It looked like Giannis Antetokounmpo was going to have a quiet night on Monday against the Chicago Bulls. This was after the Milwaukee Bucks superstar scored just 12 points through three quarters on just three attempts.
As it turns out, though, the former back-to-back MVP was merely pacing himself. He turned it on in the fourth quarter and overtime, scoring 20 points in the final 17 minutes of the game to lead the Bucks to a 133-129 win.
Milwaukee Bucks Star Giannis Antetokounmpo Shifted Gears
After the victory, Giannis spoke to reporters to explain the massive shift in mindset he had after the third quarter. Antetokounmpo knew that his team needed him to step it up in crunch time, and so that’s exactly what he did.
“I tried to get to the free throw line, tried to get into the paint, just tried to make something happen,” he said, via Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “That was my mentality shift. But throughout the whole game we were leading, up 10, up 15, up 14 at one point. So, the way I was approaching the game with me moving the ball and just making the right play was working. And you know, that’s what a leader does. Sometimes it’s not about you. It’s about the team getting a good shot, and I’m OK with that.”
Giannis Speaks on Maturity
As Antetokounmpo noted, he didn’t mind letting his teammates get their share of action in the first three quarters. After all, this was what he felt was necessary at that point in the game.
Giannis admits that this wasn’t always the type of leader he was:
“Maybe if you asked me five years ago, I was 24, against the Toronto Raptors in the playoffs and the Detroit Pistons or we played Boston or the teams we played, maybe I wasn’t OK with that. I wanted to make something happen all the time,” he said. “But now, no matter what happens I’m going to come back tomorrow and I’m still going to be me, you know?”
For Giannis, it’s all about trusting his teammates. This decision paid dividends for the Bucks on Monday, with no less than seven players scoring in double digits. More importantly, Milwaukee marked their 16th win of the season to keep up the pace atop the Eastern Conference.
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