1709621120 Damian Lillard drops 41 points and leads the Bucks past

Damian Lillard drops 41 points and leads the Bucks past the Clippers even without Giannis Antetokounmpo

Damian Lillard more than helped out on Monday night in Milwaukee.

Lillard dropped 41 points and helped lead the Bucks out of a 15-point hole in the second half to defeat the Giannis Antetokounmpo-less Los Angeles Clippers 113-106 at Fiserv Forum. It was the Bucks' sixth straight win after the All-Star break and another solid performance under new head coach Doc Rivers.

Antetokounmpo was forced out shortly before the game began due to left Achilles tendonitis, which Rivers said has been an issue for the star in recent games. He used the field for his normal pregame routine but eventually abandoned it and left. Antetokounmpo — who is averaging 30.8 points and shooting a career-high 61.9% from the field — has missed just three games this season.

“The last two or three games it kept happening,” Rivers said before the win, via ESPN. “He actually looked good this morning…We'll just figure it out from there.”

The Clippers also seemed to take full advantage of his early absence. They had a seven-point lead at halftime and quickly expanded that to 15 points in the third quarter.

But it was a 10-0 run at the end of the third period that extended into the fourth quarter that finally got the Bucks back into the game. Then, after a 3-pointer from Paul George just about halfway through the fourth quarter, the Bucks did it again. They took a 15-0 lead, sparked by a 3-pointer from Lillard, and suddenly took full control of the game. The Bucks held the Clippers to just three field goals over the rest of the game – two of which were mistimed, far too late to make a difference – and secured the seven-point victory.

Damian Lillard and the Bucks have now won six games in a row after the All-Star break.Damian Lillard and the Bucks have now won six games in a row after the All-Star break.

Damian Lillard and the Bucks have now won six games in a row after the All-Star break. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Lillard finished the win with 41 points, four rebounds and four assists, shooting 12 of 22 from the field. Bobby Portis came off the bench to add 28 points and 16 rebounds, and Patrick Beverley finished the game with 12 points and nine rebounds. They were the only three Bucks players to score in double figures.

James Harden finished the game with 29 points and eight assists to lead the Clippers. Paul George added 29 points and five rebounds while shooting 10 of 17 from the field, and Kawhi Leonard finished with 16 points. The Clippers were without veteran guard Russell Westbrook, who broke his hand on Friday and underwent hand surgery on Monday. The team hopes he can rejoin them in time for the playoffs. The Clippers have a record of 39-21 and are in fourth place in the Western Conference standings.

As for the Bucks, they finally appear to be finding success under Rivers — who replaced coach Adrian Griffin just before the All-Star break. They have won six straight and are 41-21 on the year, in second place in the Eastern Conference standings, although they are still eight full games behind the Boston Celtics. The Bucks will embark on a four-game road trip through California next Wednesday against the Golden State Warriors.

While it's unclear how long Antetokounmpo will be sidelined, if at all, the Bucks appear fully capable of competing in the final stretch of the season with or without him. However, whether that will be enough to catch the Celtics remains to be seen.