The Atlanta Hawks met Giannis Antetokounmpo with physicality, which hindered his production for the Milwaukee Bucks
It is common knowledge that no one can outright stop Giannis Antetokounmpo. However, there is a short list of players that come to mind when thinking of players that can make every shot of his as hard as possible, and two of them are on the Hawks. Clint Capela is one of them, and he did not suit up last night due to injury, while second-year forward Onyeka Okungwu did. Okungwu made it a tough night for the Greek Freak as he battled with him from start to finish.
Antetokounmpo looked like a shell of himself offensively, struggling to get shots to fall as he shot an uncharacteristic 8-of-20 from the floor. The Hawks made sure he was met with physicality on every possession he touched the basketball, which helped him earn 14 free throw attempts. While he did finish with 27 points on the night, this was far from his best game, especially considering he tallied five turnovers as well. Okungwu and the rest of the Hawks did a stellar job of keeping the reigning Finals MVP in check, making sure that he would not be the one to beat him.
This strategy has become a trend as it is the same scheme that the Toronto Raptors implemented in Milwaukee’s last game. Due to the sheer physicality of the Raptors, a bothered Antetokounmpo shot a grueling 6-of-17 from the floor but got 17 free throw attempts. Like the Hawks, Toronto is a team that is known for giving Antetokounmpo a tough time. Teams like these two that have the personnel capable of bothering Antetokounmpo will keep a close eye on this blueprint and looks to utilize it down the line when playing the Milwaukee Bucks.
Hopefully Antetokounmpo has learned something from these past two games and can use it to bounce back move forward, especially in these trying times. There is a reason why he has been a leading candidate in the MVP discussion this season, and it will only take a few good games to get him back on the right track.