MILWAUKEE -- Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks took down Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night, 124-115, in the latest matchup between two of the league's best and most unique players. Though competitive on the floor, the dueling MVP candidates share a mutual respect for the other's abilities.
"Enjoy [competing against him] is hard because I want to win, so it's hard to go against a guy like that," Doncic said after the Mavericks' fourth consecutive defeat. "He's the best player in the NBA right now. He's almost impossible to stop. It's really fun to see him play, but it's not that fun to go against him."
Antetokounmpo finished with 30 points, 11 rebounds and four assists on 11-of-19 from the field for his fourth consecutive 30-point outing. This is already his second 30-point streak of at least four games this season, and he's averaging a career-high 30.9 points per game to go along with 11.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists. Now into his 10th season in the league, the Greek Freak appears to be better than ever.
"He improves every day," Doncic said. "He works really hard, you can see it. He works on everything, he works on his shot and he's gotten better at a lot of things. He just gets better every day."
Later in the night, long after the Mavericks had left for the airport to return home, the two-time MVP made his way to the podium for his post-game media conference, and was pleased to hear what Doncic had said.
"That's a great compliment and I appreciate that," Antetokounmpo said. "When you play against the best players in the league, being able to say something like that feels good. No matter wins or losses, just being respected by your peers, it's always a good feeling."
His praise for Doncic, who went for 27 points, five rebounds and 12 assists in just his fifth outing this season with fewer than 30 points, was just as effusive.
"I always love playing against the best players in the league," Antetokounmpo said. "He's an incredible player, incredible talent, arguably one of the most talented players I've ever seen in my lifetime. It's unbelievable what he can do for himself and his team, and it's always great going against players like that."
Earlier this month, during an appearance on Serge Ibaka's YouTube series, "How Hungry are You?", Antetokounmpo named Doncic as the point guard in his starting five for a hypothetical match-up between international and American NBA players. The rest of the league must be glad that imaginary scenarios like that are the only time these two superstars are in the same lineup.