Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo played like a two-time most valuable player in Sunday’s final minutes inside Fiserv Forum.
The Clippers just looked lost — and lost because of it.
Holding a four-point lead with 4 minutes 1 second remaining in the fourth quarter, the Clippers never scored again while watching the Bucks’ superstar had seven points in the final span to cap his 36-point, 14-rebound performance in a 105-100 Bucks victory.
The Clippers led by as many as seven points in the fourth quarter, including by five after a three-pointer by Marcus Morris with 4:33 to play, but that was their second-to-last basket of the afternoon, outscored 12-2 afterward.
The finish marred an otherwise gutsy performance in which the Clippers rallied from an 11-point deficit in the third quarter behind an impactful performance by center Serge Ibaka, who scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points with nine rebounds and Paul George added 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, but none could blunt the brilliance of Antetokounmpo, who scored 17 points in the final quarter, making six of his nine shots, including a corner three-pointer.
Milwaukee led by four after the first quarter and nine in the second after a 12-0 run that saw the Clippers ping around the court on breakneck defensive rotations some possessions, only to lose track of the Bucks on others. Donte DiVincenzo cut backdoor for two layups without the Clippers realizing he was under the hoop until he had the ball. Milwaukee’s offense began to roll exactly where it wanted, in transition (12 points) and inside the paint (16).
The Clippers’ defense limited those easy baskets in transition during the third quarter, a switch that contributed to their comeback. After a dunk by Antetokounmpo over Ibaka, the center scored the next seven points. His 12 points in the third were his most in any quarter this season.
Los Angeles is now 24-12, and Milwaukee improved to 21-13 after its fifth consecutive victory.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.