Giannis, Bucks Pull Off 25-Point Comeback For 129-117 Win Over Mavs

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA News, Dallas Mavericks
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks rallied from a 25-point deficit to claim Doc Rivers‘ first win with the team, defeating the Dallas Mavericks 129-117 during Saturday’s NBA action.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, who delivered a stellar 48-point performance and contributed 10 of the Bucks’ 34 assists, credited the coaching staff for implementing a new defensive scheme to do more trapping instead of relying as much on switching.

“First of all, you have to give credit to the coaches for explaining it to us and breaking it down for us,” Antetokounmpo said. “It’s something we’re going to use moving forward. It’s something that works. We talked about it yesterday and we executed today. I think also, the guys did a great job.

“We knew what we were trying to accomplish from that: get the ball from the guy that makes the most plays for the team, and then everybody has to be ready,” Antetokounmpo explained. “Everybody behind has to be ready to rotate and play. Speed them up a little bit. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t work but now nobody’s kind of sitting down and not participating on defense. Everybody has to be alert.”

The game saw Damian Lillard’s sharpshooting, with 30 points on 10-11 shooting, fueling one of Milwaukee’s largest comeback victories of the season. Luka Doncic countered with 40 points and 11 assists for Dallas, which faced its most significant squandered lead of the season.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks, Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks Updates

The Mavs started out shooting 7-8 from the perimeter, then went on to shoot 9-31 from the perimeter for the remainder of the game. Between a tapering off in shooting execution, committing 21 turnovers, and an inability to get defensive stops, Dallas was unable to hang onto its lead.

“Obviously we shoot a lot of 3s,” Doncic said. “I think sometimes we need to attack more.”

Doncic experienced a brief scare after a collision with Antetokounmpo but returned to contribute to Dallas’ early lead, which eventually dissipated under Milwaukee’s aggressive play. The Bucks’ rally was highlighted by a 15-0 run in the last two minutes of the first half, dramatically closing the gap by halftime.

“I think I looked up at one point, and it was like 45-20,” Lillard said. “At that point, all bets are off. You have to do what you have to do to get back into the game, and you’re looking at halftime like, ‘Man, we can turn this into a single-digit game. We just need some momentum.’ Then we reground and try to dominate the second half.

“I thought it was a good decision to throw it out there and slow them down a little bit. Put the ball in some other guys’ hands instead of Luka and make them make decisions and make them beat you, and we got back into it like that.”

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks, Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks Updates

Antetokounmpo’s end-to-end layup late in the third quarter put Milwaukee ahead permanently despite the absence of starting center Brook Lopez for personal reasons. Bobby Portis stepped up with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Maxi Kleber and Josh Green added 21 and 20 points for Dallas, respectively.

The Mavericks continued to play without Kyrie Irving (right thumb sprain), Dereck Lively II (nasal fracture), and Dante Exum (right knee bursitis).

Next, the Bucks look forward to playing the Utah Jazz, while the Mavericks will face the Philadelphia 76ers.

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