Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo ties Kareem Abdul Jabbar record

US basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (L) and Greek basketball player Giannis Antetokounmpo (R) arrive for the 2019 NBA Awards at Barker Hangar on June 24, 2019 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by LISA O'CONNOR / AFP) (Photo credit should read LISA O'CONNOR/AFP via Getty Images)
US basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (L) and Greek basketball player Giannis Antetokounmpo (R) arrive for the 2019 NBA Awards at Barker Hangar on June 24, 2019 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by LISA O'CONNOR / AFP) (Photo credit should read LISA O'CONNOR/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo; Sacramento Kings: Davion Mitchell, Harrison Barnes
Dec 7, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

There are not many records in Milwaukee Bucks franchise history that Giannis Antetokounmpo doesn’t already own. In fact, at the rate he’s going, the Bucks are going to have to put up the Giannis Antetokounmpo statue outside Fiserv Forum while he’s still an active player. Many Milwaukee Bucks records, if not owned by Giannis, are owned by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, some of these franchise records have already been taken over.

Last season, Giannis passed Kareem for the most points in franchise history. A milestone, that in my mind, made Giannis the greatest Milwaukee Buck of all time. Then, earlier this season, Giannis also became the franchise leader in field goals and free throws. There aren’t many franchise categories that over the next couple years Giannis won’t be the leader in.

Let’s look at another record that Giannis has currently drawn even with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and how he got there.

Giannis has tied Kareem’s franchise record for 2nd most consecutive games scoring 30 or more points at eight straight games (Kareem also holds the record for the most in a separate streak of 16 straight). In those eight games the Milwaukee Bucks are 6-2. Giannis hasn’t scored fewer than 30 points in nearly three weeks, how is he doing it?

Giannis Antetokounmpo tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar consecutive 30 point game streak: What’s working so well?

There aren’t many things that Giannis can’t do, and those he can’t, he works vigorously to improve, notably his jump shooting. Giannis has put in countless hours improving as a shooter, whether it be behind the 3-point line, mid-range, post-fade or at the free throw line. The hard work is showing, over his last eight games, Giannis is shooting an eye-opening 52.4 percent on jump shots between 15-19 feet. A percentage that should quite honestly, terrify the rest of the league.

I gave credit during my takeaways from the Milwaukee Bucks win against the Orlando Magic, to Marques Johnson for bringing up that Giannis knows what to do with the cushion that opponents are giving him defensively, recognizing when to shoot and when to drive, during this streak he’s pushing all the right buttons against that cushion.

Save for a rough game against the Portland Trail Blazers that started this streak, Giannis Antetokounmpo has been much better at the free throw line than he was when first returning from his absence with knee soreness. Giannis has tinkered with his free throw routine some more and it has resulted in a couple 10 second calls. However, over the last eight games, which includes one 5-for-12 night, Giannis is 63-for-89 on free throws 70.8 percent, right around his career average. Leave out the Portland game and look at his last seven games and Giannis is 58-for-77, just over 75 percent, which if done over the course of an entire season would put him among the best years of his career at the charity stripe.

Over the last eight games Giannis Antetokounmpo has been tremendously efficient from the field as well. The lowest field goal percent Giannis has shot during this stretch, 52 percent, say it again, the lowest Giannis has shot over the last eight games is 52 percent. That was last Wednesday against the Knicks, the thing with that game was, Giannis attempted EIGHT 3-pointers, he made two but to attempt eight of them is crazy, Giannis did shoot very efficiently inside the arc, 11-of-17 on 2-point shots.

Total over the last eight games, Giannis’ field goal percentage is 60.7 percent, including a respectable 32.0 percent from the 3-point line, not crazy efficient, but enough to make opponents think about it. In fact, since the calendar turned to December, Giannis is 4-for-9 on 3-point shots, 44.4 percent.

Since Giannis Antetokounmpo started this streak on November 21st, he leads the league in scoring at 35.9 points per game, over a four point advantage on Luka Doncic who is second in that time span.

I think it’s important to make the disclaimer that Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t changing his play style just to try and score points, while his usage rate is near tops in the league, he is still sharing the ball with his teammates. Over the streak Giannis is averaging 5.9 assists as well, on par with his career averages, also as previously mentioned the Milwaukee Bucks are 6-2 during these games where Giannis scores 30 or more, so his scoring isn’t coming at the cost of winning either. There should be no question that Giannis Antetokounmpo is still focused on his team winning and not on stat padding.

Giannis Antetokounmpo tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar consecutive 30 point game streak: Who stands in the way?

The Milwaukee Bucks’ next opponent is the Dallas Mavericks, a team the Bucks beat in Milwaukee during Giannis’ streak back on November 27th. Giannis went toe to toe with another MVP candidate, the previously mentioned Luka Doncic and emerged victorious. During that game Giannis scored 30 points, just enough to keep his streak alive, on 11-of-19 shooting and 8-of-10 at the free throw line.

This game does take place on the road in Dallas, the Mavericks are currently 10-3 at home this season, clearly their strength lies playing in their own building. In the American Airlines Center the Dallas Mavericks rank 6th in the NBA in defensive rating. For Giannis Antetokounmpo to break the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar record and stand on his own with the longest streak in franchise history of consecutive 30 point games will be no small feat.

The Milwaukee Bucks have split with the Dallas Mavericks each of the last two seasons, in those four games Giannis sat out two of them and score 31 and 28 in the other two.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo has his work cut out for him, stay tuned to see if he breaks the record for 2nd most consecutive 30 point games.