Giannis returns to scorch the Nets

Defending two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo returned to the Milwaukee Bucks lineup on Sunday against the Eastern Conference leading Brooklyn Nets and did not disappoint, dropping in a season-high 49 points in Milwaukee’s 117-114 win.

Antetokounmpo has been sidelined by a sprained ankle, but rose to the occasion against Brooklyn star Kevin Durant, who led the Nets with 42 points and 10 rebounds.

In addition to Giannis’ 49, teammates Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday scored 26 and 18 points respectively, accounting for all but 24 of Milwaukee’s total output.

I think he’s just getting more and more comfortable, more and more confident,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters of Antetokounmpo via Zoom after the game. “I think it’s gotta be a little bit of both. And so, it’s good to see him play that way, make some good decision with the pass, too. I thought he had a little bit of everything.”

With the loss, Brooklyn falls one-half game behind Philadelphia for the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference. Milwaukee trails the 76ers by three games.

The Bucks and Nets will play again on Tuesday night.