Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo showed his respect for Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic following their clash as he described the Slovenian as "one of the most talented guys I've ever played against."
Doncic, who is having an exceptional season, showed up big time against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday as he scored 36 points, dished out a career-high 19 assists and grabbed 14 rebounds en route to helping the Mavericks claim a 136-132 overtime win over the top-seeded team of the Eastern Conference.
Antetokounmpo himself had a strong game, scoring 34 points and grabbing 13 rebounds but that wasn't enough to help him lead his team past the inspired Mavericks. "It's amazing," Antetokounmpo said of Doncic's performance, as quoted on ESPN.
"He's playing great basketball. He's a great basketball player, makes his teammates better. Talented ... really talented. One of the most talented guys I've ever played against. "He's making the whole team better, and he's going to keep getting better.
As long as he makes his team better, they're going to be tough to beat." But Antetokounmpo wasn't the only member of his team praising Doncic as Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer also had strong words to say about the Mavericks guard.
"As a guard with the ball in his hands as much as it is, there's nobody that jumps to my mind," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said, when asked whom Doncic reminds him of at this age. "I mean, Tim Duncan as a second-year player was pretty amazing.
Tim Duncan as a first-year player, but they're built very differently. So there's been some great players come into our league and done special things in their first year or two, but with the ball in his hands, the way it is, to do the things he does is very impressive."
Doncic's spectacular play highlights the win
With just over a minute to go in overtime, Doncic -- using his left hand -- slipped the ball between his legs and past Antetokounmpo into the hands of teammate Maxi Kleber -- who then dunked the ball and got fouled for an and one.
Il don't know why I did it," Doncic said. "I just did it. I didn't think about it. I saw it, and I didn't think about it before right in the moment." "With Luka you always have to expect to get a pass," Kleber commented.
Meanwhile, Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis used the word "unbelievable" to describe the play Doncic pulled off in crunch time.