Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard scored 37 points and dished out a season-best 13 assists in a 128-112 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.
Damian Lillard (2nd R) of Milwaukee Bucks makes a lay-up during the 2023-2024 NBA regular season match between Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors in Toronto, Canada, on Nov. 15, 2023. (Photo by Zou Zheng/Xinhua)
Lillard bounced back from a poor outing two weeks ago in Toronto, where he was held to 15 points in a 19-point loss.
The 33-year-old raced into a quick start on Wednesday with 14 points in the first quarter as the Bucks assumed a 36-21 lead. By halftime, the seven-time All-Star had 24 points along with eight assists to help widen the advantage to 70-47, the Bucks' highest scoring half of the season.
"I thought he took control of the game early," said Bucks coach Adrian Griffin afterwards. "When your best player is aggressive and also unselfish and the ball is moving, it's beautiful basketball."
With the team's leading scorer Giannis Antetokounmpo sidelined with a calf injury, Malik Beasley was the main beneficiary of ball movement, drilling a season's best eight 3-pointers on 11 attempts. The 26-year-old sharpshooter finished with a season-high 30 points.
With the win, the Bucks improve to 7-4 on the season as they continue to integrate the offseason changes that saw Griffin replace Mike Budenholzer as head coach and the acquisition of Lillard in a blockbuster three-team trade with Phoenix and Portland.
"The biggest thing is to look at how far the team is coming and continue to work," Griffin reflected on the team's growth compared to two weeks ago. "After that game here, I think I have to continue to grow [as a coach]. We have to continue to be positive and pull for each other."