Giannis Antetokounmpo tried to remain grounded after his Milwaukee Bucks took down LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.
The Bucks (25-4) claimed the best record in the NBA after reigning MVP Antetokounmpo inspired a 111-104 victory in the blockbuster showdown.
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All eyes were on Milwaukee for the highly anticipated clash as the Eastern Conference-leading Bucks and the Western Conference-leading Lakers (24-5) shared identical records.
Antetokounmpo upstaged James and Davis with his 34 points and 11 rebounds as the Bucks moved to the top of the overall NBA standings.
“I think the most important thing is to try to stay humble. When you win MVP and you win 60 games (in 2019), it’s hard,” Antetokounmpo said afterward.
“You feel like, ‘OK, what else?’ But at the end of the day, I realize and my family realizes that I’m not supposed to be here.
“I wasn’t the No. 1 pick. [Davis] was. LeBron was. (Antetokounmpo was selected 15th overall by Milwaukee in 2013.) I wasn’t supposed to be here.
“I’m not supposed to go against these two beasts, so I’m just happy that I’m here and happy that I’m going through the process, and I always want to be better, do better for my team, and that’s what gives me joy.”
Antetokounmpo also had a career-high five 3-pointers against the Lakers, on eight attempts.
“I’m going to keep shooting. It doesn’t matter for me if I made one, two or five, I just want to be better,” Antetokounmpo said. “And I want to keep getting better and keep working on my game, and it’s going to be some nights that I’m going to make zero and it’ll be nights I’ll make five, but I’ve got to keep shooting because that’s what my team wants me to do.”
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer added: “I think a lot of players keep working, keep getting better, and it’s part of our league, part of being a professional.
“But what Giannis does in the summer, the amount of time he puts in before practices, after practices, taking care of his body — but I think everybody, as special as he was last year, I think even opponents and his peers, I think, see and know that he can get better. He’s doing it. He’s putting the time and effort in, and we just feel fortunate he’s ours and excited about him and our future.”