Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo ties Wilt Chamberlain record in win over Trail Blazers

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Giannis Antetokounmpo had 47 points and 12 rebounds, and the Milwaukee Bucks snapped the Portland Trail Blazers’ four-game winning streak with a 127-109 victory Friday night.

Antetokounmpo is just the second player in NBA history to go 18-for-18 on 2-pointers in a game, joining Wilt Chamberlain, who did it in 1967.

Despite missing all three of his 3-pointers, Antetokounmpo (18-for-21 overall) also became the third NBA player to score 45-plus points on 85% or better shooting. The only other two to do it were Chamberlain (1967) and Mike Woodson (1983).

“At the end of the day I just tried to be aggressive,” Antetokounmpo said. “Tonight was one of those nights I was able to be good in the paint.”

The game featured two of the league’s best scorers: Damian Lillard was averaging 29.8 points, second in the NBA, while Antetokounmpo entered fifth with 28.3.

Lillard finished with 32 points for the Blazers, who have dropped six straight against the Bucks.

Antetokounmpo’s 47 points matched his season high but fell short of his career high of 52.

“He was really good. He got some great finishes, he’s making kind of the elbow jumpers, the free-throw line jumpers. So this is a really special game for him,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.

Lillard said Antetolounmpo is tough to stop.

“He’s just more naturally gifted than anyone else,” Lillard said.

Jrue Holiday added 22 points and 10 assists for the Bucks, who led by 24 points during the third quarter.

Jeff Teague, signed by the Bucks on Wednesday after he was waived by the Orlando Magic, made his debut and played 10 minutes. Bobby Portis, who missed the previous four games because of health and safety protocols, also returned for Milwaukee.

An early 11-0 run helped the Bucks jump to a 19-7 lead. Milwaukee led by 14 points during the opening half, but the Blazers closed the gap to 60-53 before heading into the break.

Antetokounmpo led all scorers at the half with 24 points, while Lillard had 18 for the Blazers.

Lillard’s 3-pointer got Portland within 60-58 early in the fourth quarter, but the Bucks wouldn’t let the Blazers get any closer. Holiday’s basket extended Milwaukee’s lead to 86-70, and the Bucks capped the quarter with an 11-1 run.

The Blazers bench went 0 for 16 from the field through the first three quarters. Anfernee Simons hit a 3-pointer early in the fourth to end the drought.

“He put us in positions that are difficult to double team, and at the same time you don’t want to give up 3-pointers, so it’s kind of pick your poison,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said about Antetokounmpo.

Milwaukee was coming off a 112-97 victory at the Lakers on Wednesday, which snapped a three-game losing streak.

Bucks: It was the third of a six-game road trip and first of a back-to-back. … Antetokounmpo has 32 double-doubles in 44 games this season. … Portis said after the game he did not contract COVID-19, his absence was due to contact tracing.

Trail Blazers: It was the second and last meeting between the teams. The Bucks won the first 134-106 on Feb. 1. … The Blazers, averaging 16.3 3-pointers per game, had 11 in the opening half and finished with 21.

DEFENDING THE THREE

Despite those 21 3s, Budenholzer thought the Bucks defended the perimeter enough to keep the Blazers from catching up.

“I thought we made them work, especially Lillard and McCollum, they’re so good. We put a lot of emphasis on those two guys like the whole league does,” he said.

UP NEXT

The Bucks visit Sacramento on Saturday.

The Trail Blazers host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.

DeMarcus Cousins looking for NBA return, ‘I just want a fair shot’

2022 NBA Playoffs - Denver Nuggets v Golden State Warriors
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DeMarcus Cousins can still help a team. He did it last season, first in Milwaukee because they needed depth (Brook Lopez was out following back surgery) and he gave them 9.1 points and 5.8 rebounds a game of solid play. Then, the Bucks let him go for financial reasons and the Nuggets picked him up to play behind Nikola Jokic and he was again a solid reserve, with 8.9 points and 5.5 rebounds a game (and he had a 31-point night against the Rockets).

Cousins, however, has not landed with a team heading into this season, with teams more concerned about his character and influence than his game. Cousins told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports he has learned from his past mistakes and wants another chance.

“Have I made mistakes? Absolutely,” Cousins told Yahoo Sports. “Have I done things the wrong way? Absolutely. For that, I’m very apologetic. But I’ve done even more things the correct way and I’ve done even more positive things compared to my negatives. I just don’t want those positives to be overlooked. And obviously, whenever it gets to the point where the negatives outweigh the positives, you should probably move away from him. That’s just how life goes. But I don’t believe I’m in that boat. I’m just asking for a chance to show my growth as a man and a player…

“I think the misperception of me is that I’m this angry monster that just goes around bullying people, beating people up, uncoachable, and a cancer in the locker room,” Cousins told Yahoo Sports. “I think it’s all false. I played for coach [John] Calipari, a legendary coach. I was more than coachable. Steve Kerr would attest to that and coach Malone. Obviously, you can always go back to my time in Sacramento. I was a young kid. I was still figuring this business out. I was ignorant to a lot of things. I handled a lot of things the incorrect way, but I’ve also learned from those mistakes…

“So, to hold my time in Sac over my head, I think that’s unfair. I believe we all should have a chance to grow and change and actually have that change be embraced. I just want a fair shot.”

Cousins also said he is working out daily to be ready when the phone rings and understands he is now a role player.

It will ring. At some point an injury will happen and a team will turn to Cousins to be that solid backup big they can give 15 minutes a night (or, a team will realize they need more size than they currently have on their roster). Center has become a bit of a mercenary position in the NBA, one where teams often look to fill roles on the cheap so money can be spent on perimeter players, and teams think low-risk with those spots. Fair or not, Cousins is not seen as low risk.

But his stint with the Warriors before the bubble (and before he tore his ACL) and last season with the Bucks and Nuggets show he can fit in on an established team and contribute. Eventually, he should get that chance.

Report: Draymond Green facing potential discipline after fight with Jordan Poole

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Warriors practice got heated on Wednesday and Draymond Green reportedly escalated some chest bumping with Jordan Poole and punches were thrown. The team is now considering internal disciple, according to The Athletic.

When a heated interaction with guard Jordan Poole escalated, Green forcefully struck Poole and needed to be separated swiftly, sources said. Green and Poole came chest-to-chest, with both players pushing and shoving each other prior to Green’s escalation of the physical altercation, those sources said.

The two players had been jawing at each other when it escalated and Green punched Poole, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. There aren’t details of the incident beyond that description (at least so far), although several reporters have confirmed the was a fight and the two had to be broken up. Poole was seen getting up shots after practice when the media was allowed in and reportedly was joking with teammates.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports Tweeted out what feels like the Draymond Green camp spin on the incident.

Warriors elder statesman Andre Iguodala Tweeted out this on the situation, wanting to keep it all in the family, and adding that “it broke my heart… but it fixed my vision.”

There is a history of tension between Green and Poole, including a public flare-up between the duo early last season, but the two talked after and smoothed things over. At least for a while.

What punishment Green will face from the team remains to be seen.

Poole is on the verge of an extension to his rookie contract, one where Tylyer Herro just set the market.

Green had hoped for an extension from the Warriors this offseason but there were limited discussions between the parties. Green can opt out of the final year of his contract at the end of this season and become a free agent.

Wizards’ Kispert likely to miss start of season due to sprained ankle

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The Washington Wizards made fewer 3-pointers than any other team in the league last season. They didn’t take a lot (second fewest) and didn’t make the ones they took (fifth lowest percentage). One goal for Wes Unlseld Jr. this season was to change that dynamic, and second-year player Corey Kispert was a big part of that plan.

Now Kispert is out through at least the start of the season, sidelined 4-6 weeks by a sprained ankle, the team announced Wednesday.

The injury happened on a fluke play in Japan against the Warriors, but Kispert shouldn’t miss much time once the real games start. The Wizards are a little short on the wing right now with Kispert joining Deni Avdija (groin injury) in the training room.

Kispert took 62% of his shots from beyond the arc last season and hit 35% of them, both solid numbers but ones Wizards hoped would improve for the 6’6″ wing this season.

Scoot Henderson says he has skills to be No.1 pick but not hung up on it

Metropolitans 92 v G League Ignite
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Scoot Henderson came out like a man on a mission Tuesday night against the Metropolitans 92 and Victor Wembanyama — he was in attack mode. He used his explosive athleticism to get to the rim, his impressive body control to get off good shots, and his strength to finish with authority. And if the defender played back, he would drain the jumper over him.

A year ago, Jaylen Brown called him the best 17-year-old he’d ever seen. Scoot is better than that now.

Many years, Henderson would be a clear No.1 overall pick. But, not this year, Wembanyama has that crown because he breaks the mold with his size and skill set (in the NBA, height still wins out).

Kevin O’Conner of The Ringer asked Henderson why he should be the top prospect and got a confident answer.

There will be a lot of people making the Henderson case this season — and with good reason. He could be a franchise cornerstone player for the next decade.

Henderson, however, is trying not to get hung up on No.1 vs. No.2.

There’s a long list of legendary players selected No.2: Bill Russell, Kevin Durant, Jerry West, Jason Kidd, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Henderson can be one of them.

Unless Wembanyama’s medicals come back with red flags, he is destined to be the No.1 pick next June. That, however, will not be the end of Henderson’s story. Instead, it will be just the beginning.