MILWAUKEE — The first time the Milwaukee Bucks had the ball on Wednesday night they ran a pick-and-roll in the middle of the floor with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, which led to a wide-open alley-oop for the Greek Freak. A few possessions later, Giannis caught another lob from Middleton, soaring well above the rim to make the catch and throw it down with his left hand in one motion.
Those two plays set the tone, as Giannis scored 14 of the Bucks’ first 22 points to help his team out to an early double-digit lead. Nothing much changed the rest of the way, as Giannis finished with 43 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in the Bucks’ 124-115 win over the visiting Hawks.
“Giannis came out aggressive,” Middleton said. “I think he realized that really nobody can guard him. He can get to his spots. Whenever he got to the paint it seemed like he was getting fouled, got to the free throw line and got himself going even more. He did a lot of his damage in the first quarter, got us off to a great start.”
This was the eighth 40-point game of the season for Giannis and continued a torrid stretch since the All-Star break. In seven games since play resumed, Giannis is averaging 31.1 points, 13.6 rebounds, 5.7 assists. 1.7 steals and 1.4 blocks, while shooting 56.3 percent from the field. Even for a player like him, who has set the bar extremely high, this has been an incredible run.
“That ain’t normal bro,” Bobby Portis said. “The things he does are not normal. Three people on him in the paint, finds a way to go up and dunk the ball; rolling to the goal and jumping over everybody and dunking the ball; or just putting his head down at the top of the key, driving, Euro-ing. I can keep going on and on, but it’s fun to be his teammate, fun to play alongside him.”
The recent hot streak has bumped his season average up to 29.7 points per game, which would be a career-high and he is now tied with Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid for the highest mark in the league. There’s a real chance that Giannis could add a scoring title…