MILWAUKEE -- Entering this season, Giannis Antetokounmpo, for all his brilliance, had just three 50-point games to his name. He now has two in the last month. In yet another ridiculous performance, Antetokounmpo finished with 50 points, 13 rebounds and four assists on 20-of-26 from the field in the Milwaukee Bucks' 135-110 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.
"Guy had a hell of a night, made it look easy all night long," Khris Middleton said. "Playing efficient, playing dominant, he's playing unstoppable, playing like the MVP again. We need that from him every night, and he knows that."
With this performance, Antetokounmpo became the sixth player in NBA history to have multiple 50-point games on at least 75 percent shooting from the field. The others are Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Kyrie Irving and Adrian Dantley; not a bad list to join.
Facing a Pelicans team that was severely shorthanded due to a number of injuries, Antetokounmpo decided to set the tone early. He had nine points in the first three minutes and 52 seconds, as the Bucks jumped out to an early 14-2 lead. Neither he nor the team ever looked back.
"I was just trying to be aggressive," Antetokounmpo said. "Trying to get downhill, trying to get to my spots, trying to work on myself, trying to get back in rhythm, just making plays. This is my fourth game back, just trying to get back in rhythm as I said, tried to make plays and sometimes it works out in your favor. This was one of those times that it worked out in my favor."
The Bucks led wire-to-wire, and were up by double-digits for the entire second half. Despite the big lead against the Pelicans' B team, Antetokounmpo stayed in down the stretch. He wasn't just in there to get some extra cardio either; he knew exactly what he was doing as he poured in the points in garbage time.
He scored 12 points in a two-minute span, including back-to-back 3-pointers to reach 50 points.
"Yeah, I'm not gonna lie. I knew [I was on 47 points], Antetokounmpo said. "I made the first 3 and I knew that if I'm able to get the rebound I'm just gonna shoot it. As I said, it doesn't always work out in your favor, but tonight it did... It's one of those moments that you can never take for granted, because you never know if you're gonna have that moment again. I'm happy, glad that I was able to create art like this one tonight."
After this outing, Antetokounmpo has two 50 point games this month, 10 40-point games this season -- already tied for the most 40-point games in a single season in his career -- and is averaging a career-high 31.7 points per game. He might not be taking nights like these for granted, but it feels safe to say we'll be seeing at least a few more before the season comes to a close.