Wizards turned the ball over only four times, and the Bucks didn't have a single point off those giveaways.
Damian Lillard scored 22 points for the Bucks. Khris Middleton scored 18 to move past Sidney Moncrief and into fourth place on Milwaukee's career scoring list. He now trails only Antetokounmpo, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Glenn Robinson.
“It’s really cool, but he’s not catching me," Antetokounmpo said with a smile. "He’s got a long way to go. No, but it’s awesome.”
The Bucks shot 58.5% from the field. Bobby Portis scored 17 points and Brook Lopez and Malik Beasley added 16.
“We needed everybody tonight,” Griffin said. “I thought for the most part we played some good basketball, but you can't leave a team like that hanging around. Anybody can beat you on any given night.”
Bucks: At Boston on Wednesday night.
Wizards: At Charlotte on Wednesday night.
AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba