Anthony Davis and LeBron James tipped their hats to Giannis Antetokounmpo after the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.

The two teams went into the game at Fiserv Forum with NBA-leading 24-4 records and it was the Bucks who emerged triumphant, claiming a 111-104 victory.

Reigning MVP Antetokounmpo had 34 points and 11 rebounds and made a career-best five three-pointers in a commanding display.

Davis, who sat out the defeat to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday with an ankle sprain, played the entire second half and finished with a game-high 36 points.

Asked for his thoughts on Antetokounmpo's display, James simply gestured by tipping an imaginary hat, while Davis suggested there was little more the Lakers could have done to stop him.

"We tip our hats to him, man. I think we executed our game plan as far as him driving," said Davis.

"He did a good job of knocking down threes, he did a good job of finding guys and they made shots for him.

"You've got to tip your hat to him, he made five of them and they were all tough looks. Two were highly contested at the end of the shot clock, one was wide open, and I think the other two were dribble-up threes from the wing."

On his ankle injury, Davis added: "I just tried to play through it, I still felt it a little bit. I tried to keep going, battle through it a little bit and help my team win."

The Lakers trailed by 18 points at half-time and were unable to avoid succumbing to successive defeats for the first time this season at the end of a five-game road trip, despite James claiming a triple-double of 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists.

"We continue to build chemistry, we continue to build camaraderie," James said.

"Pretty much every time anyone does anything, we pretty much do it together on the road. Just kind of have that bunker mentality, that brotherhood when we hit the road."

Giannis Antetokounmpo said he is not supposed to be up against LeBron James and Anthony Davis as the Milwaukee Bucks star remained grounded following Thursday's win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Bucks claimed the best record in the NBA after reigning MVP Antetokounmpo inspired a 111-104 victory in the blockbuster showdown.

All eyes were on Milwaukee for the highly anticipated clash as Eastern Conference leaders the Bucks and the Western Conference-leading Lakers shared 24-4 records.

Antetokounmpo upstaged James and Davis with his 34 points and 11 rebound, the Bucks moving top of the overall NBA standings.

"I think the most important thing is to try to stay humble. When you win MVP and you win 60 games, it's hard," Antetokounmpo said afterwards.

"You feel like, 'OK, what else?' But at the end of the day, I realise and my family realises that I'm not supposed to be here.

"I wasn't the number one pick. [Anthony Davis] was. LeBron [James] was. I wasn't supposed to be here.

"I'm not supposed to go against these two beasts, so I'm just happy that I'm here and happy that I'm going through the process, and I always want to be better, do better for my team, and that's what gives me joy."

Antetokounmpo also had a career-high five three-pointers against the Lakers, on eight attempts from beyond the arc.

"I'm going to keep shooting. It doesn't matter for me if I made one, two or five, I just want to be better," Antetokounmpo said. "And I want to keep getting better and keep working on my game, and it's going to be some nights that I'm going to make zero and it'll be nights I'll make five, but I've got to keep shooting because that's what my team wants me to do."

Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer added: "I think a lot of players keep working, keep getting better, and it's part of our league, part of being a professional.

"But what Giannis does in the summer, the amount of time he puts in before practices, after practices, taking care of his body -- but I think everybody, as special as he was last year, I think even opponents and his peers, I think, see and know that he can get better. He's doing it. He's putting the time and effort in, and we just feel fortunate he's ours and excited about him and our future."

Giannis Antetokounmpo's double-double led the Milwaukee Bucks past the Los Angeles Lakers 111-104 and to the NBA's best record.

All eyes were on Milwaukee for Thursday's highly anticipated showdown as Eastern Conference leaders the Bucks and the Western Conference-leading Lakers shared 24-4 records.

The blockbuster encounter also pitted reigning MVP Antetokounmpo against Lakers superstar LeBron James.

And the Bucks secured the league's best record thanks to Antetokounmpo, and his 34 points and 11 rebounds.

Antetokounmpo also had a career-high five three-pointers for the Bucks, who used a 42-29 second quarter to move clear of the Lakers.

James finished with a triple-double of 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists but it was not enough for the visiting Lakers.

Lakers team-mate Anthony Davis put up 36 points and 10 rebounds after returning from a one-game absence due to an ankle injury.

 

Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis will return from a one-game absence to face the Milwaukee Bucks in Thursday's NBA blockbuster showdown.

Davis sat out Tuesday's defeat to the Indiana Pacers due to a mild ankle sprain, leaving his availability for the Bucks clash in question.

However, the All-Star has overcome that ankle issue as the Western Conference-leading Lakers and Eastern Conference pacesetters the Bucks square off with matching 24-4 records.

Since teaming up with LeBron James at the Lakers, Davis is averaging 27.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.

 

Anthony Davis is not ready to commit to the Los Angeles Lakers ahead of free agency, despite his stellar start to life at the Staples Center.

Davis has barely missed a beat since swapping the New Orleans Pelicans for the Lakers prior to the start of the NBA season, helping Los Angeles to a joint-NBA best 24-4 record.

But Davis is a free agent at the end of the campaign, and the six-time All-Star has previously talked up the "possibility" of joining hometown team the Chicago Bulls.

"I still look at it as we'll see what happens at the end of the season," Davis told ESPN.

"Obviously, the season's going great so far and I'm trying to stay in the moment and worry about that when the season's over. But I feel like we can do something special this year.

"With the team that we put together and the coaching staff that we have, I don't feel like no one can beat us but the Los Angeles Lakers.

"But when that time comes I'll think about it and see what's going on. But right now I'm trying to focus and win a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers."

Since teaming up with LeBron James in Los Angeles, Davis is averaging 27.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.

Davis, though, is questionable for Thursday's blockbuster clash with the Milwaukee Bucks – who the Lakers are tied with for the best record in the league – due to a left ankle sprain.

"We'll see how the ankle feels and hopefully I'm able to play," Davis told The Dan Patrick Show.

The Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks meet in a blockbuster clash between the NBA's two conference leaders on Thursday.

Holding the best records in the NBA at 24-4, the Western Conference-leading Lakers visit the Eastern Conference leaders at Fiserv Forum.

The Bucks and Lakers will meet just twice during the regular season and both encounters are shaping as must-watch matches.

With the help of Stats Perform data, we take a closer look at the two teams' starts to the season.

Matchup among the best

With a 48-8 combined win-loss record, this clash marks the seventh highest combined win percentage (.857) entering a game since 1970-71, with a minimum of 25 games played by both teams.

Milwaukee set up their record on the back of an 18-game winning streak that was only broken by the Dallas Mavericks on Monday.

The Lakers, meanwhile, are also going into the game on the back of a defeat after losing to the Indiana Pacers.

They have embarked on two seven-game runs and a 10-match winning streak this season.

The Lakers and Bucks' 24-4 records are the equal 13th best through the first 28 games of an NBA season.

Bucks impressively cruising

Led by reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 31.7 points, 12.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game this season, Milwaukee have dominated.

Their points/G differential of 12.9 is the highest in the NBA since 1970-71, currently standing greater than the 1971-72 Lakers (12.3) and 70-71 Bucks (12.3).

Both those Lakers and Bucks went on to win the NBA championship.

Milwaukee have claimed huge victories over the likes of the New York Knicks (132-88), Charlotte Hornets (137-96), Orlando Magic (123-91), Minnesota Timberwolves (134-106), Los Angeles Clippers (119-91) and Detroit Pistons (127-103) this season.

 

Lakers duo starring

As was expected, LeBron James and Anthony Davis have led the Lakers.

James is averaging 25.9 points, 10.6 assists and 7.4 rebounds per game this season, while Davis (27.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists) is also delivering impressive numbers.

The pair are tracking to be among the best team-mate duos – to have played in 70 per cent of their team's games – since 1976-77, when it comes to most points plus assists plus rebounds.

James (43.9) and Davis (40.0) are fifth on the list at 83.9, with Houston Rockets pair James Harden (52.3) and Russell Westbrook (38.1) topping it at 90.4 after their performances this season.

LeBron James and Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel poured praise upon Anthony Davis after his 50-point display against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Davis reached 50 points in a game for the first time since joining the Lakers, leading the team to a 142-125 victory on Sunday.

With his star team-mate in such form, James suggested his role was fairly straightforward, with the four-time MVP contributing 13 assists to go with his 32 points.

"Just keep feeding him," James said of Davis. "He was efficient all night, getting the ball exactly where he wanted it - either near post, low post, perimeter.

"He can do it all, so it's our job to continue to give him the ball."

James is happy with how he and Davis are performing together, inspiring a 21-3 start to the season, but he was always confident the former New Orleans Pelicans star would be able to lead the Lakers.

"For me and AD, it starts with us," he said. "If we're on the same page, it makes it much easier for the rest of the ball club. That's both on and off the floor.

"We're just trying to lead by example, lead by our voices, lead by our play, and see where it takes us. It's been pretty good for us so far.

"[Davis] had to carry a franchise before, so I don't think it's anything that's foreign to him. The best thing about what it is today is that he has an opportunity to be great every night.

"No matter if he's making shots or not, it's just his presence alone. And us, as his team-mates, continue to make him comfortable. He's great. There's nothing more that you can say."

Davis was 20-for-29 from the field but did not need a single three-point shot to get to a half-century.

The 26-year-old also weighed in with seven rebounds, six assists, four steals and a block, leaving coach Vogel to marvel at his player.

"The first thing that sticks out to me was that he had four steals, a block and great defense all 39 minutes he was out there," Vogel said.

"To be able to perform on that end of the floor and anchor us and still go for 50 - with what I feel is an old-school smash-mouth way of getting 50: no threes, 20-for-29 and living at the free-throw line, post-ups, offensive rebounds, crashes, all those type of things - it's just an old-school performance.

"It's one for the ages."

Anthony Davis said it was "humbling" to join Kobe Bryant and LeBron James in producing a 50-point game for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Davis and the Lakers have been in outstanding form so far in the 2019-20 NBA season, and that continued on Sunday as the former New Orleans Pelicans star put up exactly 50 points in a 142-125 defeat of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The names of Bryant and James - the only other Lakers to achieve this feat in the past decade - were put to the 26-year-old in the locker room after.

Davis replied: "It means a lot. There are some greats who came through here, so to be in a class with guys like that - especially so early in my career, my first year here - is humbling.

"I'm definitely excited to be in that class."

Davis had 27 points by halftime and revealed he was then encouraged to go for 50 by his team-mates.

"I've had nights where I started off like that and ended up with like 30, didn't score in the second half," he said. "But the shot was feeling good tonight. We were very well rested.

"Going against another great big man in Karl-Anthony Towns, obviously you get up for some of those games. They're a team who are hungry, trying to get wins, and when you start off pretty hot from the floor, you just want the ball.

"It kept going in most of the times and my team-mates kept giving me the ball. They were saying I could get 50 so, at that point, you try to get 50.

"[They said it at] half-time. At that point, I'm not saying it was on my mind, because I'm still trying to play the right way, but I was definitely ultra-aggressive."

The Lakers improved to 21-3, four games clear of rivals the Los Angeles Clippers at the top of the West, and Davis says they are "in a rhythm".

"I feel like I'm in a rhythm," he said. "You've got to find your rhythm, and I feel, as a team, we've found our rhythm - that's how we're able to put up so many points.

"Obviously our defence has been really good and leads to a lot of open shots for us. Guys are able to see the ball go in the basket early, which helps us later in the game.

"I think the way that we approach the game now, knowing we've found our rhythm offensively, the whole team is playing at a high level."

LeBron James joked he is considering sneezing on Anthony Davis after his Los Angeles Lakers team-mate produced another outstanding performance in their win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday.

Davis, who joined the Lakers from the New Orleans Pelicans in a blockbuster trade in June, followed up 25 and 26-point performances in road wins against the Denver Nuggets and the Utah Jazz with a 39-point showing as Los Angeles claimed a 136-113 victory in Portland.

The 2012 first overall pick's displays have been made all the more impressive by the fact he has produced such incredible form while battling an illness.

Speaking after their win at the Moda Center, James said of Davis: "You see what he did on this road trip being sick? And he is starting to feel a lot better and I don't quite like it. I might sneeze on him a couple of times."

The Lakers are in command at the top of the Western Conference having lost just three of their 23 games this season.

"We have our mind set on something special. In order to reach that goal we have to stay in the moment and go game by game," Davis added.

"We take every game personal. We want to go out there and be the best team."

For the 9-14 Blazers, the game was marred by an injury to Rodney Hood, who suffered a torn Achilles in the first quarter.

"You hate to see one of your team-mates go down to an injury like that, especially a starter, and somebody who is really a good person and having a great season, fitting in really well with our team, and a big part of what we do," Blazers star Damian Lillard said. 

"You just feel for him personally more than anything."

 

LeBron James hailed a "monster game" from Anthony Davis, who battled through illness to help the Los Angeles Lakers return to winning ways at the Denver Nuggets.

Davis required intravenous fluids at half-time of Tuesday's 105-96 road victory after being one of several Lakers players to suffer from flu-like symptoms.

The 26-year-old put on a fine all-round display, though, contributing 25 points and 10 rebounds as the Lakers recovered from their loss to the Dallas Mavericks last time out.

James said Davis' contribution was just par for the course since he joined the Lakers in the offseason.

"He's been doing it all year," said James, who himself contributed 25 points, six rebounds and nine assists. "Playing through injuries, playing through illness like he did tonight. 

"[He's the] Defensive Player of the Year, and he showed tonight once again playing one-on-one versus 'Joker' [Nikola Jokic] in the post. 

"When there were switches, going on with Jamal Murray. He got stop after stop after stop. It was just a monster game for him."

For his part, Davis insists his illness had no bearing on the way he tried to play.

"I just tried to fight and do whatever I can to help the team win. I felt like I could give it a go, and I was able to contribute as much as I can and get the win," Davis said.

"[The sickness] didn't factor in. I was trying just to make the right play. Not trying to force anything. I think the shots that I had were good shots. But I was kind of overthinking it a little bit. 

"Not because of illness, but the way they were playing me. And then just trying to be aggressive in the second through fourth quarters. Just trying to get my team going, get them some looks and get myself some looks. 

"So, the illness didn't really play a big part that I thought it would, especially playing in Denver in the altitude."

Lakers coach Frank Vogel described Davis' performance as "something special".

"He just felt lousy the last two days. He comes in and has a Defensive Player of the Year type of performance," he said.

"He's guarding their two best players, Jokic, single coverage, everybody's staying home and Jamal Murray taking him to the basket and he's making defensive play after defensive play.

"And he was outstanding. For him to play through illness and have that kind of performance was something special."

Anthony Davis vowed the Los Angeles Lakers would not lose two straight NBA games after their run of 10 consecutive wins came to an emphatic halt on Sunday.

The Dallas Mavericks won 114-100 at Staples Center on the back of 27 points from in-form Luka Doncic.

That led Davis to describe the Lakers' defense as "terrible" but he joined LeBron James in adopting the mindset that the Lakers (17-3) would not allow themselves to drop two in a row for the rest of the season.

The loss to the Mavs (13-6) comes ahead of a difficult trip to face the Denver Nuggets (13-4), who hold an 8-2 record at home court, with other testing games road games against the Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers to follow later this week.

The Lakers were dominated 16-9 in offensive rebounds against Dallas, much to the frustration of Davis.

"Our whole thing is we don't want to lose two in a row – ever," said Davis, who had 27 points and 10 rebounds, per ESPN.

"Our defense was terrible. We didn't rebound the basketball therefore we keep giving them second-chance points and they made us pay with threes.

"We know what we did wrong. It's one game. We beat ourselves with the rebounding and we need to do better."

Of the goal to go the rest of 2019-20 without losing back-to-back games, James said: "You don't know until you [strive for it].

"Realistic is the mindset. It's not about [accepting that] sometimes you lose games in a row. Just having that mindset and that approach."

Coach Frank Vogel acknowledged his team's challenge against the Nuggets on Tuesday would be greater than the one they faced against the Mavs.

"That's part of growing together, how you respond to losses," he said. "Playing in Denver is always tough. As well as they are playing this year, it's going to be even tougher. 

"I believe in our guys. If we play to our abilities, there's nobody we can't beat and nowhere we can't get a W."

As for Doncic, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle marvelled at a display that included 10 assists, nine rebounds and three steals, while the 20-year-old went 4-for-10 from three-point range.

"He hit a couple of hellacious shots," Carlisle said of Doncic. "There's just a small handful of guys in the whole world that can hit them. LeBron James is one of them. He's one of them. 

"Those step-back 30-footers, it's hard to describe how difficult the shot is, and how easy he makes it look."

LeBron James called for improvement after the Los Angeles Lakers saw their winning streak abruptly halted by the Dallas Mavericks.

Riding a 10-game winning run, the NBA-leading Lakers went down 114-100 to the Mavericks in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Despite Anthony Davis' double-double (27 points, 10 rebounds) and James' 25 points, the Lakers (17-3) fell to their third defeat of the season.

Reflecting on the loss, Lakers superstar James told reporters: "They pushed the tempo a lot more. They played with a better pace than us.

"A couple of calls when against us, which kind of changed the momentum of the game."

"We can play better," James added. "We obviously know they've played extremely well, especially on the road.

"We knew they wanted some get-back after we beat them on their floor, and they us on ours.

"They're a very good team. Very well coached. We just learn from our mistakes and the good things too."

Davis remained upbeat afterwards, saying: "It's one game. We're not going to get down over this loss. We know what type of team we are, we know now.

"We played well. And they beat us, but we beat ourselves with the rebounding, so we know what we've got to do better."

Meanwhile, Luka Doncic revelled in the Mavericks' win after scoring 21 of his 27 points in the second half.

"It's a great win that means a lot to us," Doncic said. "It shows that we can play against big teams, too. We just need to keep it rolling."

The Los Angeles Lakers will enter December with the NBA's best record, a fact that does not shock Anthony Davis.

Frank Vogel's team won a 10th straight game against the Washington Wizards on Friday to improve to 17-2, equalling the franchise's best record through 19 games.

The Lakers did not make the postseason in LeBron James' first season in Los Angeles, but the acquisition of center Davis ahead of this campaign has helped transform the team.

Asked what he would think if he had been told the Lakers would start 17-2, Davis replied: "I wouldn't have been surprised.

"We know the type of team we have. And when we defend, we can beat anybody, and we have a lot of veterans.

"So when we're down, we're able to fight back and have the confidence in our schemes."

Neither Davis nor James were needed in the fourth quarter as the Lakers eased to a 125-103 win over the Wizards.

They finished November with a 14-1 record but there are trickier games coming up on their schedule, including a clash with the Dallas Mavericks and the in-form Luka Doncic on Sunday.

"We have championship aspirations, but at the end of the day, that's not what's here right now," James added.

"What's right now is our next opponent, and that's Dallas and they're very good.

"We want to continue to get better and better and have championship mindset every time we step on the floor."

Anthony Davis came back to haunt his former team as the streaking Los Angeles Lakers prevailed 114-110 over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Back in New Orleans for the first time since his blockbuster trade to the Lakers ahead of the 2019-20 NBA campaign, Davis posted a season-high 41 points on Wednesday.

Davis – who was selected by the Pelicans with pick one in the 2012 Draft – overcame an elbow problem in the final quarter to lead the Lakers (16-2) to their ninth successive win.

LeBron James finished with 29 points and 11 assists, while Jrue Holiday (29 points, 12 assists) top scored for the Pelicans (6-12).

Kemba Walker returned from a neck sprain to help the Boston Celtics top the Brooklyn Nets 121-110.

In Walker's first game back after leaving last week's loss to the Denver Nuggets with his neck in a brace, Walker posted a season-high 39 points in Boston.

"I've been over it. I could have played last game, honestly," Walker said. "If I'm on the court, I'm on the court. I wasn't thinking about anything [but] wanting to win."

The Nets were without former Celtics guard Kyrie Irving for the seventh consecutive game due to shoulder soreness.

 

Embiid bounces back from horror show

After finishing scoreless against the Toronto Raptors last time out, Joel Embiid put up 33 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Philadelphia 76ers past the Sacramento Kings 97-91. The result preserved Philadelphia's perfect home record at 8-0.

Giannis Antetokounmpo posted his 18th consecutive double-double as the Milwaukee Bucks extended their winning streak to nine games with a 111-102 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. The reigning MVP posted 30 points and 10 rebounds.

James Harden and Russell Westbrook combined for 61 points in the Houston Rockets' 117-108 win against the Miami Heat. Harden scored 34 and Westbrook contributed 27 as the Rockets snapped a three-game skid.

It was a franchise-record night for the Toronto Raptors. The defending champions eased past the lowly New York Knicks 126-98 for their eighth straight home win to begin the season.

 

Oh no for O'Neale

It was a tough 27 minutes for Royce O'Neale. The 26-year-old did not score a point, going 0 for four from the floor and 0 of three from beyond the arc. His Utah Jazz lost 121-102 to the Indiana Pacers.

Coby White managed just two points in the Chicago Bulls' 104-90 defeat to the Golden State Warriors. White was 0 of seven from the field, while he missed all four of his three-point attempts.

 

Harrell ensures Clippers stay hot

Montrezl Harrell's tip-in with 2.3 seconds remaining gave the Los Angeles Clippers a 121-119 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies and a seventh straight win.

Wednesday's results

Orlando Magic 116-104 Cleveland Cavaliers
Indiana Pacers 121-102 Utah Jazz
Boston Celtics 121-110 Brooklyn Nets
Philadelphia 76ers 97-91 Sacramento Kings
Charlotte Hornets 102-101 Detroit Pistons
Toronto Raptors 126-98 New York Knicks
Milwaukee Bucks 111-102 Atlanta Hawks
Los Angeles Clippers 121-119 Memphis Grizzlies
Houston Rockets 117-108 Miami Heat
Portland Trail Blazers 136-119 Oklahoma City Thunder
Los Angeles Lakers 114-110 New Orleans Pelicans
Golden State Warriors 104-90 Chicago Bulls
Washington Wizards 140-132 Phoenix Suns
Minnesota Timberwolves 113-101 San Antonio Spurs

 

Clippers at Spurs

After the Thanksgiving break, the in-form Clippers will head to San Antonio to face the Spurs on Friday. It will be another Spurs reunion for Leonard, who left Gregg Popovich's team for the Raptors ahead of the 2018-19 season before landing in Los Angeles. San Antonio have only won one of their past 11 games.

Anthony Davis may have had a bitter divorce from the New Orleans Pelicans, but he will still have "mixed emotions" when he returns with the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.

Six-time All-Star Davis moved to Los Angeles to link up with LeBron James in a blockbuster trade during the offseason, having made no secret of his desire to depart New Orleans.

Davis, the number one overall draft pick in 2012, revealed he spoke to James about his own initial exit from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Miami Heat and said he is still fond of the Louisiana city.

"I talked to LeBron," Davis told Stadium. "I said, 'When you went to Miami, first off, how were you when you left Cleveland? Obviously you left willingly, I had to ask for a trade, but what were your emotions?'

"He was like, 'Man, I was scared'. And that was the same thing with me. I'd been so accustomed to being in New Orleans.

"I love that city, I have so many friends there, family. New Orleans is a part of me.

"It was tough for me to walk away from that. So when I go back, I'm going to have mixed emotions because a great six and a half years and then that last half [a year]...

"I know the fans are going to boo me, I got booed when I was still playing there."

Davis said he had no regrets about the way he handled his departure from New Orleans.

However, he wishes he had not sworn at a Pelicans fan who shouted abuse in his direction during a loss to the Charlotte Hornets in April.

"The fan just hit me with something [verbally]," Davis added.

"It was all that emotion boiled up into one. It just happened. That's one thing I do regret about flipping the fan off.

"But the way I handled the process... no [regrets]."

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