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Giannis Antetokounmpo Scores 54 Points But Milwaukee Bucks Lose As Coach Tossed

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On Thursday night, the Indiana Pacers defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 126-124. Tyrese Haliburton’s game-winning 3-pointer with 1:29 remaining set up Giannis Antetokounmpo for an NBA season-high 54 points, but he also gave up two turnovers.

The Pacers, who had to come back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter after blowing an 18-point lead, were led by Haliburton with 29 points, 10 assists, and Bennedict Mathurin with 26 points and 11 rebounds.

The Bucks were down 122-121 after Antetokounmpo threw away a pass with 1:03 remaining and was subsequently stripped by Mathurin with 30 seconds remaining, falling one point short of his career best. Antetokounmpo had eight turnovers in addition to going 19 for 25 from the floor and 16 for 18 from free throw range while grabbing 12 rebounds.

“I didn’t take care of the ball on two possessions,” Antetokounmpo said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I had to shoot the ball; I didn’t shoot the ball. But I was gassed, and they was able to get a win.”

Adrian Griffin was removed from the Bucks with 7:52 remaining in the third quarter, meaning the team played without their first-year head coach for a large portion of the second half. A double technical foul was called on him right after Antetokounmpo’s in-bounds slam. After Antetokounmpo was shown the door during a 120-118 victory over the Detroit Pistons the previous evening, Griffin had pledged to speak out more with referees about hits on his star player.

Without an All-Star team Milwaukee was treated to an incredible performance by Antetokounmpo, who fell three points short of Michael Redd’s franchise record. Damian Lillard was out due to calf pain. With seven seconds remaining, Khris Middleton, who had 19 points and made a three at the final buzzer, missed a three that would have knotted the game.

Mathurin made two free throws with 8.4 seconds remaining to give Indiana a one-point lead, 124–121. In the closing seconds, Bruce Brown—who finished with 11 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists—sealed the victory with two foul shots.

Prior to Antetokounmpo’s accomplishment, Zach LaVine of Chicago had the previous-highest scoring game in the NBA this season, scoring 51 points against Detroit on October 28.

Thanks to eight 3-pointers, the Pacers jumped out to an 18-point lead in the first quarter and held a 38-24 edge at the end of it. Milwaukee closed the gap to 66-60 at the half and, with 9:32 remaining in the third, tied the score at 71 thanks to two free throws by Middleton.

With five minutes remaining, the Bucks led 117-108 and had increased their lead to as much as 10 points in the last quarter.

Antetokounmpo finished the first half with 26 points, 18 of which came in the second quarter and another 20 in the third. With 10:28 remaining, he scored 50 points on a layup made possible by Middleton’s over-the-top pass, forcing an Indiana timeout.

Prior to Thursday’s game, the two-time MVP had witnessed a decline in his scoring output over the first several games of the season, averaging less than 25 points per contest.

Milwaukee made just 9 of 27 long-range shots despite shooting 53% from the field.

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