Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James delivered exceptional scoring efforts as their conference-leading clubs stretched NBA win streaks to eight games on Monday.
Greek playmaker Antetokounmpo scored 50 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and added six assists to rally the Bucks over the visiting Utah Jazz 122-118.
The reigning NBA Most Valuable Player’s run of 17 double-doubles to start a season is the NBA’s longest since 1976.
“I’m just trying to get better,” said Antetokounmpo. “Take it day by day, game by game and just get myself ready in games that matter the most.
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“We want to be the last team playing at the end of the season.”
Four-time NBA MVP James scored 33 points and passed off 14 assists while Anthony Davis contributed 19 points and 12 rebounds to spark the NBA-leading Lakers in a 114-104 victory at San Antonio.
“He was unbelievable,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said of James. “He just dominated the action, made everything offensively.”
The Lakers improved to an NBA-best 15-2 to pace the Western Conference with Milwaukee atop the Eastern Conference at 14-3, the league’s second-best record.
“It’s good to be in the position we’re in,” James said.
James made 13-of-24 shots from the floor, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range, and his 12 in the fourth quarter helped the Lakers improve to 7-1 on the road.
“I just want to be able to not have any weaknesses and allow a defense to dictate what I do,” James said. “Just trying to be the most complete basketball player I can be.”
The Bucks are on their longest win streak since the 2001-02 season.
“We’re just playing together and having fun,” Antetokounmpo said. “Our defense has been really good lately.”
Antetokounmpo scored 32 points in the second half to spark a comeback for the Bucks and chants of “M-V-P” from Bucks fans.
Utah led 57-48 at half-time but surrendered 42 points to Milwaukee in the third quarter and made only 26.
Utah’s Donovan Mitchell was driving for a tying layup in the dying seconds but Brook Lopez blocked the shot to preserve Milwaukee’s victory.
“It was a big-time block,” Antetokounmpo said.
– Embiid held scoreless –
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Toronto’s Pascal Siakam had 25 points and seven rebounds and Fred VanVleet added 24 points and eight assists in the Raptors’ 101-96 home victory over Philadelphia.
Sixers big man Joel Embiid was held scoreless for the first time in his career, the Cameroonian star missing all 11 of his shots from the floor, four from 3-point range, and three free throws.
“I can’t have that type of production,” Embiid said. “I never thought I would be talking about zero points in an NBA game but it is what it is.”
Cameroon forward Siakam and VanVleet each scored five points in a game-ending 10-0 run for Toronto.
Jaylen Brown scored 24 points and Jayson Tatum added 20 as the Boston Celtics edged visiting Sacramento 103-102.
Bogdan Bogdanovic’s 3-pointer gave the Kings a 102-101 edge but Boston’s Marcus Smart answered with a layup to create the final margin.
The Kings, led by Buddy Hield’s 41 points, lost after Bogdanovic missed a 3-point shot and Cory Joseph missed a last-second tip-in try.
Miami matched Toronto and Boston at 12-4 by defeating Charlotte 117-100. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo each had 21 points for the Heat.
– Carmelo tops Blazer win –
Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points to lead the Portland Trail Blazers over host Chicago 117-94. The 35-year-old forward hit 10-of-20 from the floor, 4-of-7 from 3-point range.
Spencer Dinwiddie’s jumper with 1.8 seconds remaining gave the Brooklyn Nets a 108-106 victory at Cleveland.
The Cavaliers had scored nine points in a row to equalize before Dinwiddie hit the last of his 23 points.
T.J. Warren scored 26 points to lead six double-figure scorers for host Indiana in a 126-114 win over Memphis.
Luke Kennard had game highs of 20 points and seven assists as Detroit defeated visiting Orlando 103-88.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 28 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists to spark Minnesota over host Atlanta 125-113.
Chris Paul hit the go-ahead jumper with 36 seconds remaining in a 13-0 closing run for Oklahoma City in a 100-97 win at Golden State.