Milwaukee Bucks

Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo explodes for career-high 64 points vs. Pacers amid game ball chaos

Antetokounmpo also set a Milwaukee franchise record in the process, but not without some drama

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It was the Greek Freak show on Wednesday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo exploded for 64 points as the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Indiana Pacers 140-126 at home, marking a new career high for the superstar.

Antetokounmpo converted on 20 of 28 shots, though he missed all three 3-point attempts, and made 24 of 32 free throws. He added 14 rebounds, four steals, three assists and a block in 37 minutes.

His previous career high was 55 points versus the Washington Wizards on Jan. 3, 2023, last season.

The new total also set a Bucks franchise record for most points in a game, topping Michael Redd's 57 on Nov. 11, 2006, when they played the Utah Jazz and lost 113-111.

But the result on Wednesday also involved controversy between Antetokounmpo and the Pacers. The Pacers reportedly appeared to have taken the game ball away into the locker room, which made Antetokounmpo furious as he raced off the court to retrieve it.

Antetokounmpo also had a heated exchange with Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton after seemingly returning from the tunnel.

But it all appeared to be a big misunderstanding, as video evidence showed a Bucks official went to grab the game ball from a referee at the final whistle.

So, why the fuss over Indiana having the game ball? Head coach Rick Carlisle said the Pacers wanted to give it to rookie Oscar Tshiebwe for scoring his first ever NBA point, which was a free throw. He had scored in the in-season tournament final against the Los Angeles Lakers, but the statistics in that game do not count.

Indiana ultimately gave Tshiebwe a replacement ball, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said.

The Pacers had eliminated Milwaukee in the in-season tournament semifinal on Dec. 7, which may have a role in the tensions between the two sides.

But for now, Antetokounmpo is yet again in the history books for Milwaukee.

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