Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kyle Korver and Khris Middleton showed European fans three different ways to score three points in a fourth-quarter flurry, lifting the Milwaukee Bucks to a 116-103 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday in the NBA’s first regular-season game in Paris.
NBA Paris 2020: Game leaders
- Points: Giannis Antetokounmpo – 30
- Assists: Giannis Antetokounmpo – 6
- Rebounds: Giannis Antetokounmpo – 16
- Points: Malik Monk – 31
- Assists: Devonte’ Graham/Terry Rozier/Malik Monk – 5
- Rebounds: Devonte’ Graham – 7
Antetokounmpo put on a show with 30 points, 16 rebounds and six assists, helping the Bucks win their eighth straight game while sending the Hornets to their eighth consecutive defeat.
After the teams had battled to a tie at 78 after three quarters, Pat Connaughton gave Milwaukee the lead for good with a dunk on the Bucks’ first possession of the final period.
Then the Milwaukee trio put on a clinic.
Antetokounmpo added three points on a traditional three-point play, making a lay-up on which he was fouled before converting the free throw.
Korver added three free throws after being fouled on a three-point shot attempt and Middleton drained a three-point jumper from beyond the arc, leading an 11-2 burst that opened an 89-80 lead.
The Hornets, making their regular-season debut across the Atlantic, got no closer than six the rest of the way.
Milwaukee rallied to tie it at 78 going into the fourth quarter. Pat Connaughton put the Bucks in front with a dunk in the fourth. Then Antetokounmpo got going, drawing a foul as he slalomed through the defense.
And from there, the MVP helped drive his team on in the latter stages in his impressive double-double performance.
Playing an NBA regular-season game in Europe almost exactly five years after beating the New York Knicks in London, the Bucks fought an uphill battle for the better part of three quarters.
Devonte’ Graham treated European fans to a rarity – a four-point play – and combined with Terry Rozier to do all the Charlotte scoring in a 12-4 burst to start the game.
The Hornets led by as many as nine in the quarter, and retained a 55-50 lead at the half.
Milwaukee finally drew even on a Donte DiVincenzo tip-in with 24.8 second remaining in the third period, producing a 78-all tie and setting the stage for the Bucks’ fourth-quarter pull-away.
Eric Bledsoe backed Antetokounmpo with 20 points for the Bucks, who had thumped the Hornets 137-96 in their only previous meeting this season.
George Hill chipped in with 16 points off the Milwaukee bench, while Middleton finished with 14 and Brook Lopez had 12. The Bucks outshot the Hornets 50.6 per cent to 37.2.
Superior bench play kept Charlotte in the game, with reserve Malik Monk leading all scorers with 31 points while Marvin Williams added 18.
Graham finished with 19 points to go with a team-high seven rebounds, while Rozier added 13 points.
Williams and Graham hit four three-pointers apiece as Charlotte outscored Milwaukee 42-30 from behind the line.