Giannis’ lifts Bucks to controversial win
By MURRAY EVANS
OKLAHOMA CITY — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 23 points, including the questionable game-winning basket with 1.3 seconds left, and the Milwaukee Bucks ended Oklahoma City’s six-game winning streak, beating the Thunder 97-95 on Friday night.
Replays clearly showed Antetokounmpo stepped out of bounds on his drive, but officials Derek Stafford, Ben Taylor and Leon Wood refused to review the play after the buzzer sounded, despite the pleas of Thunder coach Billy Donovan and several of his players.
Russell Westbrook led Oklahoma City with 40 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists. The Thunder had gone 11-3 in December before playing Friday without one of its stars, Paul George, who sat out with left knee soreness.
Khris Middleton scored 20 points and John Henson added 18 points for the Bucks, who completed a sweep of the Northwest Division’s top two teams on consecutive nights. Milwaukee rallied from 20 points down in the third quarter on Thursday to beat Minnesota, then jumped out to a 22-point first-half lead against Oklahoma City and held on.
Facing the NBA leader in opponent turnovers (17.3), the Bucks committed only nine. Milwaukee entered the game averaging 13.4 turnovers, second-best in the NBA.
Oklahoma City had won four straight home games against Milwaukee and five of their last six overall against the Bucks, but the Thunder started the game by making just one of their first eight shots as the Bucks raced to a 16-2 lead.
Milwaukee led 41-19 less than 30 seconds into the second quarter. Oklahoma City cut its deficit to 58-44 by halftime and pulled within 65-62 on Josh Huestis’ 3-pointer with 4:33 left in the third quarter.