NBA

Giannis wanted LaMelo Ball jersey after Bucks edged Hornets, but... 'They took it away from me!'

By Sports Desk December 02, 2021

Giannis Antetokounmpo took a "sneaky" route to the winning shot as the Milwaukee Bucks pinched a 127-125 win over the Charlotte Hornets – then expressed frustration at being denied a post-game jersey swap.

The Bucks superstar powered in for a late driving layup with 2.0 seconds remaining as the in-form Bucks (14-8) landed their eighth consecutive victory.

It capped a game that saw him rack up 40 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists, and the finesse Antetokounmpo showed from close range at the death reflected his mastery of the craft.

He said: "I knew in the position that I was, there were two different routes: throw a floater up or try to sneak it in. And when you try to sneak it in, you've got to put spin.

"If you just go normal, most likely you're going to get blocked. So you've got to be sneaky with it."

Antetokounmpo scored 40 or more points in a game for the third time this season, and he said of his late heroics: "You've got to take them. You've got to be in the situation and learn from them.

"If you play a long time you're going to be in this situation at least 100, 200, 300 times. Sometimes you're going to miss, sometimes you're going to make some shots.

"You've got to be able to have the guts and the edge to be able to be in the situation, because you only learn from them."

He made a beeline for LaMelo Ball's jersey at the end of the game. Antetokounmpo had admired the Hornets star throughout the game as the 20-year-old, in his second year with the Hornets, scored an NBA career-high 36 points.

But asked after the game about that moment, Antetokounmpo revealed the jersey was not in his possession for long.

"They took the jersey from me," Antetokounmpo said. "I think the NBA wanted the jersey back, somebody wanted the jersey back.

"It's okay, I'll get another one next time. I was excited for it too, he had a great game."

The game saw DeMarcus Cousins make his Bucks debut, having arrived as a free agent. The former All-Star played just under 15 minutes and scored seven points, in his season debut, having spent last year with the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers.

"I was very excited for DeMarcus Cousins," Antetokounmpo said. "Obviously he was trying to feel more comfortable out there. He hasn't played in a long time.

"I think it was kind of weird for him that people didn't double-team him. He was just basically playing one on one down there. He played good, and we're going to need him a lot moving forward.

"He's so big out there in the paint, and he's a threat out there when he's with us."

Related items

  • Irving thriving under pressure in Durant's absence Irving thriving under pressure in Durant's absence

    Kyrie Irving says he is enjoying the pressure placed on him due to the absence of Kevin Durant after delivering a match-winning display for the Brooklyn Nets.

    Irving had 30 points, three rebounds and seven assists in a 119-118 win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.

    The All-Star guard is only able to play road games, due to a vaccination mandate in place in New York City. Irving is unvaccinated against COVID-19.

    He made his return two weeks ago and is averaging 20.0 points per game.

    The onus was very much on Irving in Washington, with Durant missing the game due to a knee injury sustained against the Oklahoma City Thunder last week.

    It has been reported that Durant will be out for between four and six weeks and Irving knows he has to step up in his absence.

    "I like the pressure," he told reporters. "I love pressure. It brings out the best in me personally.

    "Then also I'm able to carry that energy with the team whether it be communicating with guys in short conversations on the floor or off the floor.

    "Just trying to demand responsibility from all of us, from myself first, but from all of us, that this isn't going to be perfect. It's not going to ever look perfect.

    "This is just what we have, and we can't replace anybody that's out, but what we can do is fill up the stat sheet with the little things that may show up and things that may not show up.

    "We'll see where we are at the end of the game when we leave it all out there playing hard."

    Irving had initially been left out of the Nets' roster for the season due to his decision not to get vaccinated, though he was recalled when injuries and COVID-19 cases took their toll.

    "It feels incredible [to be back]," Irving said. "I don't take one day for granted.

    "I know it's difficult at times, not only for just me, but for everyone else, just the monotony coming in every single day working on [our games], but this is what we signed up for when we were playing in fifth grade, fourth grade, this was the dream right here. Just getting on the road and trying to win some ballgames and play at a high level."

  • Rivers lauds 'unbelievable' Embiid after stunning demolition of Magic Rivers lauds 'unbelievable' Embiid after stunning demolition of Magic

    Joel Embiid was "unbelievable from the start" as he racked up a half-century of points in the Philadelphia 76ers' 123-110 victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.

    That was the verdict of 76ers head coach Doc Rivers, who watched Embiid match his career-high points tally of 50 in only 27 minutes on court at Wells Fargo Center.

    The four-time NBA All-Star became the first center to score at least 50 points in a match this season, also taking 12 rebounds and providing two assists as he stole the show.

    Embiid emulated the great Wilt Chamberlain, who had been the only other Sixers player in history to register multiple 50-plus points in a game and also claim 10 or more rebounds.

    Rivers said of the 27-year-old's stunning display: "He was unbelievable, from the start."

    He added: "I played with Dominique [Wilkins], and I don't know if I've seen that. 

    "I've seen Dominique score more, but it took the whole game. That was easy, quick, efficient and determined."

    Embiid amassed his half-century and 10 rebounds quicker than any NBA player since 1955.

    He spent only 58 seconds on court in the final quarter after swinging the game firmly in Philadelphia's favour, moving them to 26-18 in fifth spot in the Eastern Conference.

    Magic acting head coach Jesse Mermuys doffed his cap to Embiid, saying it was impossible to contain him.

    He said: "With the way he was playing, there was really no way to go get him. He hit fadeaways, step-backs. I mean, he was impressive."

  • James not looking to blame Vogel for Lakers' issues James not looking to blame Vogel for Lakers' issues

    Frank Vogel is under pressure at the Los Angeles Lakers, but LeBron James insists no blame can be directed at the coaching staff.

    The Lakers' slump continued on Wednesday as a fourth-quarter charge from the Indiana Pacers saw them lose 111-104.

    That defeat means the Lakers have now lost four of their last five games. Indeed, it has been reported that Vogel might well have lost his role as head coach had his team not snapped a three-match losing streak by beating the Utah Jazz on Monday.

    But a loss to a Pacers team that is 13th in the Eastern Conference and had won just one of their previous 11 games means questions will surely be asked once again.

    It was no surprise then that Vogel's future was the topic of conversation in James' post-game media briefing.

    "Coaching staff has been great," James told reporters.

    "They put us in a position to succeed, and it's up to us to handle the business, so there's always things that we all can do better, but there's no blame.

    "I'm not in that business, of pointing fingers or pointing blame. It's not my lane. I'm not a negative person. So if you got something to ask me besides trying to s*** on somebody, I'll answer those. It seems like y'all are in s*** mode right now."

    James led the Lakers with 30 points and 12 rebounds, the 10th of which brought up his 10,000th across his regular season career, but his double-double was not enough to stop Los Angeles slipping below .500 in the Western Conference.

     

    Carmelo Anthony, who scored 14 points, insisted the players must step up.

    "I mean, we got to do it," Anthony said. "It's up to us. Frank's not out there. It's up to us to go out there and execute and play basketball and win some games."

    Vogel, meanwhile, acknowledged it was a damaging defeat.

    "This is definitely a disappointing loss," Vogel said. "Indy is a team that's sub-.500, that on our home court, we feel like we should win. And you got to win the games you feel like you should win. So, a disappointing loss.

    "I meet with our front office. We talk about the previous night's game. Every game. All year. It's been that way for three years. And it's not been different this week or of late.

    "Everyone is working together to leave no stone unturned in terms of getting this thing going in the right direction. And we all have a great working relationship where we're trying to figure out things together. We won a championship this way, and I feel good about our process.

    "In this business, and with this team, if you're not winning at a super high level, you're going to get this type of noise. I'm good at blocking that out. I feel good about the job that we're doing. I believe in what we can do this year."

    Vogel made a big call to take off Russell Westbrook, with the Lakers star having struggled to cope with Indiana's Caris LeVert, who had 30 points.

    "I played the guys that I thought were going to win the game," Vogel explained.

    Westbrook has 833 points for the season, behind only James (952) in the Lakers' roster.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.