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Breaking down Giannis Antetokounmpo's historic-but-weird triple-double

Breaking down Giannis Antetokounmpo's historic-but-weird triple-double

The Milwaukee Bucks continue to roll.

With their 118-111 win over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night, the Bucks hold a two-and-a-half-game lead over the Philadelphia 76ers for the best record in the NBA. It's been an insane stretch for the Bucks, who, when zooming out, have won 21 of their last 24 games. Since Jan. 23, the start of this 24-game stretch, the Bucks rank No. 7 in offense and No. 2 in defense.

At the forefront of this run is Giannis Antetokounmpo, who's averaging 31.7 points on 63.4% True Shooting, 11.8 rebounds and 6.0 assists (3.8 turnovers) per contest. Those are his box-score stats while including the two games he left early due to injury, logging a combined 15 minutes in those contests.

It's easy to marvel at his relentless drives to the basket, his passing on the move, the rebounding prowess and the weak-side rim protection. He's showcased all of that during this run while quietly shooting well from deep (37% on 2.6 attempts) in the process. But we're not here to dig deep into that.

We're going to get weird — because Giannis' Sunday was weird. 

It was yet another box-score-filling night for him against the Raptors. He finished with 22 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists (3 turnovers) — giving him his fourth triple-double of the season. It was a historic one for him though; he shot 100% from the field, making him the second player this season — and the 10th player in NBA history — to record a triple-double without missing a field goal.

(On a related note: Had Giannis not gone 3-for-7 from the free throw line, he would've joined Nikola Jokic and Evan Turner — yeah, that Evan Turner! — as the only players to shoot 100% from two, from three and the free-throw line.)

Giannis' game stands out for another reason. Since we don't have plus-minus data for Wilt Chamberlain or Wes Unseld in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Giannis became the first player in (recorded) NBA history to log a triple-double and shoot 100% from the field, while his team was outscored in his minutes. 

Despite Giannis' excellence, the Bucks lost his minutes by 10 points; I let out an audible cackle when I first saw that. It's here where I pause and state the obvious: The Bucks being outscored in Giannis' minutes doesn't mean he was bad or stat padding or doing anything inflammatory. 

But it is odd. It's never been done in a triple-double like this. And while there have been triple-doubles where a team has lost that player's minutes by double digits — Domantas Sabonis just had one in a loss to the Bucks last week — to do so in a win is even more odd.

The reasoning behind the disparity on Sunday is simple, though: The Raptors were able to flourish after misses and turnovers, and also knocked down some incredibly tough shots during the Giannis minutes. 

Nothing highlights that quite like Giannis' stint from the end of the first quarter (1:42 mark) to late second quarter (3:07 mark). Giannis checked back in with the Bucks up 31-24 and checked out with the Raptors up 56-55. 

Let's take a look at five made shots from the beginning of that run.

A pull-up two against drop, a contested lob finish from Precious Achiuwa, an isolation jumper from OG Anunoby, a Gary Trent Jr. three off a scramble drill and another triple from Anunoby against a soft switch. Of those five, you can quibble about Giannis on one of them; he failed to grab the rebound over Chris Boucher that led to the Trent three.

Giannis played the entire third quarter, in which the Raptors outscored the Bucks by eight points. Again, a blend of early offense and tough shots helped swing the tide. I mean, we got this from Fred VanVleet, for crying out loud.

There's not much you can do with that.

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