BOSTON – Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 18 points in the fourth quarter of the season Wednesday night between his Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics at TD Garden.
But the MVP for the NBA’s two-time reign, all thinking about the post-game score as he was not scoring, with 0.4 seconds remaining as his free-throw to Boston’s thrilling 122-121 There was a difference in victory.
After signing a five-year Supermax contract with Milwaukee earlier this month, in his first game, finishing with 35 points and 13 rebounds in 36 minutes, “I’m upset about it,” Antetokunempo said said. “But you can’t change it. So that’s it.
“Hopefully when I’m in the same position, I can make the next one. That’s the mindset you have. But obviously you have a little weight on your shoulders. [in those situations] Because, if you missed, this is for your team.
“I’m a winner, and I want to do whatever I want to do to win my team. But, you know, you learn from every situation that basketball puts you in.”
Not many situations are such that the Bucks and Celtics found themselves at the end of the game, including what felt like in the final 0.4 seconds, to turn off the clock at the end of many lifetimes – and, as a result, both sides of emotions. Accompanied by a roller coaster.
The strangeness began when Boston were held one after the other with 8.9 seconds left, with the ball finally in the hands of Jason Tatum on the left wing.
With him, Antetokonampo, Stars of the Year Defensive Player of the Year, Tatum settled for a 3-pointer in a tricky straight-forward – one that was well defended by Entekonampo – and that, when it was Tatum’s hands Exited, then the far-sighted line.
“I’m not sure we can defend Tatum,” said Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer.
But then in an early Christmas miracle for the Celtics, the shot went off the backboard and fell straight through the hoop, ending a grueling Celtic celebration time as Milwaukee.
“No, I won’t try,” Tatum asked, throwing his shot from the glass. “The angle I had, and knowing how tall it was, once I let it go I knew it was going to hit the backboard.
“But I didn’t necessarily try. I didn’t try to do that.”
Whether he did or not, the result was the same. Still, despite those celebrations, 0.4 seconds remained on the clock – enough time for Milwaukee to get one final shot to the basket. And, after initially giving Antetocompompo the ball inside – who later said he was expecting a Brook to throw to center Brooke Lopez – Budenholzer called a timeout and, this time, Junior Holiday knocked the ball out. .
On his way to the court, Antetokonampo said he had a simple message for Milwaukee’s new star guard: throw the ball and give him a chance to win a jump ball.
“I said, Jure,” just throw the ball. Just throw it high, and I’m going to try to get it, “Entetokanempo said.
Holiday, who finished his Bucks debut with 25 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists, did just that – and Antetokonampo was expelled by Celtics bigman Tristan Thompson.
This gave him two free throws, if he made both, he would tie the game. But when he made the first cleanly, Entetocompompo’s second attempt fell short. The ball then pointed at him again, deflecting a player and rolling without interruption, ending the clock deadline and the Celtics survived with a win.
“I love that he’s there, playing on the line, opening night, going to the free throw line,” Budenholzer said. “He’s working on it. He knows how important it is. I think that’s it again, of course we would love to win, you want to come out, you want to achieve success, but a lot All the good stuff has happened, including Giannis going to the free throw line with the game on the line. You can’t duplicate in practice and it just keeps getting better and better as you move forward. “
According to research by ESPN Stats and Information, Antwaconampo shot just 13-for-20 from the free throw line in clutch situations and his career percentage in those situations – 68.2% – is lower than his career free throw percentage. Overall.
But, despite his struggles in those situations historically, Antetokonampo said he is excited to take the ball into his hands with the game on the line, and the next time he is in a similar situation, he is looking forward is.
“It’s fun, because you learn from it,” Antetokonampo said. “The more you are in such situations, the more you can succeed.
“I want to be in those moments. I want to [have the ball] Stretch down. I want to shoot the last two free throws, I want to shoot the last shot, because if you think about it, if you do it a thousand times, it’s going to go in a lot of times. At some point, you are going to be a hero.
“And, for the time being, you are about to miss. But you learn from it.”