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Sport Kevin Durant out-duels Giannis Antetokounmpo in Warriors’ win over Bucks

14:11  13 january  2018
14:11  13 january  2018 Source:   sfchronicle.com

Antetokounmpo's late basket lifts Bucks past Thunder 97-95

  Antetokounmpo's late basket lifts Bucks past Thunder 97-95 Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 23 points, including the questionable game-winning basket with 1.3 seconds left, and the Milwaukee Bucks ended Oklahoma City's six-game winning streak, beating the Thunder 97-95 on Friday night. Replays clearly showed Antetokounmpo stepped out of bounds on his drive, but officials Derek Stafford, Ben Taylor and Leon Wood refused to review the play after the buzzer sounded, despite the pleas of Thunder coach Billy Donovan and several of his players.Russell Westbrook led Oklahoma City with 40 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists.

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Kevin Durant Leads Warriors to Win over Giannis Antetokounmpo , Bucks .

MILWAUKEE, WI - JANUARY 12: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors reacts to a three point shot by Draymond Green #23 during the second half of a game against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center on January 12, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.© Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images MILWAUKEE, WI - JANUARY 12: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors reacts to a three point shot by Draymond Green #23 during the second half of a game against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center on January 12, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. MILWAUKEE — The similarities are obvious: They’re both elite-scoring forwards with freakish wingspans, modest dispositions and global popularity.

However, that may be where the parallels between Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo stop. The two don’t just have contrasting playing styles. In leading the Warriors to a 108-94 win Friday night over the Bucks at the Bradley Center, Durant showed why he is still the more complete player.

The first NBA All-Star returns are in

  The first NBA All-Star returns are in It’s that time of year again, basketball fans. The NBA All-Star game is seeing its first returns in voting. And guess what? Giannis—not LeBron—is leading the way. The #NBAAllStar Voting First Returns for Eastern Conference players!VOTE NOW: https://t.co/UjbrNUQ7Vwpic.twitter.com/ltlmLAo6S9— 2018 NBA All-Star (@NBAAllStar) January 4, 2018It’s not surprising to see LeBron James with over 850,000 votes, of course. After all, it’s LeBron. Plus, Cleveland truly loves their superstar. Additionally, it’s no surprise Kyrie Irving has over 800,000 votes himself. After all, Boston is a huge market.

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BOX SCORE: WARRIORS 108, BUCKS 94

With Warriors point guard Stephen Curry again sidelined by a sprained right ankle, Durant posted a game-high 26 points on 12-for-20 shooting with six rebounds, six assists and two steals. His defense helped anchor a group that held the Bucks to 36-for-85 (42.4 percent) shooting, including 5-for-20 (25 percent) in the fourth quarter.

Though Antetokounmpo (23 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one block) stuffed the stat sheet, he was hampered by foul trouble. Golden State outscored Milwaukee by 15 points in the 36 minutes he spent on the floor.

“Having a guy like that who ups your level of play definitely helps you as a basketball player,” Durant said. “I appreciate times like this.”

Much of the past two weeks, the Warriors’ potent offense has largely overshadowed a lagging defense. The team touched down in Milwaukee having surrendered an average of 118 points over its previous six games. But with the game hanging in the balance late Friday, Golden State strung together enough stops to exorcise the memory of Wednesday’s 125-106 loss to the Clippers.

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After letting the Bucks within 94-90 with 3:11 left, the Warriors closed the game on a 14-4 run. Durant drilled two jumpers — an 18-footer with 2:49 remaining, then a 27-foot three-pointer 30 seconds later — to send fans filing toward the exits. Draymond Green (21 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists) flirted with a triple-double on a night Golden State shot 55 percent from the field.

“Our defense was great for three of the four quarters,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “That’s the thing with playing a switch-heavy defense. You have to stay aggressive, and there is a tendency to become a little passive and get caught off guard.”

Durant’s affinity for Antetokounmpo is well chronicled. In a YouTube comment last summer, Durant wrote that it is “guaranteed” Antetokounmpo will win an MVP someday. In October, during a Q&A on his official YouTube channel, Durant said that Antetokounmpo “could end up being the best player to ever play if he really wanted to. That’s pretty scary to think about. He’s by far my favorite player to watch.”

The Best NBA All-Star Game Picks

  The Best NBA All-Star Game Picks On Thursday, the NBA will announce its 2018 All-Star game starters. LeBron James. This will be James' 14th All-Star selection, which will tie him with Jerry West, Karl Malone and Michael Jordan. On the grand list of James' career accomplishments, it will go down as merely a footnote. Still, his longevity and consistency has been unlike anything we've ever seen in this league. In his 15th season, James is averaging 27.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.8 assists and shooting 55.7 percent from the field. The Cavaliers, despite their recent slump, are once again one of the top teams in the East.

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It was Durant’s way of empowering the NBA’s next big superstar. Now in his 11th season of a surefire Hall-of-Fame career, he wants to make sure the league will be in good care once he retires. In the meantime, however, Durant isn’t above schooling Antetokounmpo when presented the opportunity.

Midway through the second quarter, Durant saw Antetokounmpo over-guarding him along the perimeter. Durant stopped, laced the ball through his legs and dribbled hard to his right, sending Antetokounmpo soaring, before he knifed down the baseline for a one-handed dunk.

Perhaps most startling was that Milwaukee, which leans on Antetokounmpo as much as any franchise relies on a single player, was at its best after Antetokounmpo headed to the bench with his fourth foul midway through the third quarter. Feasting on a mix of drives and wide-open three-pointers, the Bucks closed the period on a 17-7 run to seize an 82-80 lead.

With less than five minutes left and the Warriors up 92-86, Milwaukee head coach Jason Kidd kept Antetokounmpo in after he was whistled for his fifth foul. Moments later, when he drilled a sky hook, a chant rained down from behind the Bucks’ basket: “M-V-P! M-V-P! M-V-P!”

Report: Russell Westbrook, Jimmy Butler and Kristaps Porzingis Headline All-Star Reserves

  Report: Russell Westbrook, Jimmy Butler and Kristaps Porzingis Headline All-Star Reserves Karl-Anthony Towns, Kristaps Porzingis, Victor Oladipo and Bradley Beal have been selected for their first career All-Star games, according to multiple reports. 2 Savings Accounts Pay 10x What Your Bank Pays Learn More Sponsored by MyFinance The 14 reserves for this year's game have been reported by multiple sources, with seven players from each conference making up the field (two backcourt players, two frontcourt players and two wildcards).Reportedly joining Towns from the West will be Russell Westbrook, Jimmy Butler, Draymond Green, LaMarcus Aldridge, Klay Thompson and Damian Lillard.

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It was Durant, however, who added another bullet point to his burgeoning MVP candidacy. With Curry out the past two games, Durant has needed only 38 shots to score 66 points. Now, with the rough end of a back-to-back set looming Saturday in Toronto, Curry appears poised to return.

“I’m sure KD loves Giannis’ game, but at the same time, when they’re comparing you, you want to make sure everyone knows who’s who,” said center Zaza Pachulia, who was with the Bucks for Antetokounmpo’s first two seasons. “That’s how I look at it from the outside. KD did a great job today.”

Connor Letourneau is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @Con_Chron

Saturday’s game

Who: Warriors (34-9) at Raptors (29-11)

When: 4:30 p.m.

TV/Radio: NBCSBA/95.7

Related Slideshow: Best of the 2017-18 NBA Season (provided by photo services)


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Kevin Durant now that he's officially Team LeBron: "I'm coming for you Stephen."James got to make the first pick and Durant wound up on his team. Plus, Curry told reporters that he was going to pick KD if James didn't take him.

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