When the NBA MVP voters look back on this season, an important matchup to look at will be Friday night’s 113-103 win for the Los Angeles Lakers over the Milwaukee Bucks.
In the first four minutes of the game, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting and leading the Bucks to a lead throughout most of the game, while LeBron James had 0 points on only one-shot attempt. The final 44 minutes were a different story, as James scored 37 points on 12-of-20 shooting and Antetokounmpo scored 22 points on 7-of-17 shooting.
The Lakers are now 20-0 when James scores at least 30 points this season.
James finished with 37 points, eight rebounds and assists. Antetokounmpo scored 32 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished six assists. The two MVP frontrunners played with a playoff intensity, as each possession was a grinding slugfest. The atmosphere in the building was Finals-esque, and the referees were willing to put whistles on hold for more physical play.
Anthony Davis added 30 points and nine rebounds in the game, while Kyle Kuzma scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds. For the Bucks, Donte DiVincenzo scored 17 points, Brook Lopez scored 13 points, Khris Middleton scored 12 points and Eric Bledsoe scored 11 points. Although none of them matched the production of Davis, Antetokounmpo had more help throughout the entirety of his roster.
The Bucks are now 53-10 and the Lakers are 48-13, both being the first seed in their respective conferences.
This was a potential NBA Finals preview. Of course, both teams have their flaws and tough teams to get through. James, in his 17th season, looks as youthful as ever, even with his array of old man moves. Antetokounmpo still hasn’t unlocked that next level of himself that catapults his team and himself.