MILWAUKEE — In a battle for NBA supremacy featuring a king and a freak on the hardwood, the Milwaukee Bucks claimed the thone — beating the Los Angeles Lakers 111-104 at Fiserv Forum, claiming the best record in the league.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 34 points and 11 rebounds with seven assists and a career-best five 3-pointers. George Hill added 21 points off the bench for the Bucks. Milwaukee improved to 25-4 after ending an 18-game winning streak against Dallas on Monday night.
The Lakers’ LeBron James had 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his seventh triple-double of the season, and Anthony Davis had 36 points and 10 rebounds for Los Angeles. The Lakers dropped to 24-5 largely because their bench was outscored 34-4 by the Bucks’ reserves.
Milwaukee led by six after the first quarter then opened the second with a 20-7 run. Davis and James combined to shoot 6 for 20 in the first half, and the Lakers had 10 turnovers. The Bucks led 65-46 at the break.
The Bucks improved to 3-0 against the two teams from Los Angeles, including a dominant 119-91 win over the Clippers at home on Dec. 6.
The last time two teams that were 20 games over .500 played each other before Jan. 1 was 1980. The Boston Celtics (28-8) played the Suns (32-8) in Phoenix. Boston won 116-97.
After the game, brothers Giannis, Thanasis and Kostas Anetokounmpo met on the court to exchange jerseys. Giannis and Thanasis play for the Bucks, while Kostas plays for the Lakers.
Lakers: Kyle Kuzma remained out with a sore ankle. Coach Frank Vogel said he’s hopeful the third-year forward will be able to practice fully Saturday and be available to play Sunday.
Bucks: Milwaukee played its third game without guard Eric Bledsoe. The 2018-19 all-defensive first-team performer fractured his right leg against the Memphis Grizzles on Friday. Bledsoe is expected to miss about 2 weeks.
Lakers: Host the Nuggets on Sunday.
Bucks: At the Knicks on Saturday.