Giannis Antetokounmpo put together a monster effort to help Milwaukee get by Philadelphia 118-116 on Tuesday night in a key matchup for playoff seeding in the Eastern Conference.
The Bucks trailed by eight heading into the fourth quarter before Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton took over. The duo combined for 21 of Milwaukee’s 37 points in the quarter, while Middleton also had five assists in the period. Antetokounmpo put a cap on the comeback with a block of Joel Embiid’s potential game-tying layup with 1.6 seconds left. It was initially ruled a goaltend before officials overturned it.
Antetokounmpo finished with a game-high 40 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, three blocks and a steal. Middleton added 22 points and nine rebounds, while Jrue Holiday had 18 points and 10 assists. Brook Lopez chipped in 17.
James Harden led the way for Philly with 32 points. Embiid had 29 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists.
The win moved Milwaukee to within a 1/2 game of Miami for the No. 1 seed in the East with only seven games to play. It also gave the Bucks the tiebreaker against Philadelphia if the teams end up tied at the end of the year.
Boston is just a 1/2 game back of the Bucks, while the 76ers fell to one game back. The Celtics and Heat will play Wednesday.
Things don’t get easier for Milwaukee, as it will now head to Brooklyn on Thursday to face Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and the rest of a Brooklyn Nets team that has won eight of their last 12 games.