DAMIAN Lillard and his new teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo made a fantastic NBA Pre-season debut with the Milwaukee Bucks, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 108-97 at the crypto.com Arena on Sunday.
The Milwaukee Bucks trailed for most of the first half but took a 55-53 lead when Lillard converted a basket while being fouled by Christian Wood with 48.1 seconds left in the second quarter.
The Bucks then took command of the game in the third quarter, with Lillard contributing three points, an assist, and a steal before sitting out.
Milwaukee led by as many as 11 points in the third quarter and did not relent in the fourth, when they took the game’s largest lead of 13 points. Brook Lopez was named to the starting lineup alongside Antetokounmpo, Dame, Jae Crowder and Malik Beasley.
Cam Payne, Pat Connaughton and Bobby Portis Jr. all scored in double figures as team reserves, totaling 34 points.
The Lakers, on the other hand, were led by Anthony Davis, who scored 16 points, and D’Angelo Russell, who scored 11. As LeBron James sat out, the Lakers fell to 2-3 in preseason play.
It’s ‘Freak Time!’
Lillard, a seven-time All-Star guard who was traded from Portland to the Bucks last month, made a brief but impressive debut, scoring 14 points with three steals, three assists and two rebounds in 22 minutes.
Despite playing for only 15 minutes, Antetokounmpo finished with 16 points on a 7-10 shooting night from the field. Along with his stats, the Greek Freak had eight rebounds, an assist, and two blocks.
The two clearly played in a short amount of time. Antetokounmpo appeared only in the first half while Lillard was replaced at the 4:41 mark of the third session, with the Bucks leading 74-66.
Despite being together for a short time and seeing limited action, Dame believes the duo is off to a strong start.
“It has been very solid,” Lillard said of his relationship with Antetokounmpo. “It has been simple. I don’t think I have, and I don’t think he has either, gone into it overly trying to piece everything together.”
“I think our personality mesh well, our style of play mesh well. You know, and everything else just happens organically in time, and we gotta allow that space to happen,” Lillard continued.
Milwaukee Bucks supporters can expect the two to continue developing their relationship and, hopefully, deliver the team’s second championship ring.
Ecstatic fans react
NBA fans were ecstatic about the deal that took place last month. Fans finally got to watch their new favorite duo in action on Sunday.
Fans couldn’t disguise their delight at finally seeing the two stars perform live. Here are some of the responses from various X (previously Twitter) users: