NBA

Giannis' 'special' achievement hailed after scoring season-high 50

By Sports Desk February 16, 2022

Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer hailed Giannis Antetokounmpo's "special" achievement of scoring 50 points on 17-of-21 shooting in Tuesday's win over the Indiana Pacers.

Antetokounmpo's 21 attempts were the fourth-fewest in a 50-point game in NBA history as the two-time MVP registered 50 points in the regular season for the first time since November 2019.

The 27-year-old also took 14 rebounds and provided four assists in the 128-119 victory – the Suns' sixth in a row – to become the third player in NBA history to have 50 points, 10 rebounds and shoot 80 per cent from the field.

After producing another standout display for the NBA leaders, Budenholzer lavished yet more praise on Antetokounmpo.

"The efficiency... that's Giannis," he said. "He's special. It's hard to fathom scoring 50 on 21."

Bucks forward Jordan Nwora echoed those sentiments, adding: "It's special seeing it in person.

"What's really crazy about it is that he makes it look so easy. I think I looked at him when he scored his 50th point, crowd cheering, and it's like, 'Man, he's barely sweating.' 

"He's still full of energy in the locker room after he does it. It's just part of being one of the greatest ever to play."

 

Antetokounmpo now has 1,411 points for the season, while his average of 29.4 across 48 games is the best record of any player, followed by the Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid (29.3).

That 29.4 average is also marginally behind Antetokounmpo's career-best of 29.5 from 2019-20, putting him in strong contention to claim a third MVP award in four years.

Twenty-six of Antetokounmpo's 50 points against the Pacers arrived from inside the paint, but the Greek forward was more impressed by his return of 14-of-18 from the free-throw line.

"I get upset when I miss free throws," he said. "I work too hard. I love when I make my free throws. It gives me rhythm, it makes me feel good. 

"I can miss every three, I can miss a layup, but when I make my free throws it's like my dopamine hit because I work extremely hard to make them.

"It just makes the game easier, it makes me able to drive the ball all the time. I'm excited to go to the free throw line, and I don't second-guess myself anymore."

Antetokounmpo fell two points short of setting a new career-high tally of 52, but team honours remain his top priority.

"Obviously it's a nice feeling to have 50, you always remember it, but I care about winning," he said. "I want to win games. Fifties, 40s, 30s all those things, accolades are going to come.

"But they only come with winning. If your main focus, your number one thing is winning, you do whatever it takes to finish the game. Sometimes it's, shoot more. Sometimes you've got to defend more. 

"Everything else comes, but if you're thinking about let me get 50, let me get mine, it doesn't work that way. You've always got to focus on winning."

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