The two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo had a chance to cap-off a season-high performance with a game-winner in Phoenix. With 2.8 seconds left on the game clock, the Bucks were down one (125-124) and then, this how the final play unfolded.
Giannis drops 47 PTS vs. Suns but falls short on the final shot. pic.twitter.com/VuCLohRxDo- Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 11, 2021
Had the shot fallen, the Greek Freak would have had 49 for the game and extended the Bucks win streak to six with his second game-winning buzzer-beater. Instead, the Suns held on to win their seventh of their last eight.
"That was definitely one of the options," Mike Budenholzer said postgame when asked about the final play. "For Giannis to be at the top of the key with the court spread and either attack or get to a shot. He got a pretty good look."
For a deeper look, here are some of the biggest performances and turning points from this game:
Giannis' 4th Q takeover
Antetokounmpo finished the final numbers of 47 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists - becoming only the third player this season to post at least 40/10/5. He also became the first player since 1980 with a 45/11/5 game on 65%+ shooting.
He is averaging a career-low percentage from the free-throw line this season but was on the mark in this one, knocking down 17 of his 21 attempts (81%). It was his 16-point fourth quarter that was keeping the Bucks in the game after the Suns showed signs of running away with it.
In fact, he scored 16 of the team's 23 fourth-quarter points with the game-winner on the final possession, being his only missed field goal in the quarter.
Playmaking Middleton showed up again
For a second straight game, the Bucks suited up without their point guard - Jrue Holiday, who was out due to health and safety protocols - and for a second straight game Khris Middleton took care of the ball-handling and playmaking responsibilities.
A couple of night after dishing out a career-high 12 dimes in Denver, he recorded 10 assists in this one. And yet again, he had a couple of alley-oop lobs to fellow All-Star Antetokounmpo that will be on the day's top plays:
Khris finds Giannis for the OOP!! pic.twitter.com/UJGbK7kyiO- Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) February 11, 2021
The duo were two of six players to finish in double figures for the Bucks. Bryn Forbes scored 17 in 30 minutes on 6-of-9 shooting, Bobby Portis recorded 12 points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes while Donte Divincenzo stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, six rebounds, three assists, and two steals in 31 minutes.
Suns superstar backcourt come up big in second half
At halftime, the Suns trailed by 12 (71-59) including their largest deficit of 16. In the second half, however, their superstar combo of Chris Paul and Devin Booker came to play, leading the team to a comeback win.
Booker (16 points) and Paul (19 points, 4 assists) scored or assisted on 45 of the team's 65 second-half points.
https://t.co/0uaTFnTVBy pic.twitter.com/BYD0R53gXE- Phoenix Suns (@Suns) February 11, 2021
BOOKER BOOM 💥@DevinBook | #NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/sSkFGsmndc- Phoenix Suns (@Suns) February 11, 2021
Booker recorded his second straight 30-point game, finishing with 30 points, six rebounds, and three assists while Paul, in his return after missing a game, recorded 28 points, seven assists, three rebounds, and a couple of steals.
"I wouldn't say a statement win," Booker said postgame. "I just feel like that's what we're capable of."
The duo were two of five to score in double figures with the next-best contribution coming from Frank Kaminsky, who finished with 14 points, eight rebounds, and a career-high eight assists. Jae Crowder was plenty useful off the bench, finishing with six points, 14 rebounds, and two assists in 26 minutes.
The Bucks take their road trip to Salt Lake City, to face the Utah Jazz in a couple of days - the penultimate game of their seven-game road trip. Meanwhile, the Suns continue their seven-game homestand, next hosting the Philadelphia 76ers after a couple of days off.
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