Giannis Antetokounmpo had 34 points and 11 rebounds, and the Milwaukee Bucks beat LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers 111-104 in the early hours of Friday in a showdown of the NBA’s top teams.
Antetokounmpo had seven assists and a career-best five 3-pointers, and George Hill added 21 points off the bench for the Bucks. Milwaukee improved to 25-4 after ending an 18-game winning streak against Dallas on Monday night.
James had 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his seventh triple-double of the season, and Anthony Davis had 36 points and 10 rebounds for Los Angeles. The Lakers dropped to 24-5 largely because their bench was outscored 34-4 by the Bucks’ reserves.
Milwaukee led by six after the first quarter then opened the second with a 20-7 run. Davis and James combined to shoot 6 for 20 in the first half, and the Lakers had 10 turnovers. The Bucks led 65-46 at the break.
The Bucks improved to 3-0 against the two teams from Los Angeles, including a dominant 119-91 win over the Clippers at home on Dec. 6.
The last time two teams that were 20 games over .500 played each other before Jan. 1 was 1980. The Boston Celtics (28-8) played the Suns (32-8) in Phoenix. Boston won 116-97.
Up next for Milwaukee is a trip to New York for a date with the Knicks on Saturday while the Lakers hosts Denver Nuggets at the Staples Centre a day later.