Giannis Wins MVP Battle, but Will James Harden Claim Season-Long War?

Giannis Antetokounmpo fired a ball right into James Harden's face and Twitter loved

"Hell no, I didn't see it coming", Harden said.

Led by Giannis Antetokounmpo's 27 points, 21 rebounds and five assists, the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Houston Rockets by a final score of 116-109 on Wednesday night. Clint Capela added 18 points and 13 rebounds, but shot just 4-of-16 from the field.

Giannis finished with 59.7 FanDuel points in the win.

In this matchup of early front-runners for MVP, Harden and his teammates were done in by a shooting slump late in the third quarter that spilled into the fourth and left them down by 15 points. 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.


James Harden finished with 42 points, but it wasn't quite enough. According to ESPN, that ties him with Tracy McGrady for the second-longest streak of 30-point games in the last 40 years. Much of the third-quarter comeback was spearheaded by Malcolm Brogdon and Eric Bledsoe, and even on a cold night from Khris Middleton, it's clear Milwaukee is far from a one man show. It opened up an opportunity for Antetokounmpo to seal the deal by going on a personal 5-0 run.

After the ball hit Harden's face, it bounced back across the lane to Antetokounmpo, who played it to Ersan Ilyasova for a 3-pointer that put the Bucks ahead.

But beyond those two headlining the show of potential title contenders, the victor of the contest was always going to come down to which team's supporting cast came through more consistently to ease the burden off of their superstar's shoulders.

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