The Bucks Lost A Game Where Giannis Antetokounmpo Had 54 Points And 12 Rebounds

Giannis Antetokounmpo entered Thursday evening averaging 24.4 points and nine rebounds in his first seven games of the 2023-24 season. While those numbers would be stellar for most humans, the two-time MVP was operating well below his established level of production and efficiency. That sharply changed on Thursday, with Antetokounmpo absolutely erupting for 54 points on 19-of-25 shooting against the Indiana Pacers. However, the Bucks fell just short of a divisional road win, as the Pacers put together a notable closing kick to seal a 126-124 win.

In his trademark fashion, Antetokounmpo set the tone early in the game, attacking the rim with the combination of physicality, length, and touch.

Antetokounmpo scored eight points in the first quarter, but he kicked it up a notch in the second. That included 18 points on 6-for-7 shooting in the quarter, reaching 26 points by halftime.

From there, Antetokounmpo also produced a mesmerizing third quarter. He was on the floor for fewer than ten minutes, but Antetokounmpo put up 20 points and seven rebounds while maintaining off-the-charts efficiency. By the time the fourth quarter arrived, he already had 46 points, including one stretch of 19 straight for Milwaukee.

At that stage, a 50-point night seemed to be all but assured, and he reached that mark quickly in the fourth quarter.

Antetokounmpo’s dominance merely kept the Bucks afloat for quite a while, as Milwaukee trailed by as many as 18 points. Then, the Bucks actually built as much as a 10-point lead in the second half, only to see Indiana slash that margin and eventually take the advantage in the final minutes. Tyrese Haliburton buried the biggest shot of the night for the Pacers on a night in which he finished with 29 points and 10 assists.

All told, the Pacers went on a 23-8 run near the end of the contest, spoiling an otherwise transcendent effort from Giannis. It should be noted that he did have a few shortcomings in the final moments, but at the same time, Antetokounmpo did deliver a reminder of his individual upside on any given evening. For Indiana, it was a resilient, impressive win on the second night of a back-to-back, and the Pacers are now 6-3 to begin the campaign.