Giannis Antetokounmpo had a pretty typical Giannis Antetokounmpo-type game against the Miami Heat on Saturday afternoon.
Antetokounmpo finished with 26 points, 18 rebounds and five assists, but also shot 10-of-27 from the field and 6-of-13 on free-throw attempts.
One particular sequence with just over a minute remaining in regulation was emblematic of his free throw woes.
With his team up by one, Antetokounmpo stepped to the charity stripe. As he launched into his usual free throw shooting routine, he paused. And then he paused some more. And then he kept pausing. Finally the ref blew the whistle. Ten seconds had elapsed.
Here’s the Giannis 10-second violation.pic.twitter.com/QsjfGlW5z1
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 22, 2021
After the game, Antetokounmpo was asked about the critical play that could’ve put his team up three.
“I don’t remember,” he told the media.
“Probably. Probably I did, but I don’t remember. And I’m not just going to stand up that play and I’m not going to complain about it because that’s not who I am. If it was a 10-second call, great call. Like I’m going to keep doing my routine. Keep trying to make my free throws. And if it’s 10 seconds, it’s gonna be 10 seconds. I’m gonna live with that.”
That’s one way to get over a loss. https://t.co/17jpFpu2Ej
— Game 7 (@game7__) May 23, 2021
This is a big playoff series for Antetokounmpo. Although his future with the Bucks isn’t up in the air the way it was last season, his head coach’s fate very much rests on what happens against the Heat over the next few outings.
If Milwaukee prevails and gets redemption for last year’s embarrassment, everyone can move on and be happy. Plus, maybe other NBA stars like Devin Booker will start respecting Antetokounmpo in a way they clearly don’t right now.
Should that not happen, though – expect big changes for the Bucks in the offseason.