Giannis Antetokounmpo enjoys physicality: 'My family thinks I'm a weirdo'

2022-05-02 05:10
Credit: AP Photo/Steven Senne

Giannis Antetokounmpo racked up a triple-double of 24 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists, as reigning champs Milwaukee Bucks beat the Boston Celtics 101-89 in Game 1 of their best-of-seven NBA Eastern Conference semifinal on Sunday. 

Midway through the fourth quarter, Antetokounmpo tried to drive against Grant Williams and could tell he had nowhere to go. So, he picked up his dribble, made a move to get around Williams, threw a pass to himself off the backboard, and jumped up to dunk the ball home over Jayson Tatum.

His teammates on the bench immediately popped up and started jumping in excitement. 

"That's elite," said guard Jrue Holiday. "I can’t do that. I wouldn't even think about trying it."

"He's got a great nickname," added forward Bobby Portis, referencing Antetokounmpo's "Greek Freak" moniker. "It's like playing NBA 2K, holding the button R2, and throwing it off the glass to yourself."

After the game, Giannis spoke about his dunk.

"I had the ball and I was like, 'Oh crap. I'm going to get stuck," the Milwaukee Bucks star said. "I threw it to the backboard and I'm lucky enough God blessed me with the ability to be able to jump and go get it again."

The two-handed jam extended Milwaukee's lead to 16 (94-78) and highlighted an impressive showing from Antetokounmpo, who finished with the second postseason triple-double of his career.

Antetokounmpo stressed the importance of making the right decision while also staying aggressive. 

"If somebody's open, I have to pass them the ball," he said. "If I have the opportunity to drive all the way, drive all the way. If I'm open, I shoot. Try to be as simple as possible. But I think my teammates were there. They were open, and they were knocking down shots."

Antetokounmpo also said he relishes the Celtics' physical style of play.

"Maybe I’m weird, but I thrive through physicality," he said. "I love feeling beat up after games. I don’t know why.

My family thinks I'm a weirdo, but when the game finishes, I just look at my body and if I don't feel like I'm beat up or if I was physical enough, then I feel like I didn’t give everything to my team."

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