Lillard joins 20,000-point club, Giannis has triple-double as Bucks defeat Spurs 132-119

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Milwaukee Bucks' Damian Lillard tries to get past San Antonio Spurs' Dominick Barlow during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023, in Milwaukee. The Bucks won 132-119. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

MILWAUKEE – Damian Lillard didn't bother hiding what his latest career milestone meant to him.

Lillard scored a season-high 40 points to push his career total over 20,000, Giannis Antetokounmpo had a triple-double and the Milwaukee Bucks trounced San Antonio 132-119 on Tuesday night as the Spurs played without Victor Wembanyama due to a sore right ankle.

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“I don’t want to fake downplay it like it’s nothing,” Lillard said. “I know it’s a big deal. It’s a great accomplishment. It’s a rare space to be in.”

Lillard increased his career point total to 20,034 and became the 51st person in NBA history — and eighth active player — to reach 20,000 points. Lillard, who was playing his 794th career game, became the 17th-fastest player to reach that milestone.

“When you look at Dame, obviously he can shoot the ball,” Bucks coach Adrian Griffin said. “He can stretch the floor. He just puts a lot of pressure on your defense. If you bring your bigs up, he can drive around them. He's strong enough and physical enough to finish at the rim. He just has no weaknesses on the offensive end.”

The other active players with at least 20,000 points are LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, DeMar DeRozan and Chris Paul.

Lillard, James, Curry and Harden are the only players in NBA history to have 20,000 points, 5,000 assists and 2,000 3-pointers.

“I look at what led up to it,” Lillard said. “All of the things that I think of in high school, in college and the doubt that I faced over the course of my career, before the NBA — what I wasn’t supposed to be, what I wasn’t supposed to accomplish, and just my mentality through all those things. Sometimes you don’t really see the light at the end of the tunnel. You’ve just got to have that faith in yourself.”

Antetokounmpo had a career-high 16 assists, 14 rebounds and a season-low 11 points for his 37th career triple-double, and second this season. His other triple-double came in a 132-121 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Dec. 2.

Wembanyama’s injury prevented him from facing off with Antetokounmpo for the first time in his pro career. This was only the second game the 7-foot-3 rookie has missed.

“I don’t think we’re expecting it to be long-term or anything,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said before the game.

Milwaukee has gone 5-0 during this season-long, six-game homestand. The Bucks have won their last 14 games at Fiserv Forum for their longest home winning streak since reeling off 20 straight victories in Milwaukee from April 19, 1990, to Jan. 8, 1991.

Bobby Portis added 23 points and 10 rebounds, Khris Middleton scored 17 points and Brook Lopez had 14 points and six blocks for the Bucks.

Keldon Johnson had 28 points and 12 rebounds for the Spurs, while Zach Collins added 22 points and Devin Vassell had 17.

The Spurs have lost 20 of their last 21 games.

After a basket from Collins opened the scoring, the Bucks pulled ahead for good by going on a 21-1 run that ended midway through the first quarter.


Spurs: Visit the Chicago Bulls on Thursday.

Bucks: Host the Magic on Thursday.



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