Lakers vs. Bucks: LeBron and Giannis Break Records as Milwaukee Lands Statement Win

Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James both broke a series of records as the Milwaukee Bucks overcame the Los Angeles Lakers 111-104 on Thursday night.

Milwaukee arrived into the game with a loss to Dallas interrupting its 18-game winning streak, but the victory over the Lakers improved the Bucks' record to 25-4 for the season—the best overall in the NBA—and a five-game lead over the Boston Celtics at the top of the Eastern Conference.

The Lakers, meanwhile, suffered back-to-back losses for the first time this season, just two days after losing 105-102 in Indianapolis to the Pacers. Despite the loss to the Bucks, the Purple and Yellow remain top of the Western Conference with a 3.5-game lead over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Heralded as a heavyweight battle and a possible rehearsal for the NBA Finals, the game more than lived up to expectations as stars on each side shone brightly.

Antetokounmpo, the reigning MVP, finished with 34 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists shooting 11-of-19 from the field. The "Greek Freak" went drained a career-best five attempts from beyond the arc and his percentage from three points has risen from 29 percent in October and November to 44 percent this month.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, all of Antetokounmpo's five successful attempts from behind the three-point line came from a distance of at least 27ft, the most by a Bucks player in the last two decades.

💦 @Giannis_An34 buries a CAREER-HIGH 5⃣ 3-pointers to lead the @Bucks past LAL and to the best record (25-4) in the NBA!

34 PTS | 11 REB | 7 AST | 5 3PM

— NBA (@NBA) December 20, 2019

The win over the Lakers was Antetokounmpo's 63rd career game with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds. Over the last 30 years, only Shaquille O'Neal and Anthony Davis have recorded more such games—109 and 99 respectively—among players aged 25 or younger.

Since the beginning of the 1976-77 season, O'Neal is also the only player alongside the Bucks star to have scored at least 25 points while shooting 50 percent from the field in 13 consecutive games.


The Greek Freak (30 PTS) is up to a career-high from behind the arc!#FearTheDeer on @NBAonTNT

— NBA (@NBA) December 20, 2019

Shaq achieved the feat between January 7 and February 20, 2001 during his sixth season with the Lakers.

Antetokounmpo was named MVP last season as he guided the Bucks to a 60-22 record and Milwaukee seems well placed to repeat the exploit, but the 25-year-old vowed to keep his feet firmly on the ground.

"I think the most important thing is to try to stay humble," he told ESPN.

"When you win MVP and you win 60 games, it's hard. [...] "I'm not supposed to go against these two beasts [LeBron James and Anthony Davis], so I'm just happy that I'm here and happy that I'm going through the process, and I always want to be better, do better for my team, and that's what gives me joy."

The "two beasts", as described by Antetokounmpo, combined for 57 points on Thursday night.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks and LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers hug following a game at Fiserv Forum on December 19 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Stacy Revere/Getty

Davis finished with 36 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, while James had 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his seventh triple-double of the season.

The four-time MVP played 37 minutes, which took his career total between regular season and playoffs to 57,278 minutes, the third-most in NBA history behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.

James' 11 assists, meanwhile, vaulted him above Gary Payton's total of 8,966 assists to ninth on all-time list.

A year on from missing the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season, the Lakers are a dominant force in the NBA once again and the 35-year-old suggested the loss on Thursday night was part of his team's learning curve.

"You want to make goals along the process, along the way, along the marathon," he said. "And for us to play exceptional basketball for the majority of this part of the season, it's commitment of focus, it's a commitment of what we're trying to do: Continue to get better and just be laser sharp for a majority of the process so far. So we're just going to try to continue that."