But if you judge the state of the Bucks just by how Superstar goes about it Giannis Antetokounmpo Having met its media commitments, it would be easy to assume that Milwaukee were the team that failed two games instead of facing a dire situation that leads to their third game here on the Fiserv Forum on Sunday night.
Take Saturday afternoon, for example. Antetokounmpo walked to the podium with heavy ice packs on both knees and no shoes, looked at the assembled media and said with a smile: “This will be fun.” Then, when asked the first question of his session, he first stared forward and offered only, “I’m just here not to be fined,” parroting the famous statement made by former NFL star Marshawn Lynch before he flashed a big grin and told everyone – twice – that he was joking.
And when Antetokounmpo was later asked about his cheerful mood at the position Milwaukee is in, he said it was just his way of processing what had happened rather than admitting the gravity of the situation – in the NBA finals for them. to play for the first time and 2-0 back in the series – burden him.
“You know, personally I think, of course I know it’s the final. Like tomorrow, we all understand what kind of game we’re getting into,” said Antetokounmpo. “So we know what to do. But at the end of the day you have to take it easy. You can’t say to yourself, ‘Oh, it’s the finals. You have to do this. There is so much pressure man.’ No, like it’s still basketball. It’s easy to say, hard to do, but at the same time you have to try to do it that way. It just has to stay light. You have to hold the ball lightly in the atmosphere light.
“As soon as we go out there and see the fans, you know you understand what kind of game you’re into. But for me personally, one thing that I do helps me keep it easy and enjoy it. Knowing that I enjoy things, I really put my heart into them. When I don’t like it, I just go through the moves. So I just try to enjoy it, enjoy that, try to enjoy that I’m here we have We have a long way to go to be in this position and we have to try to make the best of it, we did that on the first lap, the second lap, the third lap, which we are going to do now and hopefully it works in our favor. “
One thing that has remained constant for Antetokounmpo on Saturday with virtually every other time he’s sat in front of the media lately has been the emphasis on the two things he focuses on every time he’s on the court: Fun and competition. And although he was down on that streak, he felt he could get both in Milwaukee’s two losses in Phoenix.
For the Bucks, Antetokounmpo after his ugly fall in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals at the Atlanta Hawks – a game Antetokounmpo previously said he initially believed would keep him out for a year but instead only cost a week – is cause for optimism.
Likewise, the fact that Milwaukee has been in this situation before. The Bucks only came home a month ago after beating the first two games of their Eastern Conference semifinal series Brooklyn Netsonly to win four of the remaining five games to advance.
And while this situation isn’t entirely analogous to this one, it gives the Bucks the muscle memory and confidence to know that they will be able to come back and win the title.
“A lot of people thought our season was over,” says Bucks Guard Chris Middleton said where the team stood on the Nets series. “We still believed in ourselves. We came back and had an ugly game where we found a way to win.
“Sometimes it doesn’t get nice. Sometimes it gets ugly. We just have to find a way to win game after game from now on.”
While part of the bucks that flip this streak will begin with both Middleton and Jrue vacation get going in a way they weren’t able to in both games in Phoenix overall – especially Game 2, where they shot a combined 12-on-37 out of the field – when Antetokounmpo plays like that again, as he did, it will take a long way to get Milwaukee back on this series.
His Game 1 stats were impressive – 20 points, 17 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a block in 35 minutes – but Antetokounmpo only made 11 shots and wasn’t his usual aggressive self in transition. In Game 2, however, Antetokounmpo was outstanding and ended with 42 points in 15v22 shooting, followed by 12 rebounds, four assists, a steal and three blocks in 40 minutes; he just got everything he wanted.
And while Antetokounmpo was unwilling to say any significant changes to his game from Game 1 to Game 2, he admitted that he is “more comfortable” with the mid-range game he is trying to develop. It was part of his success in Game 2.
“I’m more comfortable,” he said. “I’m not trying to think about it. Now that you said it, I might miss her tomorrow because of you. But no, I feel more comfortable. I’m just trying to be aggressive, going downhill. Sometimes the guys stay in front of me or they build a wall that doesn’t allow me to get in the color. So you have to try to find other ways to be effective, be it the ball or the pull up for the middle distance jump shot, or get to a point and then shoot over it.
“But you just have to find ways to be effective. Sometimes you can do it. Sometimes you will miss her. But you have to stay aggressive. My mindset is always to go downhill, try to make the right game, make the right decision, either it’s a pass, either it’s a goal. But like I said, sometimes you have to do these shots. You have to leave the defense in guessing. But I feel good, and hopefully as I move forward I can feel more comfortable with these recordings and be even more effective. “