With Giannis Antetokounmpo sidelined due to left Achilles tendinitis, Damian Lillard took center stage Monday night, orchestrating a remarkable comeback for the Milwaukee Bucks. Lillard’s 41-point masterpiece was pivotal in overturning a 15-point deficit, leading the Bucks to a 113-106 triumph over the Los Angeles Clippers at the Fiserv Forum. This victory extended Milwaukee’s winning streak to six games post-All-Star break, showcasing their resilience under the guidance of newly appointed head coach Doc Rivers.

Antetokounmpo, grappling with Achilles issues recently, was a last-minute scratch from the lineup, marking only his third absence this season. Despite his stellar average of 30.8 points per game and a career-best 61.9% shooting from the field, the Bucks had to navigate the Clippers’ challenge without their star.

The Clippers initially capitalized on Antetokounmpo’s absence, building a seven-point lead by halftime and extending it to 15 in the third quarter. However, the tide turned dramatically as the Bucks mounted a 10-0 run bridging the third and fourth quarters, culminating in a decisive 15-0 surge, ignited by a Lillard step-back three, seizing control of the game. Milwaukee’s defense tightened, limiting the Clippers to just three field goals in the closing stages.

Lillard’s 41 points came on an efficient 12-of-22 shooting, supplemented by four rebounds and four assists. Off the bench, Bobby Portis contributed a double-double with 28 points and 16 rebounds, while Patrick Beverley added 12 points and nine rebounds, rounding out the Bucks’ double-digit scorers.

The Clippers, despite a strong start, couldn’t maintain their momentum. James Harden led with 29 points and eight assists, and Paul George matched his scoring while grabbing five rebounds. The absence of Russell Westbrook, recovering from hand surgery, was felt, yet the Clippers remain competitive in the Western Conference with a 39-21 record.

Under Rivers’ leadership, the Bucks have found their stride, positioning themselves second in the Eastern Conference standings at 41-21, albeit trailing the Boston Celtics. With a crucial four-game road trip to California looming, Milwaukee’s adaptability without Antetokounmpo will be further tested as they aim to close the gap with the Celtics in the season’s final stretch.



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