The Toronto Raptors came into Wednesday’s clash against the Milwaukee Bucks with a clear game plan. Tough as it may seem, Toronto headed into the game with the objective of shutting down Giannis Antetokounmpo — and they succeeded in doing so. To a certain extent, of course.
Raptors Hold Down Milwaukee Bucks Star Giannis Antetokounmpo
In spite of Damian Lillard’s arrival this summer, there’s no denying that Giannis is still the biggest threat for the Bucks. This is the exact mindset Toronto had coming in and they showed early on that their goal was to prevent an offensive explosion from the former back-to-back MVP at all costs.
Toronto put in a truly commendable effort in the first half, holding Antetokounmpo down to just three points on 1-of-4 shooting. The cherry on top of the cake for the Raptors is how they allowed Giannis to take just one attempt from the line in the first 24 minutes of action.
Giannis was much better after the half, but his effort wasn’t enough to lead the Bucks to a comeback victory. In the end, Antetokounmpo finished with 16 points on 5-of-11 from the field and 6-of-9 from the free-throw line. He added four rebounds, two assists, a steal, and three turnovers in 28 minutes of action.
The fact that Antetokounmpo took just 11 shots in this one — compared to his 18.7 attempts in the first three games of the season — is a clear testament to how effective Toronto’s defense was on Milwaukee’s superstar forward.
In the end, the Raptors prevailed, 130-111.
Adrian Griffin Speaks Out on Giannis’ Lack of Impact on the Game
The Raptors did all they could to force Giannis to give up the ball. They double-teamed him repeatedly, leaving Antetokounmpo with no other choice but to kick the ball out. This would not have been a problem if his teammates knocked down their attempts from deep. They did not.
Milwaukee’s defense was also pretty much atrocious in this one, and that too played a key role in Giannis’ inability to impact the game as much as the Bucks would have wanted to.
“It’s tough to score when we kept taking the ball out every time,” head coach Adrian Griffin said, via Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Giannis thrives in the open floor and we didn’t give him an opportunity to do that because our defense couldn’t get stops when needed to.”
It’s back to the drawing board for Giannis and Co. as they return home for Friday’s matchup against the New York Knicks at the Fiserv Forum.
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