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Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in a game-high 33 points and Damian Lillard scored 13 of his 32 in the final 6:18 of regulation to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 131-124 victory over the Miami Heat to close out the In- Season Tournament. Tuesday.
For most of the summer, it appeared that Lillard would play with the Heat. After 11 seasons in Portland, the seven-time All-NBA player asked the Trail Blazers to trade him to Miami.
That never happened, but the Blazers eventually traded him to the Bucks, who now find themselves just one game behind the first-place Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference. Milwaukee looks like a legit NBA title contender with Lillard on board after winning eight of its last nine games.
On the other hand, the Heat have struggled of late, losing their last three games and four of their last six. Miami has been without superstar Jimmy Butler (sprained right ankle) for the past two games and Tyler Herro (sprained right ankle) since Nov. 8, so brighter days are ahead. when they return.
However, losing Lillard is still a tough blow for the Heat, who could have been the missing piece the team needed for a championship. Instead, he plays on a Bucks team that should launch a deep playoff run next spring.
In the game, Lillard also gave nine assists. His biggest shot was a three-pointer with 3:03 left to tie the game at 118.
Two possessions earlier, Lillard hit another big three to give the Bucks a 115-113 lead.
Lillard also made three big free throws en route to the victory.
As for Antetokounmpo, he added 10 rebounds and five assists in addition to his 33 points. Fourteen of his points came in the third quarter. It was a remarkable performance for the two-time NBA MVP, who entered the night averaging 34.1 points on 63.8 percent shooting over the past nine games.
For the Heat, Bam Adebayo led the victory with 31 points and 10 boards, while Kyle Lowry (21 points, six assists) and Josh Richardson (20 points, seven assists) added to his efforts.
In the end, this game went the way of the Bucks thanks to their two superstars, who once again impressed the fans and analysts.
Palace of Blazers @blazers_palasyo
Damian Lillard is officially in Demon mode. The league is cooked pic.twitter.com/4z39LilK2t
Bucks duo tonight:
Giannis — Dame —
33 PTS 32 PTS
10 REB 9 AST
5 AST 4 3P
Scored 60+ as a duo in 3 consecutive games. pic.twitter.com/8bFvDRLSme
GiannisMuse 🦌 @GiannisMuse
You set yourself up for slander if you hate Dame before 5 minutes into the 4th. He will make a bad statline look crazy 🤣 https://t.co/msdXEDop0d
With the win, the Bucks clinched the East Group B of the In-Season Tournament. Now they will face the New York Knicks in the action of the quarterfinals in the hope of winning the first NBA Cup.