LOS ANGELES: Giannis Antetokounmpo delivered another dominant performance Wednesday with 32 points as the Milwaukee Bucks extended their unbeaten start to the season with a 116-91 rout of the Detroit Pistons. Milwaukee, the only undefeated team left in the NBA, improved to 7-0 courtesy of an impressive all-round offensive effort against an outgunned Pistons team. Antetokounmpo hauled down 12 rebounds and provided four assists with five steals while Jrue Holiday provided offensive support with a 26-point salvo that included four three-pointers.
The outcome at Milwaukee's Fiserv Forum was settled well before the end, with the Bucks taking a double-digit lead into the fourth quarter and increasing their advantage to 33 points late in the game. Jordan Nwora (12 points), Brook Lopez (11) and Bobby Portis (10) also cracked double figures for Milwaukee while Saddiq Bey led the Detroit scorers with 22 points. The Pistons fell to 2-7 with the defeat.
In other games on Wednesday, Darius Garland returned from a five-game injury absence to produce a sparkling performance as Cleveland notched their sixth straight win with a thrilling 114-113 overtime victory over the Boston Celtics. Garland poured in 29 points with 12 assists and five rebounds while Donovan Mitchell once again underscored his value to the Cavs with a 25-point performance which included 11 points in the closing minutes of regulation and overtime. Garland had not played since suffering a lacerated eyelid during Cleveland's season-opening defeat to Toronto.
But the 22-year-old rising star showed no lingering after-effects from the injury as he teamed with Mitchell on Wednesday to clinch a victory which was confirmed when Boston's Jaylen Brown missed a two-pointer on the buzzer. "We came out really aggressive in the last five minutes and really happy we got the win," said Garland after a victory that takes Cleveland to 6-1. "After the first shot went through I felt good, the eye didn't affect me or anything. It's good to be back."
Garland meanwhile paid tribute to Mitchell, who joined the Cavs in a blockbuster trade from Utah in September. "He brings a lot to our team," Garland said. "He's been in the playoffs many times before and he brings that kind of knowledge to our team. He's helped me a lot. I'm happy he's here." Elsewhere, Dejounte Murray's 36 points helped Atlanta to a 112-99 win over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Memphis meanwhile pulled off a nailbiting 111-106 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in Oregon thanks to 29 points from Desmond Bane. The Grizzlies guard put on a clinic from outside the arc, making 5-of-8 from three-point range. Ja Morant added 20 points for Memphis, who improved to 5-3 with the win.
In Dallas, Luka Doncic finished with 33 points, 11 assists and five rebounds as the Mavericks scored a 103-100 defeat of the Utah Jazz. Doncic has scored 30 or more points in each of the Mavericks' seven games this season. In Los Angeles, the Lakers bagged their second victory of the season with a pulsating 120-117 overtime triumph against the New Orleans Pelicans. Matt Ryan was the hero for the Lakers, draining a game-tying three-pointer on the buzzer to make it 111-111 and force overtime.
Lonnie Walker IV led the Lakers scoring with 28 points while LeBron James and Anthony Davis scored 20 points apiece. The Lakers, who lost their opening five games of the season, improved to 2-5 with the win. In San Antonio meanwhile, Toronto ran riot against the Spurs with a franchise record 143-100 blowout. The 43-point winning margin was the Raptors' biggest ever on the road. Gary Trent Jr led the Toronto scoring with 24 points, while six other Raptors players made double figures. - AFP