NBA

Bucks' Lillard rediscovers rhythm in season-best showing

By Sports Desk January 21, 2024

Damian Lillard said he had rediscovered his rhythm after his season-high 45 points helped the Milwaukee Bucks past the struggling Detroit Pistons on Saturday.

Lillard became the first player in Milwaukee history to finish a game with at least 40 points, 10 assists and five three-pointers as they opened their double-header in Detroit with a 141-135 success.

The guard's dominant performance came after he went seven of 20 shooting in a blowout defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, and coach Adrian Griffin was delighted with his response. 

"Dame was so great tonight, and he was competing on both sides of the ball," Griffin said after Saturday's win.

"I had no idea he had 45, but he's a rhythm player and he definitely got into a rhythm out there. He made big shots, and that's why he's on this team."

Lillard echoed his coach's sentiments, saying: "I knew it was an important game. I picked my spots. I moved the ball when I needed to move it. I attacked when I needed to attack.

"I've been slowly getting back to how I play more naturally and tonight was one of those nights."

Milwaukee were boosted by the return of two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who added 31 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists after missing the Cleveland game with a shoulder issue.

Antetokounmpo had chances to boost that tally, missing with 11 of 22 free-throw attempts, but Griffin was pleased with his overall contribution. 

"Giannis was big on both ends," Griffin said. "He got us some stops at the start of the second half and he was aggressive with the ball and getting to the rim. 

"When he draws fouls, he gets us to the bonus faster than a lot of teams, and that's invaluable."

The Bucks are now up to 29-13 after winning four of their last five games, ahead of another meeting with the Pistons at Little Caesars Arena on Monday. 

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