Giannis Antetokounmpo’s remarkable postseason defensive performances

Jul 14, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 14, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Atlanta Hawks: Solomon Hill, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Clint Capela
Apr 15, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) /

Giannis Antetokounmpo provides solid defense; misses time in Eastern Conference Finals versus Atlanta Hawks

Unfortunately, Antetokounmpo was forced to miss time during the series against the Atlanta Hawks due to a hyperextended left knee. The Bucks would be without their leader for the final two games of the series. Due to Giannis’ injury, his defensive performances were pushed to the side as Bucks fans hoped for a speedy recovery. However, Giannis still brought some solid defense when he was on the court in the first four games of the series.

Giannis has proven what he excels at in his defense, and that is forcing opposing players to turn the ball over. In the series against the Atlanta Hawks, Giannis forced six turnovers in four games. His presence and toughness on the defensive end force players to lose control, which can lead to easy baskets in transition. Giannis limited Clint Capela to some effect throughout the series as Capela only put up three shots when defended by Giannis, a dip below his average of seven shots per game. Giannis’ best individual defensive performance in the series was against Hawks forward Bogdan Bogdanovic. While Bogdanovic struggled throughout the series as a whole, he was only able to hit one out of five field-goal attempts when defended by Giannis.

Due to Giannis’ injury, his numbers on defense were not his best. However, he still provided some solid defense on the ball by limiting some of the Hawks’ shooters. After missing Games 5 and 6, uncertainty still lingered on if Giannis would make a return for the NBA Finals. After the series, Milwaukee had learned that their leader would be coming back. With the Bucks at full strength, they marched onto the NBA Finals, where a matchup vs. the Phoenix Suns awaited.