Giannis Antetokounmpo Goes Off In Game 2

The Era of Giannis is coming closer and closer.

Jim Rome
May 01, 2019 - 12:34 pm
Giannis Antetokounmpo

USA Today

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Eight days ago, I called my shot. Eight days ago, I said right here on this program that the Era of Giannis is coming closer and closer. And if it hasn’t arrived yet, it’s about to. 

I also made the point that what he did in the closeout game against Detroit was impressive, but it was Detroit. And that Brad Stevens and Al Horford would have something for him in the next round. And in Game 1, they did.

And it was a nightmare for Giannis. And no less a basketball authority that noted Celtic honk Paul Pierce declared the series over after Game 1. And they didn’t have to wheel him out to the set for him puke up all that hot lava. 

And then came Game 2. Milwaukee 123, Boston 102. 

Giannis: 29 points, 10 rebounds. And now Pierce owes everyone an apology for that horrible take.  And for faking like he got hit by a car in the finals against the Lakers. 

And it says something about Giannis that those numbers won’t blow you away. It says something about where he is as a player that 29 points and 10 rebounds is kind of expected. Pretty much an unspectacular night.

But 29 and 10 against a Celtics team that caused him huge problems in Game 1 is different. And 29 and 10 when Khris Middleton has 28 and 7 is really different.

Because when the Bucks as a team are hitting a franchise record for threes in a playoff game, that’s most definitely different. And why you’d have to be a complete dope to write them off after only one game. 

The question coming into the playoffs was whether or not the Bucks were built for the playoffs. Playoff basketball is a different game. And could Milwaukee, which hadn’t won a playoff series since 2001, skip a few steps and go from winning zero series to winning the East.

Sure, they swept a banged up and undermanned Pistons team, but what could they do to Boston? And in Game 1, the answer was not a helluva lot. The Celtics punished them at both ends. The Bucks defense will allow mid-range shots and the Celtics love to take them. And make them. And they did that on offense, while causing huge problems for Giannis at the other end. 

And that’s why Pierce was running his gap. And the critics and naysayer were all over the Bucks telling them to get their asses back to the shallow end. But Pierce should have known better. And so should everyone else who was dropping that nonsense. Because if that was your take, you don’t know the Bucks. You don’t know Mike Budenholzer and you don’t know Giannis. Because there was no way they weren’t going to make adjustments and there was no way that Game 2 would be a repeat of Game 1.

It just wasn’t. Because. Giannis went to work… first on himself.

“Usually after a shady game, a bad loss at home, you get a little bit pissed off and agitated and stuff. What I can do is just talk to my teammates, go back and look at the tape, see what I did wrong, what I did right, and just come into Game 2 with the mindset to be aggressive and make the right plays.”

And he came back with the right mindset. And made the right plays. That was a statement game, from Giannis and from the Bucks. The statement being, they aren’t punks; The statement being that they are ready for this moment. They might not win the title this year, they might not win this series, but the moment isn’t too big for them. And it’s not too big for Giannis. 

He was aggressive. 

He was getting to the rim and he was getting to the line. 13 of 18 from the line. And that wasn’t the scariest part. This was.

And this.

He even broke out a Steph Curry shimmy.

Game 2 was close until it wasn’t. Game 2 was close until Giannis started hitting threes, the one thing he’s not supposed to be able to do. Game 2 was close until Milwaukee went on a 24-2 run in the second half. That’s a 24-2 run against at Celtics team that hadn’t lost in the playoffs and finally looked like they were becoming the team everyone expected them to be. 

And those threes and that run might have been a taste of what’s to come. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, if Giannis is a threat from three, forget about it. Just shut down the league and re-start it again after he retires. 

Because if you’ve got a 7-footer who can get to the bucket that easily right now, forget about it if you have to actually play up on him by the arc. And at this point, I’m not sure that “if” he becomes a legit threat from three is the right statement. It’s a matter of when.

Because that’s how much he’s improved in his time in the league. And that’s how quickly he adjusted from Game 1 to Game 2. And if you really thought that series was over after one game, you ARE a dope. Then you don’t know basketball, you don’t know these bucks and you really don’t know Giannis.