Giannis Says Knee Fine Despite Injury Scare After Bucks' Loss vs. Lakers

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2020

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, second from left, and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James collide during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 6, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Milwaukee Bucks superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo said he emerged from Friday's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers without any serious injuries despite an awkward landing on his left knee and a cut lip that required three stitches.

Antetokounmpo, who scored a team-high 32 points in the 113-103 road defeat, was more concerned afterward about the team's overall performance.

"We definitely did not play smart," he told reporters. "I think obviously we tried our best. We fight every game, we try to stay in every game we ever play, but we gave 31 free throws. We put them in the line so easily."

Antetokounmpo chipped in 11 rebounds, six assists and a steal, but he made just 10 of his 21 shots from the field, recorded five fouls and finished the game as a minus-11.

The reigning MVP credited the Lakers' LeBron James, his main competition for this year's MVP Award, for a terrific 37-point outing to pace L.A.

"I think it's always good playing against one of the best players in the league," he said. "Like ... you can feel greatness. All of this I've said in the past: that's what I wanna be. Obviously, he's one of the best players in the game. Really smart; you cannot be BSing against him. He's gonna come at you. You gotta be ready to go. You gotta be ready to fight against him."

The Bucks (53-10) still own a four-game advantage over the Lakers (48-13) in the race for the NBA's best record and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. Antetokounmpo also continues to hold a substantial edge over James in the MVP race (-2,000 to +700, per Caesars Palace).

Milwaukee scored a 111-104 win in the first meeting between the teams in December.

Although the sides' regular-season matchups are complete, it wouldn't be a surprise if they face off again in June with the NBA title on the line. The physical, old-school style of basketball on display Friday night would be terrific theater for the Finals.

Another marquee battle is on tap for Sunday when the Lakers face off with the rival Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.

Meanwhile, the Bucks will take on the Phoenix Suns on Sunday before finishing their three-game road trip Monday night against the Denver Nuggets.

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