Milwaukee Bucks: Thanasis Antetokounmpo helps Greece to Venezuela victory

SUZHOU, CHINA - AUGUST 22: (Photo by Guan Yunan/VCG via Getty Images)
SUZHOU, CHINA - AUGUST 22: (Photo by Guan Yunan/VCG via Getty Images) /

With his brother resting, Thanasis  Antetokounmpo produced some nice moments in Greece’s final warm-up win over Venezuela on Tuesday.

The Greek national team wrapped up its World Cup warm-up preparations in perfect style on Tuesday, leaving plenty of reason for Thanasis Skourtopoulos’ squad to feel upbeat.

Having had some time and plenty of games to acclimate to life in China, Greece closed out the Suzhou International Basketball Challenge with a perfect record and win over Venezuela.

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That win was made all the better by the fact that it came in commanding fashion, with Greece demonstrating its control essentially from start to finish in the game. Even better for the Greeks, Bucks superstar and reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was able to rest as a precaution with his knee, meaning he should be extra fresh for Sunday’s World Cup opener against Montenegro.

Giannis’ absence didn’t overly hinder Greece en route to their 74-51 victory, with a well-rounded team effort seeing no single player log more than 12 points, which Giannis Bourousis tallied for the team-high.

From a Milwaukee Bucks’ perspective, Giannis’ absence provided some opportunity for Thanasis Antetokounmpo to take up his share of the spotlight, and he certainly obliged with some glimpses of the kind of play the Bucks will hope he can make a regular occurrence next season.

As has been the case throughout the majority of Greece’s tune-up games, Thanasis had very clearly defined shifts of playing time on Tuesday. In this game, the elder Antetokoukounmpo played the majority of the second and fourth quarters while sitting out the first and fourth periods.

When he did get into the game, Thanasis was disciplined in filling corner spots to maintain spacing, and picking his moments to cut to give his teammates options under the rim. On this occasion, though, Thanasis’ five points from the field didn’t come from simple catch and dunk scenarios.

Instead, Antetokounmpo was able to show off some varied skills with a couple of eye-popping plays.

Firstly, Antetokounmpo picked up the ball before halfcourt, only to be greeted by two Venezuelan defenders who looked set to squeeze him out of bounds at the sideline, instead Thanasis mazed through them, continued his dribble toward the rim, before ultimately delivering a Eurostep to split his final two defenders and leave himself with a simple layup.

Soon after, also coming in the third quarter, Thanasis again found himself dribbling with some open space, and perhaps fueled by the confidence of his previous adventure, he circled back comfortably behind the arc before knock down a smooth pull-up three-pointer.

Otherwise in the game, Thanasis did have a nice play in the second quarter where he came up with a steal only to instantly dish an assist forward to a runaway Nick Calathes in transition.

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All in all, Thanasis has delivered plenty of positives throughout these exhibition games, and should enter the World Cup confident of contributing.