MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 17 of his career-high 44 points in the fourth quarter, and he gave Milwaukee the lead for good on a breakaway dunk with 11 seconds left in the Bucks’ 113-110 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night.
With Portland leading 110-109, the Trail Blazers lost the ball and Antetokounmpo’s thunderous dunk put the Bucks ahead.
After a timeout, Damian Lillard found Jusef Nurkic running down the lane, but Antetokounmpo blocked his shot at the basket, sending the 7-foot center crashing to the floor.
Khris Middleton was fouled and made both free throws to close the scoring.
Lillard scored 16 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter. CJ McCollum also scored 26, and Nurkic had 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Antetokounmpo made 17 of 23 shots with eight rebounds and four assists as Milwaukee kept pace with a Portland team that dominated its first two opponents. The Bucks star is averaging 38.3 points through three games.
Portland trailed 108-101 when Nurkic sparked a 9-1 run with a pair of baskets. Lillard hit a 3-pointer and made a pair of free throws to put the Blazers ahead 110-109 with 57 seconds left.
Tony Snell scored 17 points and Middleton added 16 for Milwaukee.
Milwaukee used an 11-4 run midway through the fourth quarter to open a 106-99 lead on Malcolm Brogdon’s fast-break layup on a bounce pass from Antetokounmpo.
Antetokounmpo scored 15 second-quarter points and the Bucks led 60-55 at halftime.
BACK AND FORTH
The game had 10 lead changes and was tied 15 times.
Playing to their strengths, the Blazers stayed in the game by shooting 3-pointers while the Bucks pounded the ball inside. Portland made 11 of 27 3-point attempts, and Milwaukee had 54 points in the paint to the Blazers’ 26.
Trail Blazers: Coach Terry Stotts was the Bucks’ coach from 2005-2007 and was an assistant from 1998-2002.
Bucks: C Greg Monroe’s foul on Cleveland G Derrick Rose Friday night was upgraded by the league to a flagrant 1 from a common foul.
Trail Blazers: Home opener against New Orleans Tuesday.
Bucks: Home against Charlotte Monday.