By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
From the western time zone to the east? It doesn’t matter. Dame Time will still tick.
In his debut game as an official floor general for the Bucks, Damian Lillard put on a show and treated the home fans with a scintillating 39-point performance that helped Milwaukee edge the Philadelphia 76ers, 118-117, during the Friday schedule of the ongoing NBA season.
Lillard had his imprint on the game all night long and led the Milwaukee surge that turned the tables in the final three minutes of the ball game.
Despite the Bucks letting their 19-point first-half lead disappear, Lillard’s offensive barrage boosted Milwaukee’s completed comeback effort in the final stretch of the game.
With 3:50 remaining and the 76ers clinging to a 104-102 lead, Lillard knocked down a huge three-pointer from the left elbow that kicked off their insane offensive run.
Philadelphia countered back with several clutch shots from Kelly Oubre Jr., Tyrese Maxey, and Joel Embiid that trimmed their deficit to just a deuce, 113-111, with 1:18 remaining in the slugfest.
Just when Milwaukee needed a closer, Lillard proved he is that guy after cashing in the cold-blooded step-back trifecta to extend their advantage to five points, 116-111.
Tobias Harris answered with a quick three-pointer on the other end to help the 76ers stay within striking distance but Lillard put on the exclamation point as he buried the two most important free throws of the game.
Lillard capped off his debut game for the Bucks with 39 points built from a perfect 17/17 shooting from the charity stripe to go alongside eight rebounds and four assists.
Meanwhile, Giannis Antetokounmpo contributed 23 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks.
Philadelphia played without its other star James Harden who is still under contract disputes with the 76ers’ front office.
Maxey top-scored for Philadelphia with 31 points, eight assists, and four rebounds while reigning MVP Embiid chipped in 24 markers and seven rebounds.