Giannis Antetokounmpo celebrated his most famous 50-point performance the next day by ordering 50 chicken nuggets from a Chick-fil-A drive-through.
He’s already planned a celebration for reaching that plateau for the third time in a month.
Antetokounmpo scored 20 of his 54 points in the fourth quarter as the Milwaukee Bucks rallied from a 21-point deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers 106-105 on Thursday night.
“I think I’m going to Culver’s tomorrow,” Antetokounmpo, who also had 18 rebounds, said. “I’m going to get 50 cheeseburgers and eat as many as I can. The rest will be eaten by my son or given to my dog.”
In three of his last 11 games, the Greek star has scored at least 50 points. He had a career-high 55 points against Washington on Jan. 3 and 50 points in only 30 minutes against New Orleans on Sunday.
Antetokounmpo has now played in 50 regular-season games in his career. That doesn’t include his 50-point performance against the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals, which gave the Bucks their first championship since 1971 and earned him a trip to Chick-fil-A.
He and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are the only Bucks players to have three 50-point games in a season.
“It’s an honour to be up there with Kareem,” Antetokounmpo said. “Man,When I was drafted, I never expected to score 50 points in the NBA. It’s a crazy, insane journey.”
Antetokounmpo has averaged 40.2 points and 14.5 rebounds in his last six games. His two free throws with 1:47 remaining gave Milwaukee its first lead since the second quarter, 106-105, as the Bucks scored the game’s final seven points.
Antetokounmpo squandered a chance to put Milwaukee ahead when he missed two free throws with 2:13 remaining in a 105-104 game. On the Bucks’ next possession, he drove to the basket again, drew Ivica Zubac’s sixth foul, and hit his free throws.
“He’s relentless,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said of his player. “He’ll put himself in a position to help us win. He will do whatever it takes for us to win. He’s fearless and unyielding. That’s what you saw as you drove down the stretch.”
In the final seconds, the Clippers were unable to capitalise on two Milwaukee turnovers. In the final seconds, Kawhi Leonard missed an 18-footer while being guarded by Wesley Matthews, who was assisted by Pat Connaughton.
“I’ve been doing that since my mother told me when I was four years old that I had to guard the best player,” Matthews said. “That’s just the way I am. I have nothing but admiration for those guys. I believe those guys feel the same way about me. The best way to respect them is to try to stop them. Going after me is the best way for them to show their appreciation.”
The Clippers had numerous opportunities to reclaim the lead.
With 27.1 seconds left in a one-point game, the Clippers called a timeout after Paul George stole the ball from Jrue Holiday, but Leonard missed a jumper. Antetokounmpo grabbed the rebound but threw the ball out of bounds, giving Los Angeles possession with a minute remaining.
There are 15.1 seconds left.
The Clippers got the ball back to Leonard, who missed again.
“We were going to run it to Connaughton, but they changed the matchup,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue explained. “They dragged Matthews into the fray. He did a good job of climbing into Kawhi, making him uncomfortable and forcing him to back up a little so he couldn’t go downhill straight away.”
The Clippers were led by Norman Powell’s 26 points. Leonard finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists on 7-of-26 shooting. Marcus Morris and George each had 16 points. Zubac finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
For the Bucks, Khris Middleton scored 16 points and Holiday added 12. Holiday missed his first eight shots and didn’t score until the late third quarter.