Giannis Antetokounmpo and his title defender Milwaukee Bucks are gone, bounced by Boston in the second round after getting Harford in Game 4, Tetumod in Game 6 and Williamsod in Game 7. If it seems frustrating that the defending champions fell short it shouldn’t really be after losing to the winning team in a play-off game in the conference final last year. They had to sledge the box without their second best player against the best team in the NBA. With the exception of Chris Middleton, a roster of limited players has been stockpiled whose games are designed to complement Antetokunampo’s almighty. Pop in the open, do not make a bounce shot against Marcus Smart on a switch with nine seconds on the clock. Antetokounmpo was demanded for inhumane efforts, and even then, he pushed his team to the final of the conference by an almost indomitable force.
The legacy and narrative of the long-running Fort Cloud and Charles Berkeley screaming at you at TNT can uncomfortably turn into a series and convince anyone that great players don’t lose such a series, or claim the greatness that a player like Antitoconumpo wins by crossing the line. . His own. But even if he loses, we should applaud Antetocanumpo for what he did against Boston, and I don’t think it’s counterproductive to hold on to defending a title instead of a defending champ framed as a failed upset bid. Because, man, have you seen the Celtics playoffs? Jayson Tatum climbed, the whole team passed as if they shared a brain, and the team’s defense is very good, the “weak link” teams are attacking Derrick White, who made almost an all-defense team. The Celtics rotation consists of six men who can defend multiple positions at all-defense levels, shoot three and make accurate passes, also one of the best defensive destroyers in the NBA, as well as a tiny underwater bug shooting expert. Even without Smart and Robert Williams, Boston could still field a perfectly consistent, terrific lineup around Tatum and Jillian Brown. They do everything right and they know exactly who they are. The Box, below All-Star, was forced to over-average Antetokunumpo.
And it almost worked. The dynamics of this series have been crystallized in Game 3, the first box game in Milwaukee. Antetokounmpo dropped 42 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, two blocks and two steels. He beats the Boston defenders and can get into his rim A and between the lanes. He and Jarrow took 60 percent of the shots in the holiday box. They have won two. Boston had a lead within the last minute of that game, which Giannis must have snatched from Jalen Brown’s cooking. The Box put themselves ahead 2-1 in the series, but it was clear that it would be a difficult path to move forward. If the Celtics play anything close to a normal offensive game (which they did not in Game 1), Antetokunumpo must drop 40 to get a chance to win the box. This is a ridiculous proposition for any player, let alone an all-star team against a lock-in defense who knows you have to make that Gambit successful in defeating them.
This now-established dynamic game played itself during 3-6, which is the best run of the games we’ve seen in the playoffs so far. Al Harford had a game of his life to deny a night of 34-18-5 nights from AntitoConnampo in Game 4. Twice MVP reversed 40 and 11 in Game 5, a game where the joint muscle power of the box eliminates a 14. Points fourth quarter lead. Antetoacoumpo, however, hit his own teammate in the head and struck a serious three, holding a one-handed rebound in traffic and drawing two late free throws that were bleeding from his mouth. That Game 5 Gems set up the final home game of the series box, which they rightly treated like a must-win. Boston was the top team in the competition because they were all series long, but Box made a great comeback early in the fourth quarter. Antetokounmpo had a fantastic sequence: he slammed it on two boys for an and-1, helped set up a Pat Canton three-pointer, caught three rebounds in two minutes, then finally made a three of his own. The pointer splashed in the video below the pressure. The shot that came at 6:46 is quite amazing. Antitoconumpo is not a good three-point shooter, although the Celtics still deliberately gave him 10 feet of open, open space because they were afraid to let him into the alley. This type of localization immediately scans as odd. Antetokounmpo distorts the shape of the game in a way that no one else in the league currently does.
Unfortunately for Antetokounmpo, his 44-point, 22-board, six-assist giga performance finally matched. Tatum Groove 46, left shot hit jumpers with watch slivers claiming to see what it would turn out to be a deadly bucks run. Antetokounmpo has posted the first 40-20 game of the playoffs since 2001, and it comes in a futile effort against a team of fully-fledged basketball talents, which seems like a fairytale for this series. Antetokounmpo is 27, firmly the best player in the NBA, and probably won’t be on a worse roster in a while, so he’s not going anywhere. Yet, admire his talent for what it was, not what he failed to achieve.