Even though they’re facing a series sweep, the Milwaukee Bucks have flashed plenty of potential that makes their future look promising.
Milwaukee suffered a 113-106 loss in double overtime to Chicago on Thursday to fall behind 3-0 in their first-round match-up, but the young underdogs made the Bulls earn the victory.
At the centre of the Bucks’ resistance was phenom Giannis Antetokounmpo, who delivered a breakout performance.
Aptly nicknamed ‘Greek Freak’, the 20-year-old played with fire, notching a double-double with 25 points and 12 rebounds in 51 minutes after saying before the contest he never had “a good game against the Bulls, so that p***** me off.”
Antetokounmpo displayed his outstanding talent and athleticism on both ends of the floor, making several highlight plays.
“I was trying to be aggressive and try to make plays for my teammates,” he said.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 25, 2015
“I talked with my team-mates, and they told me not to think, don’t take second-guesses on the court because whenever you think on the court, you’re dead.”
Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd added: “He was great. He played well, he played hard. He set the tone early.
“The minutes weren’t a factor, he’s only 20. He played a really good game. He was able to attack and take what the defence gave him.”
From defending the opposing team’s top offensive threat, to going the length of the floor with the ball in a matter of strides, the rangy Antetokounmpo has all the tools to be a future star in the NBA.
In his sophomore campaign, Antetokounmpo has raised his game in almost every facet as his scoring jumped from 6.8 points as a rookie to 12.7 this season.
While his 3-point shooting declined, his overall efficiency from the field improved from 41.4 per cent to 49.1.
Antetokounmpo is one of the most enticing prospects in the league, but he’s one of few on the Bucks roster.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) April 24, 2015
Milwaukee’s nucleus also consists of a pair of 23-year-olds in Michael Carter-Williams and Khris Middleton.
The latter will be a restricted free agent this summer, meaning the Bucks can match any offer and retain him.
Like Antetokounmpo, Carter-Williams and Middleton are getting their first taste of the playoffs and although Milwaukee are on the brink of elimination, they won’t end their season without having gained valuable experience.
Antetokounmpo added: “We’ve never been here before. Playing these tough games, going to overtime, it gives us experience.
“You’ve just got to learn from mistakes and try to be better.”
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