Credit: AP - Scanpix
Credit AP - Scanpix

Giannis Antetokounmpo collected 32 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists Tuesday night as the Milwaukee Bucks opened defense of their second NBA championship with a 127-104 (37-25, 29-34, 31-26, 30-19) victory over the visiting Brooklyn Nets, in a matchup many think will comprise the Eastern Conference finals.

Player of the Game
Giannis  Antetokounmpo
EFF
33
Giannis Antetokounmpo
Points 32
Accuracy 12-25
Rebounds 14
Assists 7

Before the game, the Bucks unveiled their championship banner and celebrated their first title since 1971 by handing out rings consisting of 360 diamonds (total wins under this ownership) and 4.14 carats of emeralds (representing Milwaukee's area code).

On the four-month anniversary of Milwaukee eliminating the Nets in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals in Brooklyn, Antetokounmpo dominated. The NBA Finals MVP shot 12 of 25 from the field and converted 7 of 9 free throw attempts in 30:57 before leaving to a standing ovation late in the fourth quarter.

Khris Middleton added 20 points and nine rebounds as Milwaukee shot 45.7 percent and hit 17 3-pointers. Reserves Pat Connaughton and Jordan Nwora added 20 and 15 points for the Bucks, who got 45 points from their second unit on a night in which Milwaukee attempted 21 more shots (105 to 84) than the Nets.

Jrue Holiday chipped in 12 points, but the Milwaukee point guard left in the second quarter with a heel contusion.

Kevin Durant totaled 32 points and 11 rebounds for the Nets, whose only lead was 2-0 in the game's opening minutes. Reserve Patty Mills hit seven 3-pointers without a miss and contributed 21 points, while James Harden chipped in 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists as Brooklyn shot 44 percent and hit 17 3-pointers.

Antetokounmpo nearly had a double-double by the end of the first quarter; he totaled 13 points and eight rebounds and the Bucks hit seven 3-pointers for a 37-25 lead.

Holliday's 16-footer gave Milwaukee its second 19-point lead with 4:47 remaining in the half, but the Nets ended the half with a 16-5 spurt to get within 66-59.

Milwaukee never let the lead slip below seven points and entered the fourth with a 97-85 advantage. The Nets made one last attempt at a comeback, getting within 101-93 on a 3-pointer by Joe Harris with 8:57 remaining.

Antetokounmpo's putback dunk triggered an 11-2 run that gave Milwaukee a 112-95 lead nearly two minutes later.

Highlights

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Milwaukee Bucks
Brooklyn Nets
46%
48/105
Field goals
44%
37/84
62
Rebounds
56
25
Assists
19
8
Steals
3
9
Blocks
9
143
Efficiency
101

Best players

Giannis  Antetokounmpo
32 PTS
12/25 FG
7/9 FT
Kevin  Durant
32 PTS
13/25 FG
3/6 FT
Giannis  Antetokounmpo
14 REB
9 DREB
5 OREB
Kevin  Durant
11 REB
11 DREB
0 OREB
Giannis  Antetokounmpo
7 As
4 TO
31 MIN
James  Harden
8 As
4 TO
31 MIN
Giannis  Antetokounmpo
33 EFF
52% 2P%
25% 3P%
Kevin  Durant
31 EFF
56% 2P%
43% 3P%