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Antetokounmpo cuts loose as Bucks thump Wizards


By Agence France-Presse

Giannis Antetokounmpo underscored his potential MVP credentials on Wednesday with a scintillating 43-point display as the Milwaukee Bucks bagged their 40th win of the season with a 148-129 rout of the Washington Wizards.

Antetokounmpo led a dominant offensive display by the Bucks, who now own the best record in the NBA and lead the Eastern Conference Standings with 40 wins against 13 defeats.

It was the latest in a series of superb performances this season by Antetokounmpo, who has thrust himself firmly into the conversation for MVP honours in recent weeks.

“Just tried to be aggressive coming into the game, trying to make plays for my team-mates,” the 24-year-old Greek forward said.

Milwaukee earned their fifth straight win after pouring on 50 points in the first quarter against a Wizards side who were rarely in contention.

Milwaukee led 85-65 at half-time and although the Wizards stormed back with a 42-point third quarter, the result was never seriously in doubt.

Antetokounmpo drained all three of his three-point attempts as he made 17 of 21 attempts.

The Bucks star attributed his stellar display to a relaxed approach. “I just tried not to think about it and to just shoot the ball,” he said. “That’s what my team told me to do and that’s what I’m going to keep on doing.”

Antetokounmpo was one of six Bucks players to make double figures, with Eric Bledsoe posting 22 points along with 11 assists and six rebounds.

Malcolm Brogdon made 18 points and Khris Middleton finished with 16. Ersan Ilyasova added 12 from the bench.

Washington also poured on the points, with Bradley Beal adding 30 while Thomas Bryant finished with 26. Jeff Green had 22 points.

Elsewhere Wednesday, Denver suffered a setback in the race for the lead in the Western Conference, going down 135-130 to the Brooklyn Nets (29-27).

D’Angelo Russell once again led the scoring for the Nets with 27 points on a night when seven players cracked double digits for the Nets. The defeat leaves Denver second in the West with a record of 37-17.