Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in 45 points and pulled down 13 rebounds to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 128-122 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, locking up the top spot in the Eastern Conference and the overall top seed in the upcoming playoffs.
Antetokounmpo reached 25 or more points and 10 or more rebounds in a game for the 42nd time this season. He also blocked five shots in Thursday nights win.
Khris Middleton added 22 points and George Hill had 20 for the Bucks. The Bucks needed a big game from Hill after point guard Eric Bledsoe was ejected from the game in the opening minutes after firing a ball at Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid.
Embiid returned to the 76ers lineup after missing the last three games and tallied a triple-double, 34 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists.
J.J. Redick added 29 points and Mike Scott had 22. Philadelphia is trying to hang on to the third seed in the Eastern Conference. They have a two game lead on Boston with three games left to play.
The 76ers hit 18 of 36 three-pointers in the game, allowing them to maintain a lead until the final minutes when the Bucks chipped away and overtook them.
It’s been 45 years since the Bucks last had the best record in the NBA (1974). The drought has come to an end and now the Bucks are not only looking for a deep playoff run, but they’re looking to win just their second World Championship. The last one came back in the 1970-71 season.
AUDIO: Giannis Antetokounmpo on locking up the best record in the NBA :20
AUDIO: Mike Budenholzer on it being 45 years since last having the best NBA record :22
AUDIO: Mike Budenholzer on the 1st quarter incident that led to Eric Bledsoe’s ejection :17