MILWAUKEE – After dominating the first three games of the NBA Finals, Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo is expected to do more of the same in Game 4 Wednesday night as he and his teammates they hope to match this series with the Phoenix Suns.
Phoenix, like every other team facing Antetokounmpo these days, will try to cover the rim in an attempt to keep the two-time NBA MVP at bay, something the Suns have had no success at these days. first three games (Game 4, 9 pm ET Wednesday, ABC).
Antetokounmpo marveled Tuesday at the fact that teams are now building defenses specifically designed to try and slow him down, just a few years after entering the NBA as a gangly teenager with an unfamiliar ceiling for his game.
“The first time I saw the wall was probably two years ago,” Antetokounmpo said after practice Tuesday. “But I was always able to pass before that. It’s something I always liked to do. I had coaches and people throughout my career who helped me find the right guy, find the right pass, make the right play. But one Once I started looking at the wall, two years ago, now it’s about trust, and it’s a bit difficult, because you want to be effective, you want to do everything.
“And you take it personally too. There’s a team that’s building a three-man, two-man defense behind and trying to stop you. Now you have to not take it personally and make the right play, find the right guy. Sorry. that how I did better for two years … But I was always a capable passer before that defense was created. [Es] funny that there’s a defense called ‘Giannis Wall’. It’s funny to me you know “
It’s not that much fun for the Suns, who have seen Antetokounmpo raze their defenses and hit the rim time and time again in this series. He is one of four players, along with Hall of Famers Rick Barry, Allen Iverson and Shaquille O’Neal, to have scored at least 100 points in their first three NBA Finals games. Antetokounmpo has also gone by more than 40 points and 10 rebounds in each of the last two games.
Phoenix has offered him every possible option, from center DeAndre Ayton to forwards Jae Crowder, Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson, with little change in terms of Antetokounmpo’s attacking ability. After the Suns took the game physically in Game 3, it’s easy to expect Phoenix to try to take the initiative to make Antetokounmpo’s life a little more difficult in Game 4.
“They took him away,” Suns coach Monty Williams said Tuesday. “There’s no other way to look at it. They played very hard – 50/50, attacking the paint. We had streaks of play the way we played, but certainly not as consistent as we needed to. I think I said it the other day. Since the first possession of the game, we had a bad transitional defensive lapse and they made a corner three in transition.
“That was a credit to them. They played with a lot of energy and they were physical. We were physical, but they were physical from the jump. The more I looked at it, it was like I could sit here and make excuses.” about what we didn’t do and all that, but they played at a high, high level. “
Antetokounmpo, in particular, attacked relentlessly. He made 17 free kicks for himself in Game 3, compared to 16 for the Suns as a whole, which Williams noted after Sunday’s game.
“Someone asked me the question, so I answered it,” Williams said Tuesday of the point. “And then the free throw disparity is what it is. So that’s what I did. They had a player with 17 free throws. We had 16.
“That is not complaining. That is stating facts.”
When Antetokounmpo was asked about the disparity between the teams, and its impact on it, he claimed that he did not know such a discussion was taking place, and said that he does not pay attention to social media.
But he came up with his own data on whether or not he’s winning those trips to the free throw line.
“I think I took a good beating down there. I have a scratch here and another scratch here,” Antetokounmpo said with a smile, pointing to his forehead and nose, before adding with a laugh, “So they’re making my pretty face ugly.
“But it is what it is. I’m just trying to focus on what I have to do and how I can help my team succeed. That’s all I’m going to spend my energy on.”
Part of how that will happen is to keep going, around and through the walls that the Suns are putting up to stop him. Antetokounmpo has garnered much criticism over time for his penchant for taking too many jump shots, rather than attacking the rim, and for his weaknesses at the free throw line.
But he said all he can do is stick to the mantras he repeatedly says during his press tests: race as hard as you can and enjoy the experience as much as you can and let the splinters fall where they can from there.
“You have to take it as a compliment,” Antetokounmpo said of defenses specifically tailored to try to slow him down. “You always have to find the fun factor in everything. In that, in the free kick, ‘1, 2, 3, 4’ [cuando los fanáticos rivales están contando cuánto tarda en disparar], whatever.
“You always have to find the fun factor. So yeah, it’s a compliment that there has to be three people up front keeping me from getting into the paint and building that wall.”
The only people who hate it the most are the ones who hope it works.
“Regardless of how he scores, he does. You know what I mean?” Chris Paul said. “It comes down there, pound, pound some more and drop a tray. You know what I mean? So it is what it is. I think you have to find a way to stop it. We have to try. Find a way to stop it. To stop it. us, slow it down or not is about winning the game.
“He wins the game. I don’t care what the stat sheet looks like after the game. He wins the game. To him, I mean, he’s a two-time MVP, so we have to deal with him as such.”