3 ways Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo ought to assault Nets’ protection — and a method he should not


It could be ridiculous to criticize most NBA gamers who scored 33 factors and grabbed 14 rebounds as a part of a playoff win, however Giannis Antetokounmpo is just not most gamers.

The 2-time NBA MVP was one of many principal contributors in Milwaukee’s Recreation 3 victory over Brooklyn — the opposite being Khris Middleton, who totaled 35 factors and 15 rebounds — which stored the Bucks from falling right into a 3-0 gap. And but, it feels as if Antetokounmpo can do much more transferring ahead within the sequence.

MORE: Why Charles Barkley is rooting towards Nets throughout NBA playoffs

“On the finish of the day, whenever you play a basketball sport and also you win the sport, you get pleasure from [it]. However I believe we are able to play higher,” Antetokounmpo mentioned. “We will play higher. We will play quicker. We will play extra collectively.”

How can the Bucks actually unleash “The Greek Freak” towards the Nets? Let’s take a better take a look at what labored (and what did not) in Recreation 3.

Do: Assault shortly in half-court units and transition

Instance 1: Antetokounmpo was in assault mode proper after the opening tip. He grabbed the ball off a few misses and did not permit Nets defenders to dash forward and construct a wall in entrance of him.

Instance 2: Later within the first quarter, Antetokounmpo confronted a protection that was in significantly better place to cease him. He penetrated with such power, although, that it did not matter. Antetokounmpo had the choice to complete himself or kick out to Brook Lopez for a wide-open 3-pointer with Landry Shamet sucked into the paint.

Instance 3: On this play, the Nets acquired all 5 defenders again, however Antetokounmpo noticed Blake Griffin backpedaling and drove proper at his chest. When he is that deep, it is over.

Instance 4: This is what occurred when Antetokounmpo wasn’t decisive. He dribbled the air out of the ball for greater than 10 seconds whereas his teammates stood and watched. Griffin tied him up for a soar ball, however Kevin Durant possible would have blocked the shot from behind had Antetokounmpo managed to launch the ball.

Quotable: “I assume, the first quarter, [Antetokounmpo] was in assault mode. I believe the spacing, we have been higher,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer mentioned. “We acquired 30 factors, after which from there, it was a bit of little bit of a slugfest. So Giannis has simply acquired to maintain discovering his spots, can get to second actions, third actions. He is simply going to maintain enjoying and making good choices and enjoying for his staff.”

Do: Run pick-and-roll with teammates

Instance 1: Griffin was content material to play manner off Antetokounmpo and bait him into taking 3-pointers (extra on that beneath). A method Milwaukee countered that technique was by utilizing Antetokounmpo as a screener. Jrue Vacation got here off the decide with a head of steam, so Griffin needed to cowl for Irving, who was chasing Vacation excessive of the display screen. Antetokounmpo rolled exhausting to the rim, and Griffin could not step over shortly sufficient to attract the cost.

Instance 2: The Bucks ran the Vacation-Antetokounmpo pick-and-roll in the identical spot later within the first half, however this time Nets guard Mike James tagged Antetokounmpo to forestall a straightforward cross. Vacation adjusted by throwing a well-timed laser to P.J. Tucker. The shot did not fall, however the specter of a diving Antetokounmpo created precisely the sort of look Milwaukee needed. 

By the numbers: Antetokounmpo is posting 1.21 factors per possession within the playoffs because the roll man, however he has solely logged 14 such possessions, per NBA.com stats.

Do: Discover slicing lanes

Instance 1: The ball motion has been missing for the Bucks all through the sequence, however this was an important possession through which each participant touched the ball. Milwaukee put Brooklyn right into a help-and-recover scenario, and Antetokounmpo noticed a runway after his defender rotated over towards the ball.

Instance 2: As soon as once more, Antetokounmpo took benefit of a defender who helped on the ball and misplaced observe of him. Antetokounmpo caught the ball on the dotted line, however his size and athleticism gave him a straightforward dunk.

By the numbers: Antetokounmpo is posting 1.30 factors per possession within the playoffs as a cutter on 23 such possessions, per NBA.com stats. The Bucks are producing on the third-highest fee on cuts (1.38) amongst playoff groups behind solely the Clippers (1.42) and Jazz (1.39),

Do not: Isolate and shoot pull-up 3-pointers

Instance 1: OK, right here comes the irritating half. Antetokounmpo went 1 of 8 on 3-pointers (12.5 p.c) and 13 of 23 on 2-pointers (56.5 p.c) in Recreation 3. A lot of his deep makes an attempt have been simply dangerous pictures. Dribble up, no passes, 17 seconds on the shot clock. Nope.

Instance 2: Dribble up, one step contained in the arc, transfer again, 15 seconds on the shot clock. Cease it.

Instance 3: Dribble up, two teammates simply crossed half courtroom, 17 seconds on the shot clock. Dude . . . come on.

Quotable: “They’re again. You have to shoot it — not essentially you have to shoot it. You have to make the perfect determination,” Antetokounmpo mentioned. “On the time, if I really feel like I can knock it down, I will shoot it. If I really feel like I acquired to get my teammates concerned, I am going to get my teammates concerned. On the finish of the day, as I mentioned, simply make the perfect determination for that specific second. As I mentioned, my intuition advised me that taking a 3 at that second was the perfect determination, in order that’s why I took eight threes.”

(The very best determination is to remove these 3-pointers and do extra of the opposite stuff.)

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