Although they came close to doing so, the Hornets couldn’t stop the Bucks’ winning streak. Wisconsin’s team, the fittest in the Eastern Conference, clinched their eighth consecutive win by taking a tight duel in extremis against Charlotte, who they beat 127-125. Giannis Antetokounmpo, with a basket with two seconds remaining, was in charge of giving victory to his team, deciding in a big way a sensational duel against LaMelo Ball.
And it is that both players signed great performances, surely both deserving of the triumph. The little one of the Balls actually achieved the highest score of his career in the NBA by reaching 36 points, and he did so by scoring 8 triples (8/15) to also sign his best mark since his arrival in the league. As if that were not enough, the last of them put the equalizer on the scoreboard with 5.9 seconds left, at which point LaMelo connected a very complicated shot on Pat Connaughton, who barely gave him space, which seemed to send the duel into extra time.
Still, the Bucks weren’t willing to waste the remaining time. Budenholzer designed a last possession so that Giannis could receive in the race and with a rinse towards the paint, and the Greek took advantage of the situation and the lack of help from the visiting defense to break the tie with a tray over PJ Washington, who could do little to be so exposed. The Greek thus reached 40 points, and was on the verge of a huge triple-double by capturing 12 rebounds and distributing 9 assists, finishing once again as the undisputed leader of his team.
“Giannis is just great,” Budenholzer commented after the match. «He reads the defense very well and knows how to attack it. Every time we manage to give him the ball in such situations, we know that he is going to make the right choice.
Khris Middleton served as a squire with 21 goals, and although in general he had an inaccurate day (6/18 in shooting) he knew how to appear in the clutch scoring a triple in the last minute that returned the advantage to his own. On the other hand, DeMarcus Cousins officially debuted with the Milwaukee jersey, and had just over 14 minutes in which he could score 7 points and grab 4 rebounds.
Miles Bridges and the final scare
With the Hornets without timeouts, Antetokounmpo’s final basket seemed to irrevocably doom the match, but the Fiserv Forum stands got a little scare before they could truly celebrate the victory. Miles Bridges, with a midfield shot on the horn, was about to achieve what would undoubtedly have been one of the baskets of the season, but the ball, after circling the rim as if doubting what to do, ended going out and determining which locals were the winners.
Bridges thus remained at 22 points, close to the 25 scored by Kelly Oubre Jr., who finished second of his in scoring. Those from Borrego started the game very inspired, with great success from many men and placing 18 up very soon (25-43), but as the minutes passed Ball was finding less and less help, making his 16 goals in the last fourth they did not serve their own to stay in front.