The Milwaukee Bucks snapped a two-game skid thanks to Giannis Antetokounmpo, whose double-double fuelled a 129-115 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

After the Bucks dropped back-to-back games, two-time reigning NBA MVP Antetokounmpo posted 27 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists on Sunday.

Antetokounmpo became the sixth Bucks player to record 11,000 career points thanks to his performance in Milwaukee.

The Hawks – playing without Trae Young – were led by De'Andre Hunter's game-high 33 points and John Collins' 30 points but it was not enough.

Jaylen Brown produced a scintillating display as the Boston Celtics outlasted the Cleveland Cavaliers 141-103.

Brown had 33 points in just 19 minutes – the most by any player in fewer than 20 minutes played during the shot-clock era (1954-55), according to NBA.com/Stats.

 

Kawhi stars

The Los Angeles Clippers celebrated their seventh consecutive victory behind Kawhi Leonard's 34 points in a 108-100 win against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Clippers improved to 13-4, tying defending champions and city rivals the Los Angeles Lakers for the league's best record.

Gordon Hayward flexed his muscles with a game-high 39 points to lead the Charlotte Hornets past the Orlando Magic 107-104.

A season-high 30 points from OG Anunoby saw the Toronto Raptors top the Indiana Pacers 107-102 for a fifth victory in six games.

 

Westbrook struggles on return

For the first time in almost two weeks, Russell Westbrook was back on the court for the struggling Washington Wizards. However, the former MVP finished with just nine points in 25 minutes. Westbrook was three-of-11 from the field, while he made just one of three attempts from beyond the arc. He also had four turnovers as the Wizards lost 121-101 to the San Antonio Spurs.

Paul George has been in good form this season, but he struggled in the Clippers' win. He was four-of-13 from the field and only two-of-eight from three-point range for 11 points and four turnovers in 33 minutes.

 

Hayward proving his worth

Michael Jordan and the Hornets opted to give Hayward a big payday to lure him from Boston. The former All-Star has returned to his best with the Hornets, continuing his fine form with the game-winning shot with 0.7 seconds remaining.

Sunday's results

Toronto Raptors 107-102 Indiana Pacers
Los Angeles Clippers 108-100 Oklahoma City Thunder
Boston Celtics 141-103 Cleveland Cavaliers
Charlotte Hornets 107-104 Orlando Magic
San Antonio Spurs 121-101 Washington Wizards
Milwaukee Bucks 129-115 Atlanta Hawks
Portland Trail Blazers 116-113 New York Knicks
Memphis Grizzlies-Sacramento Kings (postponed)

 

76ers at Pistons

The in-form Philadelphia 76ers (12-5) – the Eastern Conference leaders – will put their three-game winning streak on the line against the lowly Detroit Pistons (3-13) on Monday.

LeBron James said he was not fuelled by his MVP snub as he scored a season-high 34 points in a Los Angeles Lakers victory over Giannis Antetokounmpo's Milwaukee Bucks.

James also provided eight assists and claimed six rebounds in a 113-106 win for the NBA Western Conference leaders on Thursday.

Antetokounmpo, the NBA MVP and Defensive Player of the Year winner last season, finished with a 25-point haul but could not prevent the Bucks - third in the Eastern Conference - from slipping to 9-6.

Superstar James dismissed a suggestion he may have been out to prove a point after missing out on the MVP award last year, as the Lakers extended their franchise away record to eight consecutive wins on the road to start the season.

He told reporters: "I think you know me. I think all of you guys know me. It's never been about individual.

"It's all about the team success and that's all that matters. I can care less about that. I just try to play well and help our team win versus any opponent and that’s what it’s all about."

Lakers star Anthony Davis declared "I suck right now" after he scored 18 points, took nine rebounds, laid on six assists and came up with two blocks.

Yet James says his fellow All-Star is being too hard on himself.

"He's continuing to grow every single game. Every single film session, we kind of break those things down - what he sees on the floor," James said.

"Tonight was another example of him just seeing the other side of the floor and putting the ball on time, on target and guys knocking it down."

The Los Angeles Lakers stayed perfect on the road after beating the Milwaukee Bucks 113-106 in the NBA on Thursday.

LeBron James posted a season-high 34 points as defending champions the Lakers extended a franchise record after winning their eighth consecutive away game to start the season.

James also tallied eight assists and six rebounds to help the Lakers – 8-0 on the road – bounce back from a loss in the first of a seven-game road trip, upstaging reigning two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in the process.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 23 points for the Western Conference-leading Lakers (12-4) in Milwaukee, where the Bucks (9-6) dropped back-to-back games.

Antetokounmpo's double-double of 25 points and 12 rebounds were not enough for the Bucks, who also had solid contributions from Jrue Holiday (22 points) and Khris Middleton (20 points).

 

Curry stars

Stephen Curry put up 30 points, but the Golden State Warriors still went down 119-104 at home to the New York Knicks. The two-time MVP moved into fourth place on the franchise's all-time games played list after making his 714th regular-season appearance, surpassing Paul Arizin. RJ Barrett's 28 points for the Knicks were a career high.

Golden State's Eric Paschall scored his 1,000th career point in his 74th game, reaching the 1,000-point mark in the fewest amount of games played by a Warriors second round draft pick in the Modern Draft era (since 1966). Previously, Gilbert Arenas did so in 79 games.

Donovan Mitchell's season-high 36 points fuelled the Utah Jazz's 129-118 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. Mitchell was 11-of-19 shooting from the field, while he made six of eight three-point attempts. The Jazz have won seven straight games.

 

Schroder struggles in Milwaukee

Dennis Schroder failed to get going for the Lakers. The offseason recruit was just two of 10 from the field, while missing all three of his attempts from beyond the arc for four points in 33 minutes.

Kelly Oubre Jr. did not perform much better for the beaten Warriors. His seven points were on two-of-11 shooting from the field at home to the Knicks. Oubre also missed all four of his three-point attempts.

 

Steph with the behind-the-back pass

While the Warriors were unable to claim the win, Curry produced a couple of highlight moments. His behind-the-back pass to set up Draymond Green for the three-pointer was the pick of the bunch.

 

Thursday's results

Los Angeles Lakers 113-106 Milwaukee Bucks
Utah Jazz 129-118 New Orleans Pelicans
New York Knicks 119-104 Golden State Warriors

 

Celtics at 76ers

The Boston Celtics (8-5) and Eastern Conference rivals the Philadelphia 76ers (10-5) will do battle again at Wells Fargo Center on Friday after Joel Embiid's 42-point double-double inspired Doc Rivers' team midweek.

The Milwaukee Bucks host the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday in what most expected to be the matchup from last season's NBA Finals.

The Miami Heat put paid to that in the injury-enforced absence of reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the Lakers battled their way to the championship.

This will be their first meeting since then, though it could be lacking in star power with LeBron James questionable to appear due to a left ankle sprain.

The Bucks will be keen to bounce back and make a statement against one of the league's strongest teams after a five-game winning run ended at the hands of James Harden, Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets last time out.

The Lakers also have a point to prove, though, having suffered a fourth-quarter collapse against the Golden State Warriors in their previous outing.

Milwaukee are their first opponents on a gruelling seven-game road trip, though they are yet to be beaten away from Staples Center this season.

KEY PERFORMERS

Khris Middleton

Middleton has the best offensive rating of any of Bucks starter (126.5) and his net rating of 16.5 is only marginally bettered by Jrue Holiday (17.5).

He is making a career high 2.6 three-pointers per game this season and is doing a better job of punishing teams when he gets to the free throw line – he is shooting at 93.2 per cent from the stripe, a solid improvement on the career mark of 87.6 per cent he entered this season with.

He is not only a perpetual threat from beyond the arc, either. This season he has made 75 per cent of his field goals at the rim – that's better than Antetokounmpo (70.1 per cent).

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

There can be no doubt that James and Anthony Davis are the most important players on the Lakers roster, but Caldwell-Pope is proving that the decision to hand him a three-year, $40million contract to return to the team last November was a great decision.

He is shooting at 53.7 per cent from beyond the arc this season, second only to Seth Curry (59.5 per cent) among players with a minimum of 40 attempts in the league.

Caldwell-Pope also has the highest plus minus per game (11.4) for qualifying players in the league this season. It is a significant jump from the 2.3 he averaged over the previous campaign and shows just how much of an impact he is having early on.

KEY BATTLE: CAN DAVIS CONTAIN GIANNIS?

When the teams met back in March – before the season was shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic – Antetokounmpo drew two fouls from Davis within four minutes of the first quarter.

It piled the pressure on the Lakers, who were forced to try to defend the Bucks' best player using a backup option. But when your backup option is LeBron, you are in good hands.

Antetokounmpo ended the game with 32 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, but it was the Lakers who emerged 113-103 winners.

While defending Giannis, LeBron still shone on the offensive end and finished with 37 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and three steals.

Davis was limited to just 29 minutes due to his foul trouble and, particularly if James misses out due to his ankle injury, will need to be more disciplined on Friday.

HEAD TO HEAD

That was only the third time Antetokounmpo has faced the Lakers since LeBron joined the team ahead of the 2018-19 season and it was his first lost.

Los Angeles benefited from keeping Giannis to 47.6 per cent shooting from the field but it is not a guarantee for success – the Bucks are 20-17 when Antetokounmpo shoots below 50 per cent on at least 20 attempts.

Still, since Giannis entered the league in 2013, LeBron is 16-5 against the Bucks with an average of 27.4 points per game.

The Los Angeles Lakers set a franchise record after winning again on the road, while Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic made NBA history.

LeBron James posted 26 points and defending champions the Lakers defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 128-99 on Wednesday.

The streaking Lakers (10-3), who have won four successive games, improved to 7-0 away from home this season – surpassing the 1985-86 team for the best start on the road.

James has had at least 15 points, five rebounds and five assists in all 13 games this season. In the last 30 years, the only NBA player to have a longer streak of 15/five/five games to start a season was James himself in 2011-12 (22 straight), according to Stats Perform.

Lakers team-mate Montrezl Harrell had 21 points, while Anthony Davis put up 18 points and seven rebounds in Oklahoma City midweek.

Doncic became the first player in NBA history to post 34 points, 13 rebounds, nine assists, four blocks, two steals and five threes made, per Stats Perform.

The Mavericks went on to win 104-93 and snap the Charlotte Hornets' four-game winning streak.

Mavericks star Kristaps Porzingis returned from a knee injury and scored 16 points in his first appearance since undergoing surgery in October.

 

Red-hot Giannis fuels Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo's triple-double guided the Milwaukee Bucks past the Detroit Pistons 110-101. The two-time reigning MVP finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his 20th career triple-double.

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum put on a show as the Portland Trail Blazers prevailed 132-126 against the Sacramento Kings. Lillard (40 points and 13 assists) and McCollum (28 points and 10 assists) became the first team-mate duo in NBA history to have 25-plus points, 10-plus assists and five-plus three-pointers made in the same game, per Stats Perform. They are also the first duo in the NBA to have 25-plus points, 10-plus assists and one or fewer turnovers in the same game since 1987.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker starred with 37 points, but the New Orleans Pelicans still lost 111-106 to the Los Angeles Clippers. Kawhi Leonard (28) and Paul George (27) combined for 55 points in the Clippers' win.

The Memphis Grizzlies topped the Minnesota Timberwolves 118-107 behind Jonas Valanciunas' 24 points and 16 rebounds.

 

Knicks duo struggle

The New York Knicks did not get much support from their two starting point guards in a 116-109 loss to city rivals the Brooklyn Nets. Austin Rivers was three-of-10 shooting from the field and two-of-five from three-point range for eight points in 34 minutes. Elfrid Peyton was just three of 11 from the field, while making just one of three-point attempts as he finished with seven points in 33 minutes.

 

Nurkic says no!

There was no way past Jusuf Nurkic as the Trail Blazers big man denied Glenn Robinson III in the fourth quarter.

 

Wednesday's results

Dallas Mavericks 104-93 Charlotte Hornets
Milwaukee Bucks 110-101 Detroit Pistons
Brooklyn Nets 116-109 New York Knicks
Memphis Grizzlies 118-107 Minnesota Timberwolves
Los Angeles Lakers 128-99 Oklahoma City Thunder
Los Angeles Clippers 111-106 New Orleans Pelicans
Portland Trail Blazers 132-126 Sacramento Kings
Utah Jazz-Washington Wizards (postponed)
Orlando Magic-Boston Celtics (postponed)
Atlanta Hawks-Phoenix Suns (postponed)

 

Rockets at Spurs

As James Harden reportedly heads to the Nets, the Houston Rockets (3-6) will look to cast the chaos aside when they face the San Antonio Spurs (6-5) on the road on Thursday.

Seven players hit double figures as the Philadelphia 76ers surged to 6-1 while Malcolm Brogdon landed an overtime winner as the Indiana Pacers take up chase in the East.

Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia remain ahead of the pack after a second-quarter flurry helped to sink the Charlotte Hornets, 118-101, with Tobias Harris leading the scoring on 22 points.

Joel Embiid (14 points and 11 rebounds) and Ben Simmons (12 points and 10 rebounds) played key supporting roles with double-doubles as the 76ers continue to fly high.

Indiana improved to 5-2 in a 118-116 thriller against the New Orleans Pelicans after Brogdon capped his double-double with the clutch OT winner, while Victor Oladipo top scored for the Pacers with 25 points.

In-form Pelicans duo Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson combined for 55 points in the loss, as Ingram scored 31 and Williamson recorded a double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds.

Orlando also stayed in the hunt for top spot as Aaron Gordon (24 points, 11 rebounds) and Nikola Vucevic (23 points) inspired the Magic to move to 5-3 with a 103-83 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Malcolm Brogdon hits the game-winning floater in OT as the @Pacers pick up their 5th W of the season!

Brogdon: 21 PTS, 7 REB, 11 AST
Victor Oladipo: 25 PTS, 6 AST
Brandon Ingram: 31 PTS, 8 AST
Zion Williamson: 24 PTS, 10 REB pic.twitter.com/XfWbcMXemJ

— NBA (@NBA) January 5, 2021


Doncic, Giannis go off as Mavs and Bucks win

Luka Doncic dominated with 33 points and a triple-double as the Dallas Mavericks ended the Houston Rockets’ winning streak with a 113-100 win.

Doncic added 16 rebounds and 11 assists, while Tim Hardaway Jr shot for 30 points to boost the Mavs. Houston's Christian Wood, Eric Gordon and a returning James Harden all put up more than 20 points.

Patrick Williams took pride in guarding Giannis Antetokounmpo, even though the rookie could not stop the NBA's reigning MVP from delivering a stellar performance against the Chicago Bulls.

Antetokounmpo recorded 29 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists as he helped the Milwaukee Bucks to a 126-96 victory on Friday.

Milwaukee had seven players in double digits, and they hit 22 three-pointers. No team has hit more treble scores through the first six games of a season than the Bucks' tally of 108.

Despite the heavy defeat, Bulls head coach Billy Donovan was happy with the performance of Williams, who on his sixth appearance was tasked with the unenviable challenge of shadowing Antetokounmpo.

"I'm sure internally inside of himself he's probably saying, like, 'Wow, last year I was playing in college, the year before that I was in high school'," Donovan told reporters.

"It's a lot for a young player to handle. But he's got to kind of get thrown to it, and he's gotta learn it and experience it. But his attitude and his disposition, whatever you put in front of him is always the same."

Reflecting on his game, 19-year-old Williams said: "My chest is on fire right now just from the shoulders that [Antetokounmpo] gave me.

"I was just blessed to be in this opportunity for sure. Of course, we wanted to win the game, but now that we didn't win, we can learn from it.

"He doesn't really compare to any other guy that I've had to guard yet this season. But the next time we play them, I hope to guard him again and do better.

"Being able to guard somebody like that in my sixth game of the season, it means a lot. It means a lot that coach trusted me to guard him pretty much the entire game when I was out there. It shows the trust that he has in me and the trust that I have to have in myself. It means a lot for sure.

"I want to guard the best player every night. It's just the person that I am. I want to be the guy that always guards the best person. So, if I want to be that guy, I've got to learn from it. It's just a blessing."

Last month, Antetokounmpo signed an extension reportedly worth $228.2million (£170.1m) – the largest deal in NBA history.

Averaging 23.5 points per game, he has helped the Bucks – who have a home series against the Detroit Pistons up next – to three wins this season.

"I'd say the growth in my game comes from being less stubborn," Antetokounmpo told a postgame media conference.

"Keep your team-mates involved, got to look at the bigger picture. Being less stubborn, sacrificing for my team-mates."

"Some nights, the basketball gods are with you a little bit." That is how Mike Budenholzer described the Milwaukee Bucks' record-breaking 144-97 victory over the Miami Heat.

The Bucks set the NBA record for three-pointers made in a game with 29 as they gained some revenge against the Heat in Miami on Tuesday.

Milwaukee and Miami met for the first time since last season's playoffs, which saw the Heat surprisingly eliminate the Bucks in five games in the Eastern Conference semi-finals at Walt Disney World Resort.

But the Heat – without injured star Jimmy Butler – were no match for the Bucks, who were 29 of 51 from beyond the arc to surpass the record set by the Houston Rockets (27) in 2019.

Bucks head coach Budenholzer, whose team are eyeing their first championship since 1971, told reporters: "Some nights the basketball gods are with you a little bit, and it's probably one of those nights for us."

While it was a quiet outing for two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (nine points, six rebounds and six assists), his Bucks team-mates led the way.

Khris Middleton posted 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the field, while he was four of five from three-point range in Milwaukee's largest road win in franchise history.

Jrue Holiday added 24 points, including six of 10 threes, Donte DiVincenzo (17 points) was five-of-six shooting from beyond the arc and Brook Lopez (14 points) contributed three of his own three-pointers.

"I knew we were shooting well," said Bucks center Lopez. "I didn't know we were anything close to that."

The Bucks were coming off a shock 130-110 rout at the hands of the New York Knicks.

But Milwaukee tied the record for the second-largest road win (47) in league history against a team that made the NBA Finals the previous season, behind the 1986 Seattle SuperSonics (56), per Stats Perform.

According to Stats Perform, the Bucks (2-2) also became the first team in NBA history to have two 35-plus point victories from their first four games of a season, having previously crushed the Golden State Warriors 138-99.

"Honestly, [we] just played hard," Holiday said. "We know the Heat way and how they're going to come out and play no matter who's playing.

"So we just wanted to take that approach."

Christmas is a time for giving, and the NBA is no exception as fans feast on presents, turkeys and live basketball.

This year marks the 73rd edition of the NBA on Christmas Day, having started playing games in 1947 – the league's second season.

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers will be on show – the defending champions the headline act against Luka Doncic's Dallas Mavericks.

The Brooklyn Nets will be spearheaded by Christmas Day specialist Kevin Durant when they lock horns with the Boston Celtics, while Erik Spoelstra and the Miami Heat will be hoping for another Merry Christmas as they go head-to-head against Zion Williamson's New Orleans Pelicans.

Giannis Antetokounmpo – fresh off signing a mammoth supermax contract – will lead the Milwaukee Bucks against Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, and Kawhi Leonard's Los Angeles Clippers will seek to avenge their stunning capitulation against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semi-finals.

We look at the best stats and facts on Christmas Day in the NBA using Stats Perform data.

 

361 – James has the most career points on Christmas Day among active players, ahead of Durant (270), Russell Westbrook (241), James Harden (208) and Carmelo Anthony (186). All-time, James ranks third and he needs 17 points to surpass Oscar Robertson (377) for second place and 35 to leapfrog Kobe Bryant (395) for first place. The four-time NBA champion and MVP, who helped the Lakers snap their 10-year title drought in 2019-20, is also second for most career rebounds among active players on Christmas, behind former team-mate Dwight Howard (114) with 108.

97 – Lakers superstar James tops another category… assists. The 35-year-old is clear of Westbrook (82), Harden (58), ex-team-mate Rajon Rondo (55) and Curry (48) among active players. James is set to make his 14th appearance on Christmas Day. He has a 9-4 win-loss record while averaging 25.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game. James is one win behind Dwyane Wade's record.

20 – Durant has scored at least 20 points in nine consecutive Christmas Day games, the second-longest streak in NBA history behind Robertson. The latter had 20-plus points in 10 straight games from 1960 to 1969. Durant has averaged 30.0 points in nine games on Christmas – an average only bettered by Anthony (31.0) among active players.

7-0 – Heat head coach Spoelstra is yet to lose in his seven Christmas Day contests. If last season's NBA Finals runners-up Miami win, Spoelstra will tie Phil Jackson for the longest Christmas Day streak by a head coach to start his career. The Heat have an NBA-best 10-2 record in games played on Christmas Day, while they have won seven successive games.

22 – The Lakers are playing on Christmas for the 22nd successive season, the second-longest streak in league history. The New York Knicks top the list following 38 straight appearances. The Lakers have the most all-time wins on Christmas Day with 23.

6 – Six players have recorded a triple-double in a Christmas Day game – Draymond Green (2017), Westbrook (2013), James (2010), Billy Cunningham (1970), John Havlicek (1967) and Robertson (1960, 1961, 1963 and 1967).

60 – Bernard King holds the record for most points scored on Christmas Day. King registered a 60-point haul for the New York Knicks against the New Jersey Jets in 1984.

23 – The Pelicans' JJ Redick shares the record for most three-pointers on Christmas Day, alongside Houston Rockets star Harden. James and Durant have both made 22 shots from beyond the arc.

7 – Nets guard Kyrie Irving holds the record for most steals in a Christmas Day game following his performance for the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Warriors in 2016.

1-5 – Of the current NBA franchises, the Nuggets have the second-worst record on Christmas Day, just ahead of the Toronto Raptors (0-2). Since 2010, the Nuggets are 0-3 – the worst run.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was "upset" at his inability to guide the Milwaukee Bucks to victory in their NBA season-opener against the Boston Celtics but insisted he would learn from the experience.

Antetokounmpo was playing his first regular season game since signing a new five-year supermax contract worth a reported $228million but fluffed his lines at the death by missing the second of two free throws with 0.4 seconds remaining.

In a frantic finish, Antetokounmpo scored with the first of two shots from the line but the second bounced off the rim and away to safety as the Celtics edged it 122-121.

The two-time MVP finished with 35 points and 13 rebounds in an otherwise impressive display and vowed to learn from the experience.

He said: "I'm upset about it, but you can't change it. So it's done.

"Hopefully when I'm in the same position, I can make the next one. That's the mentality you've got to have. But obviously there's a little bit of a weight on your shoulders [in those situations] because, if you miss, that's it for your team.

"I'm a winner, and I want to do whatever it takes for my team to win. But, you know, you learn from every situation that basketball puts you in.

"I want to be in those moments. I want to [have the ball] down the stretch. I want to shoot the last two free throws, I want to shoot the last shot, because if you think about it, if you do that a thousand times, some of the times it's going to go in. Some of the times, you're going to be the hero.

"And some of the times, you're going to miss. But you learn from it."

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer was full of praise for Antetokounmpo for putting himself in that position, saying: "I love that he's there, game on the line, opening night, going to the free throw line.

"He's been working on it. He knows how important it is. Of course we would love to win, you want to come out, you want to have success, but there's so many good things that happened, including Giannis going to the free throw line with the game on the line.

"You can't duplicate that in practice and he's just going to get better and better as we go forward."

Giannis Antetokounmpo joked that he will retire in five years if he can win an NBA championship with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Antetokounmpo pledged his future to the Bucks with a supermax five-year contract extension – reportedly worth $228million – following speculation over his future entering the final year of his previous deal.

The two-time reigning NBA MVP, who has called Milwaukee home since he was drafted 15th in 2013, is pursuing the Bucks' first championship since 1971.

Milwaukee lost in last season's Eastern Conference semi-finals at Walt Disney World Resort, having reached the Conference Finals in 2018-19.

"I just want to have kids, being able to raise my kids and win a championship," Antetokounmpo told reporters on Wednesday, a day after his blockbuster deal was announced.

"After that, my life's complete. I can retire in five years. Nah, I'm joking."

"I think we can get better. I believe we can be better. We've got better," Antetokounmpo said. "We have a great team. We have a great culture. I know that I'm working toward that goal. The front office is working toward that goal, so I'm good. I'm happy. I think everybody's on the same page.

"At the end of the day, you've got to look at the past; we've gotten better every single year. In my opinion, the last two years were realistically the two years where we fight for a championship. The years before that, there wasn't a championship years so it's not going to be easy."

Antetokounmpo was crowned the NBA's MVP for the second straight year after leading the Bucks to the top seed in the Eastern Conference and the league's best record (56-17) before losing in the semis in Orlando, Florida.

The "Greek Freak" averaged 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game during the regular season.

Antetokounmpo was the only player that ranked in the top five in scoring and rebounding in 2019-20 among qualifying players. The last player to do it on the team with the most wins in the NBA that season was Los Angeles Lakers great Shaquille O'Neal in 1999-00.

Of all players to rank in the top five of both points per game and rebounds per game, Antetokounmpo was doing it averaging the fewest minutes per game (30.4). For context, Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid ranked in the top five last season with 33.7 minutes per game.

"The way that this city has supported me and my family has been amazing since day one, since the day I walked in the Cousins Center gym and Bradley Center, also. It's been amazing. I was 18, I'm 26 right now. All I know is Milwaukee," Antetokounmpo said.

"When I came here, all I knew is that this is a city that loves basketball, it's a city that ... We have more things to do now, but when I came here we had a lot of things to do so I could just focus on basketball and it's a place that I want to be. It's a place where I want to raise my kids and I feel good here. I feel that my family feels good here, so I'm good."

Antetokounmpo led the Bucks in points per game, total rebounds per game and assists per game last season. He also did this last season and also in 2016-17. If not for team-mate Eric Bledsoe barely beating him out in assists per game in 2017-18, Antetokounmpo would have led Milwaukee in these categories for a fourth consecutive season.

There have been 15 instances in which a player has averaged 25.0-plus points per game, 10.0-plus rebounds per game and 5.0-plus assists per game in a season. Antetokounmpo has two of these instances, in 2019-20 and last term. The 26-year-old joined Russell Westbrook, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson as the only players to average these numbers in multiple seasons.

Not since Abdul-Jabbar in 1972-73 (30.2ppg, 16.1rbg and 5.0apg) had a player enjoyed a season with 29.0-plus points per game, 13.0-plus rebounds per game and 5.0-plus assists per game. Chamberlain achieved the feat twice in 1963-64 (36.9ppg, 22.3rbg and 5.0apg) and 1965-66 (33.5ppg, 24.6rbg and 5.2apg), while Elgin Baylor had averages of 34.8ppg, 19.8rbg and 5.1apg in 1960-61.

LeBron James said it is great that Giannis Antetokounmpo signed a max contract with the Milwaukee Bucks, though the Los Angeles Lakers superstar dismissed comparisons.

Antetokounmpo pledged his future to the championship-chasing Bucks with a mammoth five-year contract – reportedly worth $228million – following speculation over his future entering the final year of his previous deal.

The two-time reigning NBA MVP had been linked to the likes of the Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks and Toronto Raptors, but opted to stay in Milwaukee, where the Bucks have not won a title since 1971.

James was asked about Antetokounmpo's decision, having left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat before returning and then eventually joining the Lakers.

"I don't know if I can relate to his situation. All of our situations are different. Totally different actually," four-time champion and Finals MVP James told reporters on Tuesday.

"They tried to build something great for him, and they obviously did enough to keep him there. I think it's great that he's staying there, that he's committed to that franchise.

"That's what it's all about. My situation and his situation, there's no similarities in it. It's totally different."

James helped lead the way for the Lakers in 2019-20 as the storied franchise ended their decade-long wait for a championship.

The 35-year-old celebrated a fourth league title as the Lakers topped the Miami Heat inside the Orlando bubble at Walt Disney World Resort in October amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He also earned his fourth Finals MVP, becoming the first player in NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL history to win the Finals MVP with three different teams, having also received the honour with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Heat, per Stats Perform.

In his 17th season, James moved clear of Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan with a fourth Finals MVP – now only trailing Michael Jordan (six).

James is the fourth player all-time to score 30,000-plus points and win four or more championships. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tops the list with 38,387 points and six titles, ahead of Jordan (32,292 points and six titles) and Kobe Bryant (33,643 points and five titles).

Last season, James appeared in 67 games and averaged 25.3 points, a career-best and league-leading 10.2 assists and 7.8 rebounds per games, while he averaged 27.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.8 assists in the playoffs.

One of six players in NBA history to average 25 points and 10 assists in a single season, James earned a league-record 13th All-NBA First Team selection, while being selected as an All-Star for the 16th time in his career.

Entering his 18th NBA campaign and preparing for the season opener against the Los Angeles Clippers on December 22, James – who will team up with recruits Dennis Schroder and Marc Gasol in LA – said: "Every year causes for whatever that challenge presents itself.

"So, if it presents to me to be the primary ball handler and also try to lead the league in assists or to make sure I am being at the forefront of getting guys involved, then I can take that responsibility every single action. If our team doesn't need that this year, then that's absolutely fine as well."

"Let's have fun, win and make these years count". That is the message from Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo after his supermax contract extension.

Antetokounmpo pledged his future to the Bucks with a mammoth five-year contract – reportedly worth $228million – following speculation over his future entering the final year of his previous deal.

The two-time reigning NBA MVP has called Milwaukee home since he was drafted 15th in 2013, and pursuing the Bucks' first championship since 1971, he said: "This is a big moment for me and my family and I want to thank the Bucks organisation for believing in us.

"You took a chance on us eight years ago and now putting my signature on a contract like this is unreal – but it's all because of hard work.

"This is my home and I'm going to continue working hard and do my best to make the Bucks, our fans and the city proud. Let's have fun, win and make these years count."

Antetokounmpo was crowned the NBA's MVP for the second straight year after leading the Bucks to the top seed in the Eastern Conference and the league's best record (56-17) before losing in the semi-finals at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

The "Greek Freak" – who averaged 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game during the regular season – became the first player to claim MVP honours in successive seasons since Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry in 2015 and 2016.

Antetokounmpo was the only player that ranked in the top five in scoring and rebounding in 2019-20 among qualifying players. The last player to do it on the team with the most wins in the NBA that season was Los Angeles Lakers great Shaquille O'Neal in 1999-00.

Of all players to rank in the top five of both points per game and rebounds per game, Antetokounmpo was doing it averaging the fewest minutes per game (30.4). For context, Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid ranked in the top five last season with 33.7 minutes per game.

"Giannis is a once-in-a-generation player and we are beyond excited for him to remain with the Bucks," said Bucks co-owners Marc Lasry, Wes Edens and Jamie Dinan. "Giannis positively impacts everyone around him on and off the court and he brings a staggering dedication to winning and leadership to our organisation.

"His work ethic and desire to be the best epitomise what the Bucks stand for and what our future holds. We thank Giannis and his family for their long-term commitment to Milwaukee and we look forward to many years of success. This is a momentous day for the Bucks, our fans and the state of Wisconsin."

Antetokounmpo led the Bucks in points per game, total rebounds per game and assists per game last season. He also did this last season and also in 2016-17. If not for team-mate Eric Bledsoe barely beating him out in assists per game in 2017-18, Antetokounmpo would have led Milwaukee in these categories for a fourth consecutive season.

There have been 15 instances in which a player has averaged 25.0-plus points per game, 10.0-plus rebounds per game and 5.0-plus assists per game in a season. Antetokounmpo has two of these instances, in 2019-20 and last term. The 26-year-old joined Russell Westbrook, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson as the only players to average these numbers in multiple seasons.

Not since Abdul-Jabbar in 1972-73 (30.2ppg, 16.1rbg and 5.0apg) had a player enjoyed a season with 29.0-plus points per game, 13.0-plus rebounds per game and 5.0-plus assists per game. Chamberlain achieved the feat twice in 1963-64 (36.9ppg, 22.3rbg and 5.0apg) and 1965-66 (33.5ppg, 24.6rbg and 5.2apg), while Elgin Baylor had averages of 34.8ppg, 19.8rbg and 5.1apg in 1960-61.

"Giannis' NBA career began as an 18-year-old from the Sepolia neighbourhood north of Athens, Greece," Bucks general manager Jon Horst said. "Through hard work, determination and an unequalled desire to be the best, Giannis has developed into a relentlessly driven, 26-year-old, two-time Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year and four-time All-Star for the Milwaukee Bucks.

"He's an incredible team-mate, a kind and caring person, an affable member of the Milwaukee community, and the leader of our team who sets the tone for our organisation. We are thrilled for Giannis and his family and are tremendously proud to sign him to this well-deserved contract extension."

Giannis Antetokounmpo is not going anywhere.

Consecutive MVP seasons have not been enough to get the Milwaukee Bucks through to an NBA Finals series to date, but the 'Greek Freak' is willing to stick with the project.

Amid mounting speculation a year out from unrestricted free agency, Antetokounmpo signed a five-year, $228million supermax extension on Tuesday.

"This is my home, this is my city," he wrote on Twitter, announcing the deal. "The show goes on, let's get it."

Antetokounmpo has been outstanding in Milwaukee, but there is work to do again now to finally land a championship ring – the Bucks have not reigned supreme since 1971.

We break down his career with the aid of Stats Perform data.

 

STILL IMPROVING

Antetokounmpo is now heading into his eighth year in the NBA, but his progress still shows no signs of slowing.

The 26-year-old has averaged more points and more rebounds per game with each passing season, developing from 6.8 and 4.4 in his debut 2013-14 season to 29.5 and 13.6 last term.

This is particularly impressive as head coach Mike Budenholzer has worked to manage Antetokounmpo's minutes. The forward played 6.3 minutes fewer in 2019-20 than two years previously yet averaged 2.6 points more.

Even the areas of Antetokounmpo's game that have been seen as weak - notably his three-point shooting - are gradually improving. He took aim from beyond the arc 4.7 times per game last season, up from 2.8, and made 30.4 per cent.

Milwaukee are increasingly dependent on the player, too, as he rises to the challenge. His plus/minus statistic last time out was a staggering 11.1 points per game. In 2017, when Antetokounmpo made the All-NBA Second Team, it was just 0.6.

The only real concern in the previous campaign was a drop-off in free throw efficiency, making just 63.3 per cent, but he visited the foul line more often than ever before (10.0 times per game). Those misses did little to damage his overall statistics.
 

LEAGUE LEADER

Giannis is great on the eye, but his MVP seasons were also built on these remarkable numbers and the way they compare so favourably to his rivals.

Antetokounmpo ranked fifth for points per game in 2019-20 - Houston Rockets guard James Harden leading the way with 34.3 - yet played fewer minutes per game than anyone else in the top 20. He was also still well clear of MVP runner-up LeBron James (25.3).

And the Bucks superstar was the only player to average 20.0 points and 10.0 rebounds, displaying his dominance on the floor.

Antetokounmpo made more field goals (10.9) than any other player, while only Harden went to the foul line more often (attempting 11.8 free throws).

That plus/minus statistic puts Milwaukee's main man head and shoulders above the rest of the league, too, with Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard second on 8.4 points per game.
 

PLAYOFF PROGRESS?

With Antetokounmpo so imposing in the regular season, his failure to inspire playoff success remains somewhat confusing.

Milwaukee will hope their offseason moves, most notably a blockbuster trade for Jrue Holiday, will improve the supporting cast, but Antetokounmpo also still has strides to make.

His points per game fell to 26.7 in the 2020 postseason - still impressive but a marked decline from the regular season. By contrast, Lakers great James boosted his points from 25.3 to 27.6 in the playoffs.

With the rest of the league playing their best basketball, Antetokounmpo is not quite the same difference-maker. His plus/minus was 3.0 points per game last season and sits at 2.0 for his career.

James' figure was 7.9, lifting his postseason average to 5.7.

In the regular season,  Antetokounmpo is able to perform in spite of his limited minutes, and regular complaints in the postseason have centred on Budenholzer's refusal to alter that strategy.

While the Bucks' top performer averaged 30.8 minutes in the postseason, just 0.4 up on the rest of the campaign, champions Los Angeles kept LeBron out there for 36.3 minutes  per playoff game, still the lowest such average of his career.

Between Antetokounmpo and Budenholzer, there is work to be done to ensure the team "make these years count", as the player wrote on Tuesday.

Two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo has signed a five-year supermax contract to stay with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Antetokounmpo, who was entering the final year of his previous deal, confirmed on his Twitter account on Tuesday he was staying in Milwaukee for another five years.

"This is my home, this is my city," he wrote. "I'm blessed to be able to be a part of the Milwaukee Bucks for the next five years.

"Let's make these years count. The show goes on, let's get it."

ESPN reported the new contract was a supermax extension worth $228million, including an opt-out after the fourth year.

Antetokounmpo could have become an unrestricted free agent next year, garnering interest from around the league, but will instead remain with the team that made him a star.

The Greek was the 15th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft and has averaged 20.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists across his career.

The 26-year-old has been particularly outstanding in recent seasons, though.

Antetokounmpo is a four-time All-Star and made the All-NBA Second Team in 2017 and 2018, then the All-NBA First Team in 2019 and 2020.

In the latter two campaigns, Antetokounmpo has been the league MVP, also earning Defensive Player of the Year honours in 2020.

His outstanding form has helped Milwaukee finish as top seeds in the East in the past two campaigns, although they lost in the conference finals to eventual champions the Toronto Raptors in 2019 and the semifinals to the Miami Heat earlier this year.

The Bucks have worked this offseason to boost their roster and convince Antetokounmpo he can achieve team success in Wisconsin.

A blockbuster trade was agreed with the New Orleans Pelicans for Jrue Holiday, although a further move for Bogdan Bogdanovic fell through.

Milwaukee's 2020-21 regular season begins against the Boston Celtics on December 23.

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