Giannis Antetokounmpo enjoying at MVP degree provides Bucks probability to repeat

Giannis Antetokounmpo enjoying at MVP degree provides Bucks probability to repeat


In Sunday’s 101-89 Game 1 rout in Boston, Giannis Antetokounmpo did the whole lot towards the Celtics that Kevin Durant did not do in Round 1.

The most unsung famous person in NBA historical past, enjoying for the least-heralded defending NBA champion in historical past, introduced on a Sunday afternoon that it’s time to concern the Bucks.

Or, because the Milwaukee motto printed on the Bucks’ warm-up T-shirts states:

“Fear The Deer.” Again.

Capping his second playoff triple-double (24 factors, 13 assists, 12 rebounds), Antetokounmpo handled the spotlight reveals with a toss-off-the-backboard dunk.

Midway via the fourth quarter, the Bucks comfortably forward by double digits, Antetokounmpo spun away from Boston’s defensive specialist Grant Williams and began driving to the ring.

“The Greek Freak’’ then tossed an alley-oop for himself. He knocked it off the backboard, caught it, flushed it, gave the Bucks a 94-78 lead and toyed with the Celtics’ monstrous protection that muted the Nets.

And the NBA famous person acted like he does this play each afternoon — pokerfaced as he jogged again downcourt. Stephen Curry would’ve executed an prolonged shimmy. Ja Morant would’ve danced the Mamba. The Knicks’ Immanuel Quickley would’ve executed his swim transfer all the way in which to England.

“I used to be making an attempt to be aggressive and was lucky sufficient to make that play,’’ Antetokounmpo mentioned in his modest on-court interview on ABC.

NBA
Giannis Antetokounmpo
USA TODAY Sports

In the interview room later, Antetokounmpo allowed a sheepish smile.

“I had the ball, and I used to be like — oh crap — I’m going to get caught, then I threw it on the backboard,’’ he mentioned. “I’m fortunate sufficient to have the flexibility to leap and go get it once more and end the play. It’s simply instincts.’’

During the basic seven-game second-round sequence towards the Nets in 2021, Antetokounmpo referred to as Durant the “best player in the world.”

That not is the case as a result of “The Greek Freak’’ has that title — whether or not he earns the MVP or loses to Denver’s Nikola Jokic, already on the proverbial golf course.

So is Durant, who turned the goat towards Boston. The Celtics bottled and beat up KD, harassing him right into a 39 p.c taking pictures catastrophe within the Celtics’ 4-0 sweep.

Boston, the East’s greatest staff statistically within the season’s second half, was on a incredible roll coming into its second-round sequence towards the 2021 champs.

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Milwaukee Bucks ahead Giannis Antetokounmpo
AP

Milwaukee’s protection allowed the Celtics simply 10 two-point baskets all recreation, with the size of “The Greek Freak” and heart Brook Lopez shutting off the paint. Boston was compelled into heaving 50 3-pointers, making simply 18.

“We did a fairly good job to ship [defenders] within the paint and present a crowd, being lively, being there early to dam some pictures, take expenses,’’ Antetokounmpo mentioned.

Winners of 4 straight playoff video games, the Bucks are clicking into their championship gear. They typically didn’t present their dominance throughout a ho-hum 51-31 common season by which they have been tied with the Sixers for third place.

“We’re enjoying method, method, method arduous,’’ Antetokounmpo mentioned of their win streak. “We understand with a view to win video games, we received to protect. One of our greatest scorers [Khris Middleton] is just not on the market. If we don’t guard, we received’t have the possibility being within the recreation.’’

This is roughly the identical solid that hung Milwaukee’s first championship banner since 1971 however with extra 3-point taking pictures. Former Duke enigma Grayson Allen has been revelatory, ex-Knick Bobby Portis has been menacing from deep in black goggles and Pat Connaughton nonetheless is a 3-point ace.

The Celtics made Antetokounmpo extra of a passer Sunday — and never simply to himself.

NBA
Giannis Antetokounmpo dunks the ball within the Bucks’ Game 1 win over the Celtics.
AP

“When you whip the ball to those guys, they’re not hesitating,’’ he mentioned. “It’s going up.’’

The Suns start their second-round sequence Monday night time versus Dallas. Commissioner Adam Silver might want one thing brisker, could not wish to see a Bucks-Suns rematch in June, however it’s on track.

Battling wrist and foot ache, Antetokounmpo gave a cute reply to how he carries on with out grievance.

“First of all, I thrive on physicality,’’ he mentioned. “I like feeling beat up after video games. You in all probability assume I’m a weirdo.’’

No, only a potential two-time champion.



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