LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo are on pace to be finalists for the MVP, and they played like it on Tuesday night.
LeBron James - 39 points, seven assists, three steals
LeBron James is still, in fact, the best player on the planet. We acknowledge this. His matchup with Giannis Antetokounmpo was an enthralling one because the budding superstar is likely to take the throne from James as the NBA’s next best player. LeBron, however, flexed all over the Milwaukee Bucks. He poured in six threes, most of which were high levels of difficulty, and when he got tired of that the only viable option was just to steamroll whoever got in the way. It was the kind of outing that we would expect from James, but the consistency with which he nails stepback threes is still taking some getting used to. Unfortunately, Cleveland got handed the 119-116 loss. As exceptional as James was, not even he could coerce the shots of some of his teammates to fall.
Anthony Davis - 37 points, nine rebounds
After suffering that ankle injury just a few days ago, Anthony Davis appears to be just fine. Despite losing to the Washington Wizards, he played an outstanding game. He may be the best mid-range jump shooter in the league. At that size with such a high release, it’s like watching an infant try to turn on the sink in your bathroom. Davis used his myriad of moves on the block to help inflate his scoring total, twisting and turning and just overpowering the Wizards. Additionally, the officials were rather kind to him. By the end of the game, he had attempted 15 free throws. Washington got 14 as a team. I don’t believe that Davis would be the one to complain. If anything, he’d be upset with his teammates not doing much of anything on the defensive end.
Giannis Antetokounmpo - 27 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists
In three games against Cleveland this season, Giannis is averaging 33.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 6.3 while shooting 68.4 percent from the field. The Cavaliers’ defense is awful, and Antetokounmpo is fully-exploitative of them. Somehow, Jose Calderon kept getting switched onto him, thus casually slipping behind the defense and converting on the uncontested layups. It was remarkable watching the replay and being baffled every time the Cavs failed to correct themselves. Furthermore, it felt like Giannis got 17 and-one opportunities. Cleveland was unable to foul him on multiple occasions. Instead, they settled for a light smack on the arm. They sent Freak to the line 12 times, where he missed only once.
- DeMarcus Cousins - 26 points, 13 rebounds, four assists
- Eric Bledsoe - 26 points, five rebounds, two steals
- Bradley Beal - 26 points, five rebounds, four assists
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