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Antetokounmpo stars as Bucks beat Lakers in possible NBA finals preview

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 34 points and 11 rebounds, and the Milwaukee Bucks beat LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers 111-104 on Thursday night in a showdown of the NBA’s top teams.

Antetokounmpo had seven assists and a career-best five three-pointers, and George Hill added 21 points off the bench for the Bucks. Milwaukee improved to 25-4 after ending an 18-game winning streak against Dallas on Monday night. James had 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his seventh triple-double of the season, and Anthony Davis had 36 points and 10 rebounds for Los Angeles. The Lakers dropped to 24-5 largely because their bench was outscored 34-4 by the Bucks’ reserves.

After the game Antetokounmpo, who was born in Greece and was picked No15 overall in the 2013 draft, reflected on his journey to the top of the game. “I wasn’t the No1 pick, AD was, LeBron was,” Antetokounmpo said. “I wasn’t supposed to be here. I wasn’t supposed to go up 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.”

Los Angeles outscored Milwaukee 68-46 in the second half to close the gap but could not catch the Bucks. The Lakers now head home after ending a five-game trip. “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.”

Antetokounmpo, his older brother and teammate, Thanasis, and their younger brother Kostas, who plays for the Lakers, swapped jerseys and posed for photos together on the court after the game. “This is unique,” Giannis said. “You can’t take this for granted. Three brothers under the same roof, going through the same game, going through our pregame warmup. We’re blessed.”

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