Antetokounmpo outdueled Joel Embiid—blocking the All-Star center four times—in a highly-anticipated matchup.
The Bucks overcame Embiid’s triple-double (34 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists), and were able to win despite Eric Bledsoe getting ejected less than three minutes into the game for chucking the ball at the big fella.
“That felt like a statement, especially what he does defensively with five blocks and 13 rebounds and changes the game,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “He’s an MVP in our eyes. …
“I think Giannis, that’s kind of how he’s built – to play against the best and compete and just lay it all on the line. A little something on the line for us with the No. 1 seed.”
The win locked the Bucks (59-20) in as the team with the best record in the NBA for the 2018-19 season with three games to go. This marks the first time since 1973-74 — the last season with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson and Bob Dandridge all together in Milwaukee — that the Bucks go into the postseason having earned home court throughout.
A season like this hasn’t been so long in the making for Antetokounmpo, the 15th overall pick by the Bucks in 2013, but he appreciates the long hours and struggle that went into making it nonetheless.
“It’s amazing, man. It’s a journey, a six-year journey,” Antetokounmpo said of the Bucks’ rise from 15 wins his rookie season to this point. “Hopefully we can keep getting better and we can reach our goal – that is, to win the championship.”