Wednesday's battle of MVP favorites lived up to the billing in the Bucks' 116-109 win over the Rockets, with Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden putting up stat lines worthy of the game's highest award. Slowing down Harden has been very hard this season and for the Bucks it was no different, but Giannis Antetokounmpo did try out something nobody had seen before. Clint Capela added 18 points and 13 rebounds, but shot just 4-of-16 from the field. Antetokounmpo registered his first 20-rebound effort of the season in an almost-quiet fashion.
Malcolm Brodgon, who clamped down on Harden while defending the Rockets star, said they made Harden miss and put things on the rest of the team.
Harden finished with 42 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists, but he also had nine turnovers. "He does it in so many ways". "And (becoming the league's best player is) going to take care of itself".
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"I was like 'oh my bad.' I told him obviously, when we were running down the floor", Antetokounmpo told reporters. "It's so impressive to watch every night".
"He's up there", Harden said.
Whether or not Antetokounmpo will earn this season's MVP award remains to be seen, but there is no doubt he'll be in the conversation. He called the nationally televised win over Harden's Rockets "just another game", acknowledging it was fun playing in that kind of spotlight but emphasizing that the Bucks winning was important, not his individual statistics. "I don't know if I'm there yet, but I'm going to do whatever it takes to get there, because that's what I want to be". I know that one day it might happen.