Lillard shines in his first game as a Buck, leads Milwaukee to a thrilling win over Philadelphia


Damian Lillard, the star point guard who was traded from Portland to Milwaukee in a blockbuster deal this summer, had a sensational debut for his new team on Thursday night. He scored 39 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and dished out four assists in 37 minutes of action. He also hit the game-winning shot, a deep step-back three-pointer over Kelly Oubre Jr., with 3.7 seconds left to give the Bucks a 118-117 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers at the Fiserv Forum.

Lillard, who wore the number 0 for the first time in his career, showed no signs of rust or nerves as he took over the game in the fourth quarter. He scored 15 of his 39 points in the final period, including nine in the last two minutes. He was perfect from the free-throw line, making all 17 of his attempts. He also made four of his nine three-pointers, none bigger than the one that sealed the win for the Bucks.

“I just wanted to come out and play hard, and help my team win,” Lillard said after the game. “I’m happy to be here, and I’m grateful for this opportunity. I have a lot of respect for this organization, and for my teammates. They welcomed me with open arms, and they trusted me to make plays down the stretch.”


Bucks overcome a 19-point deficit and a strong performance from Embiid

The Bucks did not have an easy time against the 76ers, who were without their star guard James Harden due to a hamstring injury. The Sixers led by as many as 19 points in the second quarter, thanks to a dominant performance from Joel Embiid. The All-Star center finished with 36 points, 14 rebounds, and five blocks in 38 minutes. He also made four of his six three-point attempts, showing off his range and versatility.

The Sixers were up by 13 points at halftime, and by 10 points at the end of the third quarter. But the Bucks rallied in the fourth quarter, behind Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo. The reigning MVP had 23 points and 13 rebounds, but he struggled with his shooting and turnovers. He made only seven of his 19 field goals, and missed all six of his three-point attempts. He also committed seven turnovers, including a costly one that led to a fast-break dunk by Oubre Jr. that put the Sixers up by four with 1:12 left.

But Lillard came to the rescue for the Bucks, scoring nine straight points to give them the lead. He made two free throws, then hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 115-115 with 48 seconds left. After Embiid missed a jumper, Lillard drove to the basket and drew a foul on Oubre Jr., making both free throws to put the Bucks up by two with 23 seconds left.

The Sixers had a chance to tie or take the lead, but Ben Simmons missed a layup after driving past Antetokounmpo. The Bucks got the rebound, and Lillard was fouled again with 11 seconds left. He made both free throws to extend the lead to four.

But the Sixers were not done yet. Tobias Harris hit a quick three-pointer with seven seconds left to cut the deficit to one. The Bucks inbounded the ball to Lillard, who was immediately fouled by Simmons with six seconds left. Lillard missed his first free throw, ending his streak of 17 straight makes. He made his second one, giving him 39 points and giving the Bucks a two-point lead.

The Sixers called their final timeout, and advanced the ball to half-court. They inbounded the ball to Embiid, who handed it off to Oubre Jr., who was guarded by Lillard. Oubre Jr. tried to shake off Lillard with a crossover dribble, but Lillard stayed with him and forced him to take a tough step-back three-pointer from well beyond the arc. The shot was short, and Antetokounmpo grabbed the rebound as time expired.

The Bucks celebrated their comeback win, while the Sixers walked off the court in disappointment.

Lillard becomes only the second Buck ever to score 30-plus points in his debut

Lillard’s performance was historic in several ways. He became only the second player in NBA history to score at least 39 points and make at least 17 free throws in his debut for a new team. The only other player to do so was Wilt Chamberlain, who had 43 points and 28 rebounds for the Philadelphia Warriors in his first NBA game in 1959.

Lillard also became only the second Buck ever to score 30 or more points in his debut for the franchise. The only other player to do so was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who had 29 points and 12 rebounds for the Milwaukee Bucks in his first NBA game in 1969.

Lillard’s 39 points were also the most by any player in his first game with the Bucks, surpassing the previous record of 32 points by Oscar Robertson in 1970.

Lillard, who spent nine seasons with the Trail Blazers before requesting a trade this summer, said he was happy to start a new chapter in his career with the Bucks.

“I love Portland, and I appreciate everything they did for me. But I felt like it was time for a change, and I wanted to play for a contender,” Lillard said. “I’m excited to be here, and to play with Giannis and the rest of these guys. We have a lot of talent, and a lot of potential. We just have to keep working hard, and keep getting better every day.”

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer praises Lillard’s performance and leadership

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer was impressed by Lillard’s performance and leadership in his first game with the team. He said Lillard fit in well with the Bucks’ system and culture, and praised his clutch shooting and playmaking.

“He was amazing. He showed why he’s one of the best players in the league, and why we wanted him so badly,” Budenholzer said. “He made big shots, he made big plays, he made big free throws. He was calm and confident, and he lifted everyone up. He’s a great leader, and a great teammate.”

Budenholzer also said Lillard and Antetokounmpo complemented each other well on the court, and that they would only get better as they develop more chemistry.

“They’re both superstars, and they both want to win. They have a lot of respect for each other, and they’re willing to share the ball and make each other better,” Budenholzer said. “They’re still learning how to play together, but they showed some flashes of greatness tonight. They’re going to be a tough duo to stop.”

The Bucks improved to 1-0 with the win, while the Sixers fell to 0-1. The Bucks will face the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, while the Sixers will host the Boston Celtics on Friday.

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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