Miami Heat of America ace, Bam Adebayo was again into form for USA’s National Basketball Association (NBA) title-chasers, but fellow-Nigerian-born star, Giannis Adetokunbo (Antetokounmpo) missed out of action with Milwaukee Bucks.
On an evening The Bucks survived a major scare to win by a single point in Adetokunbo’s absence, Adebayo helped The Heat consolidate on a recent revival of form, two nights after their megastar enacted yet another milestone in the NBA.
Megasportsarena.com futher gathered that, with The Heat appearing to have eventually bounced beak from their post-All-Star game slump, Adebayo’s skills helped them defeat Cleveland Cavaliers 115-101 and improve to fifth in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.
Seven Miami players finished in double digits as they secured their fourth straight win, while Cleveland’s Collin Sexton top-scored for the game with 26 and Adebayo posted an 18-point, 11 rebound double-double.
Dallas Mavericks have also found form at the right time of the season, easing past the Washington Wizards 109-87, as Luka Doncic finished with 26 points as the Mavericks closed out their five-game road trip with four consecutive wins.
Injury-plagued Indiana Pacers dug deep to record a 139-133 overtime victory against San Antonio Spurs, against who Caris LeVert led the way in the absence of Domantas Sabonis, Malcolm Brogdon and Jeremy Lamb, finishing with 26 points and nine assists.
On the same night in the NBA, Utah Jazz broke the NBA record for made three-pointers in a half during a 137-91 rout of Orlando Magic, as the winning side made 18 threes in the first half, with Donovan Mitchell particularly locked in from beyond the arc.
He shot six of seven from deep, while the team combined for 26 from 55 attempts, en route to a win that marked Utah’s ninth in a row, while a milestone also emerged for New York Knicks, who got their biggest win in 25 years with a 125-81 demolition of Detroit Pistons.
The Knicks were in cruise control for the entire game after racing out to a 41-15 lead in the first quarter, as Julius Randle led the way for New York with 29 points in what was the team’s biggest win since a 125-79 victory over Toronto Raptors in 1996.
Elsewhere, Philadelphia 76ers held off the Minnesota Timberwolves 122-113, Milwaukee Bucks without Antetokounmpo eked out a one-point win over the Sacramento Kings, and Portland Trail Blazers blew out Oklahoma City Thunder 133-85.
All this came just two days after Antetokounmpo had 47 points and 12 rebounds, as The Bucks snapped Portland Trail Blazers’ four-game winning streak with a 127-109; with the Nigerian-born Greece international becoming the second player in NBA history to go 18-for-18 on 2-pointers in a game, after Wilt Chamberlain 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).
The game featured two of the league’s best scorers: Damian Lillard, finished with 32 points for The Blazers, who have dropped six straight against The Bucks, averaging 29.8 points, second in the NBA, while Antetokounmpo entered fifth with 28.3.
Antetokounmpo’s 47 points matched his season high but fell short of his career high of 52, following which Lillard said ‘The Greek Freak’ is tough to stop and declared: “He’s just more naturally gifted than anyone else.”
The Bucks’ coach, Mike Budenholzer added: “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.”
Antetokounmpo concluded with glee: “At the end of the day I just tried to be aggressive. Tonight was one of those nights I was able to be good in the paint.”