Bucks edge Thunder on controversial Antetokounmpo basket

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Giannis Antetokounmpo drove for a controversial dunk in the final second Friday to lift the Milwaukee Bucks to a 97-95 NBA victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Bucks' Greek guard appeared to step on the baseline -- and out of bounds -- as he moved past Oklahoma City's Josh Heustis toward the basket, but no call was made and the Bucks had the win when Russell Westbrook's desperation effort from long range missed as time expired.

After the buzzer, Oklahoma City's Carmelo Anthony argued with officials, pointing to the video board, which showed the play -- homing in on Antetokounmpo's foot.

But officiating crew chief Derrick Stafford said the play was not reviewable, since no whistle was blown.

Thunder coach Billy Donovan said officials only told him the play was not reviewable when he asked.

Donovan, however, wasn't interested in getting drawn into criticism of the officiating or the league's video review rules.

"I look at things totally different," Donovan said. "The league and officials have to deal with that. I'm more concerned that we didnt play well in the first quarter."

Milwaukee torched the Thunder for 38 points in the opening period, making 14 of 23 shots from the field, including five three-pointers.

The Thunder, meanwhile, made just one three-pointer in the opening frame and trailed by as many as 22 points before steadily working their way back into the game.

Seconds before Antetokounmpo's game-winner, Westbrook drained a long three-pointer to tie the game for the first time since the game was scoreless.

Westbrook finished with 40 points and 14 rebounds -- and shrugged off the closing controversy.

"It's over now, so it don't matter," Westbrook said.

Antetokounmpo paced the Bucks with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Khris Middleton added 20 points, John Henson had 18 and Tony Snell 15 as the Bucks won their second consecutive game.

Antetokounmpo said he hadn't seen a replay of his decisive basket, and wasn't aware at the time that he might have stepped out of bounds.

"Coach trusted me having the ball late and making that play and do what I do best and go to the rim and try to make it happen," Antetokounmpo said.

However much they vowed to shake it off, it was clear that many Thunder players were irked to see their six-game winning streak end in such a way.

Forward Paul George, who missed the game with a sore left knee, tweeted his opinion of the officiating on the final play, indicating that he thought Antetokounmpo not only stepped out of bounds but also travelled.

"Wow?!" George tweeted. "No travel or out of bounds huh?"